When toddlers begin exploring the world with their hands, they look like little “Pillsbury Dough Boys” with pudgy, soft fingers. Playing with toys and household objects remain clumsy. By four and five years old, children’s hands look like miniatures of an adult because the muscles have developed and are ready for learning how to move in sophisticated ways.
Listed are important concepts to move from pudgy and clumsy to carved and agile:
- Exploration remains key.
- Encourage the movement of each finger separately.
- Hand play is especially helpful at this age.
- Poking with the pointer (index) finger and thumb teaches the hand that these are the “go to” fingers for manipulating objects.
- Introduction to simple toys that are easily manipulated will foster early dexterity.
- Hand Play Games
- Play Dough (with supervision)
- Shaving Cream (with supervision)
- Dot Art (with supervision)