Precision in fine motor skills are essential for so many functional skills. When we write with a pencil, we need to make small motor movements in order to manipulate and move the pencil to form parts of letters. We need to adjust the pencil in order to erase, press harder, or make circles or swoops in parts of letters. We need precision of the hands to manage buttons on clothing or press down with varying degrees of pressure on a keyboard or when cutting strawberries. Precision in fine motor skills are needed to cut with scissors, put pegs into a pegboard, or thread a needle.
What happens with it is difficult for a child to master precision? The small motor movements of the hands and fingers are limited or disrupted and may result in use of larger muscle movements. Actions in handwriting, clothing fasteners, utensil use, scissor use, or other fine motor tasks become difficult or clumsy. The pegboard activity below is one easy way to work on fine motor precision skills using a DIY pegboard.
What is Fine Motor Precision?
First, let’s talk about what precision means. When kids perform very small motor actions, they need to have control so they can use the very tips of the fingers to place objects where they intend to. Precision occurs with development of grasp when child to use the pads of the index finger, middle finger, and thumb to manipulate objects with opposition.
Precision is made up of three parts when it comes to manipulating objects:
Precision in release is needed for releasing or letting go of small items. Precision is needed for a child to let go of an item in a controlled manner. If they are not exercising precision in release, you might see them dumping, rolling, or tossing an object as they let go. They will knock over a stack of blocks, or over open the scissors when cutting lines, making their accuracy very choppy.
Precision in grasp is related to the picking up of items. A graded pincer grasp, neat pincer grasp, or lateral grasp is needed to grasp small objects with precision. Around 3-4 years, a preschool aged child typically develops a greater variety of grasping patterns, including precision. They begin to grade their small motor actions. Grasps in babies typically begin with a raking motion and work towards a pincer grasp. Precision in this skill occurs when the child is able to pick up very small items like beads with accuracy and graded movements.
Precision in rotation is another task that children develop around age 5. Rotation is a portion of in-hand manipulation and seen when turning a coin on the edges and the child rotates it in a circular motion. Precision in rotation also occurs when holding a pencil between the fingers and the child rotates it over and over.
Fine Motor Skills Needed for Precision
Precision handling of very small items with controlled movement is necessary for dexterity in functional grasp. To manipulate items with small motor motions, the hand needs to be in a functional position. The index and middle digits must oppose the thumb with tip-to-tip finger contact and interphalangeal joint range of motion. opening and closing the grasp on items with control is precision and allows the hand to grasp small objects from a refined area and enables the hand to release objects in a specific location.
This pegboard activity is a powerhouse when it comes to precision and fine motor development. We used perler beads to create a pegboard and work on precision of grasp, release, rotation, and in-hand manipulation.
To make your own fine motor pegboard, you will need perler beads. These beads are perfect for creating customized designs and pegboards. I love these huge sets that can be used to create any tool you or your child can imagine. Make a pegboard that focuses on favorite colors or images like rainbows, hearts, or themes like Minecraft. Making the perler bead pegboard requires pincer grasp, in-hand manipulation, graded release, and eye-hand coordination to create a design.
Follow the directions in your perler bead kit and iron the beads so they melt together to create a pegboard.
Then, you can use your DIY pegboard over and over again.
How cool would it be to have a set of these pegboards in your therapy bag to work on different skills like visual discrimination, visual scanning, and visual motor integration with different colors and increasingly complex pegboard designs?
Next, use a set of toothpicks as pegs for your DIY fine motor pegboard.
Our pegboard had different colors and a black thread dividing colors. Work on eye-hand coordination by matching colored toothpicks to the colored sections of the pegboard. Work on fine motor control by placing the toothpicks only in the black beads that move in different directions.
How would you make a DIY pegboard? Let me know if you make one! I would love to see it and share it with other therapists on social media!
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