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What are fine motor skills?

Recently I have been sharing my fine motor skills improvement tips here there and everywhere. Have you seen them on Instagram? Pinterest? Here on the blog? Or maybe, just maybe you have had them delivered to your inbox. I have started #finemotorfriday on Insta where I have been adding a top tip to my stories, and been asking my boys (husband and stepson) to try different things out.

Whilst doing this one Saturday my stepson piped up something that rocked my world.

“What are fine motor skills anyway?”

It blew. My. Mind. I had forgotten that actually not everyone in the world is in the school/education bubble I find myself in, and so maybe not everyone in the world understands all the jargon I use.

In fact, when I retrained as a teacher I kept being told I was an EYFS specialist, to which I nodded and smiled a lot to. Then after a month or so I googled it to find out what the heck an EYFS specialist even was. Turns out I was focussing on the 3-5yo kids within the 3-7yo Key Stages as they all work under the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. Who knew?

A definition

They can be defined as the skill to make movements using the small muscles in our wrists, hands and fingers. It can take real concentration and skill to use these muscles, and repeated effort to learn how to control our limbs! Fine motor skills involve the smaller movements of fingers and thumbs, whereas Gross motor skills involve using the whole limb and can be arms or legs.

But what does it look like?

In reality, you and your kids are doing these skills all the time. In fact, by typing this blog post I am using my fine motor skills. Writing your name on a Christmas card? Yup. Building a Lego tower? Uh-huh. Using a knife and fork? You got it. Anything that involves using the fingers with some control and coordination uses fine motor skills. Really those of us who use the phrase are just saying “finger strengthening” or having control over the way you use your digits!

Are there any terms in education that you need explaining? Do let me know in the comments!

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