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Fine Motor Improvement Therapy

Fine motor activities are the games and tasks we complete that require the use of our hands. These involve handwriting, doing up buttons, picking up small objects, manipulating items in hand, changing the channel and many more tasks. It is vitally important that children get lots of practice with fine motor activities and games. The most common household items can be used to promote hand skills, for example cutting up a sponge into small squares dipping them in paint and creating artwork, or by using toothpicks and grapes to create 2D and 3D shapes is a great way to practice fine motor skills. Useful board games for developing fine motor control include games similar to pop-up pirate, Jenga or chess.

What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills are essentially the ability to manipulate objects with the hands. However, this is not a simple task, involving a variety of intricate and well-timed movements of the hand. Aspects of fine motor skills are:

Fine motor skill Definition Task Need
In hand manipulation The ability to manipulate objects using the palm and fingers of one hand Manipulating coins
Building blocks
Finger strength and control The ability to apply the correct level of pressure when holding objects Grasping and stabilising objects
Finger isolation The ability to use one finger at a time whilst maintaining control of the other fingers Finger painting
Musical Instruments
Pincer grasps The grasp used to maintain control whilst trying to place one object through another Pencil control
Coin slots
Thumb opposition The ability to turn and rotate the thumb to touch each finger of the hand Grasp objects varying in size
Use tools (bat, toy gun etc)
Bilateral coordination The ability to coordinate hand movements using both hands at the same time to manipulate objects Tying shoe laces
Unscrewing tops/pulling lids
Crossing the midline The ability to cross one hand from one side of the body  to the other Drawing large pictures
Eye-hand coordination The ability to use sight to guide the movements of the hand Every task involving the hands
Posture The ability to use the core and upper body to stabilise the arms and hands Writing
Pencil control The ability to apply correct amounts of pressure and direction when holding a pencil Writing
Visual perception The ability to perceive and control the movements of the hand Writing
Every other Fine motor task
Sensory integration The ability to process the sensory feedback from objects (feel, pressure, hot, cold) Every task
Buttons out of sight

The purpose of fine motor skills during childhood are to enable children to complete important school and home based occupations such as writing, threading, dressing and tying shoe laces. Without the ability to complete these activities children will be left behind academically compared to class mates, especially with handwriting. These early development of fine motor skills are honed and improved over time and into adulthood to ensure that they are a high functioning independent adult.

Problems that may require fine motor improvement therapy

Below is a list of common problems associated with fine motor control, that an occupational therapist can help improve.
  • Unable to tie shoes
  • Poor handwriting
  • Difficulty getting dressed
  • Inability to do up buttons
  • Slow at fine motor games
  • Struggles to manipulate objects with both hands
  • Often compensating by using the body to stabilise objects
  • Struggles to undo sandwich wrappers/lunch box
This is not an exclusive list, and if you think that your child is having difficulty using their hands, manipulating objects or is often finding it hard to maintain grip on objects, then they may be suitable for fine motor treatment.

Suitable conditions

Below is a list of conditions that are commonly found alongside fine motor control difficulties, this is not an exclusive list. The theory behind practising fine motor activities and games is that through repetition and creative play, children can learn how their hands can be used to manipulate objects of various sizes and shapes in order to complete tasks, tasks that will become an integral part of adulthood.

The occupational therapists has the relevant skills, knowledge and observation skills to pinpoint the difficulties your child is having and explain why they may be experiencing these and offer effective treatment sessions that can improve these skills. To be referred for an Occupational Therapy assessment or to discuss anything in more detail please email or call us on 0330 223 0888

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Please contact one of our experienced occupational therapists today and we will gladly discuss how we can help and what services we can offer you.

Why choose us?

  • Caring and Professional Service
  • Variety of services available
  • First class Occupational Therapists
  • Modern clinics
  • Saturday and Sunday appointments available
  • Able to see you at home, in school or in one of our clinics
  • Registered with the Health Professions Council and the British Association of Occupational Therapy

Clinics »

Below is a list of our clinics, however, we operate nationwide.

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We run a range of Groups for children aged 0-18 years.

What people say about us...

OT for Kids have been a great help in aiding my son Jake with coping with his dyspraxia both at home and in school. They came out to our house and completed the assessment at home.

The assessment and report proved beneficial in our discussions with Jake's school and we are very pleased with the outcome the report has helped us achieve.
Jackie, parent.
At our school, there are many children who have difficulty forming letters correctly, concentrate or perform well in P.E, which can impact greatly on their learning. With the support and OT Groups available from OT for Kids, these children have made great progress and are now at a level which is not so concerning. As a teacher and SENCO, I thoroughly enjoyed working (and learning) from the Occupational Therapist.
Emily, SENCO and Teacher.
As a case manager, I regularly deal with many private companies. I found OT for Kids to be highly professional, reliable and provide me with flexible appointments that suited both me and my clients. The OT completed a comprehensive assessment and report, which was not only clear, concise and an accurate reflection of the difficulties, but it was returned to me quickly.
John, Case Manager.
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