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Ways To Build Fine Motor Skills For Autism

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Have you wondered what activities would help build fine motor skills for your child on the spectrum?

Many children with Autism struggle with fine motor skills.

This can be very frustrating for both you and your child. 

Fine motor skills are so important to have because we use them to live out our daily lives. 

As parents we want to help our children grow to be independent and able to do everyday activities.  

So how do we help our child who is diagnosed with Autism develop these fine motor skills?

Let’s begin!


Where To Start Building Fine Motor Skills 

When working with your child to build their fine motor skills you want to make sure they are ready.

To gain good fine motor skills your child needs to have good strength and stability.

Doing this means building up both their core muscles in their arms and shoulders.

Check out these exercises for building core strength and arm strength.  

Even if they don't have the strength built up you can choose a good seating position for your child to start with. 

You want to make sure that your child's thighs are fully supported by their chair, feet flat on the floor, and they are sitting upright. 

If you notice that your child is struggling to sit still or keep themselves upright you can try an Air Cushion.

Now that you have your child in a good position it's time to start. 

Sorting Games Build Fine Motor Skills

Many children love sorting games. 

You can start with something easy like taking larger items such as blocks or big cars and sort them by color. 

Then move to smaller items and sort them by color, shape, and size. 

You can also use dry food such as cereal and noodles and have them sort those. 

Adding food coloring can make food more fun to sort. 

After your child becomes comfortable with the task of sorting, you can add a pair of tweezers to make the game more challenging for them. 

Drawing Also Builds Fine Motor Skills

Drawing is a great way to help your child build their fine motor skills. 

You can use so many different ideas for this activity. 

You can start by using sand.

Draw a line in the sand for your child to trace. 

Have your child use their finger to draw a picture in the sand. 

Another great way to make this a messy but colorful activity is using finger paint or shaving cream. 

Put a good amount out on a table top and have them draw pictures in the paint or shaving cream. 

You can even use the shaving cream in the bath tub on the wall for an easy clean up.

Another fun way to use shaving cream is by mixing it with paint to make a marble effect on paper

After they have mastered drawing with their fingers you can move them to chalk or dry erase markers.

Using a chalk board or white board makes this activity a little more fun 

If you don't have either of them, you can use white or black paper too.  

Chalk and markers can be a challenge for kids to learn how to use.  

Help guild your child as they learn to hold and manipulate chalk or markers correctly. 

Using an angled surface may help your child to use the markers.

Make sure to praise your child for any marks they are able to make. 

Remember this is a learning process and we want them to see it as a good thing. 

Build Fine Motor Skills By Making Music 

Learning to make music is a fun way to work on building fine motor skills. 

Use a drum or keyboard for your child to bang on with their hands. 

If you don't have instruments, you can use old pots and pans to let them hit. 

Letting them use different sizes will also let them see all the different sounds they can make. 

Adding a stick or spoon can make this more challenging for them, but also gives a different sound. 

 Using hand-held instruments with strings is a more challenging activity. 

Move to just using the index finger to strum the strings. 

Another great idea is putting some rice in a plastic bottle and having them shake it. 

Try Using Stickers 

Stickers are awesome to use to help your child build fine motor skills. 

Having them peel the backs of stickers off and placing them on paper is a challenge. 

To start off with this activity, start pulling the back of the sticker off for them and have them finish it. 

After they get the idea peel less back for them and keep going until you are pulling little to none of the back off. 

When your child has to pick the sticker off the paper they are using their fine motor skills. 

Using stickers as a reward for a job well done is another great way for them to practice without them realizing they are working. 

You can make this more challenging by using smaller stickers as they get better. 

Have them peel and place the stickers on a chart when they are doing a good job.


Play Dough Fun 

Using play dough serves as a double duty here. 

Play dough is also great for sensory play. 

If you don't have play dough you can try out this recipe link and make it at home. 

Making play dough at home is an added activity to help strengthen fingers and hands. 

Play dough is a great way to get these little hands moving in all types of ways. 

Have them knead the play dough, use a rolling pin to roll it out, or even rolling it into a ball and then squeezing it through their fingers. 

All these motions also help build the muscles in their arms and fingers. 

Have your child roll the play dough out and use cookie cutters to cut shapes out. 

Use the play dough to hide object in like marbles or other small objects and have your child find them. 

Get them little hands moving! 

Paper Clips 

Using paper clips to make a chain will have your child working their little fingers.

For this activity you want to start with large paper clips first and work your way to smaller ones.

Have your child link the paper clips together to see how long they can make the chain. 

Use colorful paper clips with make this activity more fun for them. 

You can also have them make a pattern using different colors and sizes for a more challenging activity. 

Be creative with this and help where you can. 

Using Building Blocks 

Building blocks are a favorite among most kids and there is endless fun with them. 

If you don't have blocks you can use household things to do this activity. 

Start off with bigger items such as pillows or couch cushions and have your child stack them. 

you can have them make an obstacle course also do give some climbing and jumping fun. 

Using big items will also require them to use both hands. 

As they get better at stacking you can use blocks to stack and see how high they can build a tower before it falls. 

Once they get the hang of using blocks you can move to a bigger challenge using small objects like coins, or flat pebbles. 

Have them try stacking soft items such as stuffed animals for a really big challenge. 

Using Puzzles To Build Fine Motor Skills 

Puzzles are great for many things including building fine motor skills in children with autism. 

I strongly recommend using the wood puzzles with the little pegs on them to start out with. 

Also the foam puzzles are great to and they are squishy. 

This will make manipulating the pieces much easier for a child who struggles with fine motor skills. 

Puzzles make a child fit pieces and shapes together to make a picture. 

As your child progresses you can move too flat puzzles with big pieces.

To make a more challenging activity use smaller pieces to get those little fingers working. 

If you don't have puzzles at home you can cut up pictures from calendars or even magazines.

I have done this with my own children and they had a lot of fun. 

Get creative as your child gets better at manipulating the pieces and cut zig zags or different patterns.  

You can even have them try to guess the picture the pieces will make when it's put together. 

Using Scissors 

All you need for this activity is scissors and paper. 

Have your child sit in a safe place and cut paper. 

As they get use to using the scissors you can draw lines or shapes on the paper and have them cut along the lines. 

To make this activity much more fun you can have them cut pictures out from a magazine and glue them to another piece of paper. 

Have them cut out big and small shapes or pictures so they learn to move around different sized obstacles. 

Making a spiral on a piece of paper and having them start on the outside where it is bigger and working their way to the middle where the circle gets small will challenge them.  

There are some many ways you can challenge your child with scissors so be creative.


Beads And String

Having your child thread string through beads is a great activity to build fine motor skills. 

To start out you can use pipe cleaners they aren't as flimsy as string.

This is a huge challenge so try to find larger beads that have bigger holes for them too work with. 

You can try this lacing beads toy out if you can't find larger beads to use. 

As your child gets better you can move to smaller beads to make it more challenging for them. 

You can have them make a neckless or a bracelet so the activity is leading up to something.

These are some really awesome ideas. 

I have personally used these with my daughter. 

I saw a world of change in a very short period of time. 

There are tons of other fun activities that will help you child build fine motor skills.

Share in the comments some activities you use at home for your children to build fine motor skills. 

Feel free to comment with questions also. 

Make sure to share so your friends can also learn some great ways to help their children. 

Autism Awareness












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