17-Month-Old Toddler Development: Fine Motor Skills
By this point your toddler has probably mastered many of his gross motor skills—running, walking, throwing sand. ... Now it's time to give his fine motor skills—all the tiny, detailed thumb, finger, hand and wrist movements—a workout. They're tougher to master than gross motor skills, but in time, your kid will be using his fingers with the flourish of Edward Scissorhands. What you're thinking: "This kid's a genius! He just drew a doggy! (Well, if you squint really hard and close one eye it kinda looks like 50 really skinny purple doggies with no legs or ears!?)"
- The best way to help your toddler develop his fine motor skills is to let him play, play, play! All that stacking and sorting, opening and closing, dumping, and scribbling work his fingers, hands, and wrists. Here are a few fun activities your toddler can do to get his fine motor skills cranking. He'll think he's just having fun and have no idea he's learning and developing!
- Encourage your child to stack blocks. At this age he'll probably be able to pile two or three on top of each other. (Yes, we think he's totally gonna be an architect, too.)
- Give him some paper and let him scribble with a crayon or washable marker (emphasis on the "washable"). Don't be discouraged if he still seems to prefer eating crayons rather than drawing with 'em. He'll get his Picasso on in no time!
- Let him turn the book pages as you read. At first he may not be able to do it, but in time the dexterity in his fingers will become more sophisticated and he'll be flipping the pages before you've had a chance to finish reading them.
- Let your kid dump and pour sand, water or rice in and out of containers, even if it makes you cringe and reach for the paper towels. Spread out a plastic tablecloth to contain the mess or head outside and let your kid go nuts!
- The best part about fine-motor-skill development is that you don't have to do anything special to make it happen. Just give your kid plenty of opportunities to play and let nature take its course. This is one moment where you can be a total slacker of a parent and it won't matter a bit! So save your parenting ammo for the milestones you can affect, like potty training. Unfortch, the whole "nature take its course" theory doesn't work as well with that one!
- "My son is obsessed with drawing and all things art. Only, it's not actually him that's doing the art work—it's me!
So, I have to confess: I've had to start hiding his crayons! I feel so very guilty about this little spill because my beautiful son loves his crayons and drawing. But, he is at me all day—and I mean all day, with the persistence of a lobbyist on Capitol Hill—to draw for him!" Read more of "Drawing to a Close" by Karen Wrye Whitton
Everything you ever wanted to know ... and were just about to ask:
Take our poll! Do It: Sock-er Balls
This simple game is absolutely fabulous for your kid's fine-motor-skill development! Cook It: Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Cook up a batch of this protein-packed finger food and give your kid a fine-motor-skill workout as he lifts, dips and munches.
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All kids grow and develop at different rates. So please don't compare your toddler with so-and-so's from across the street—you'll just drive yourself nuts. If you have any concerns, bring them up with your pediatrician at your kid's next checkup.