Fine motor skills are the group of skills needed for manipulating small objects with the hands and fingers. It involves using the small muscles in the hands, and includes activities such as grasping, pinching objects between the fingertips and holding a pencil.
Your child needs to develop healthy fine motor skills for many tasks of everyday life, such as feeding themselves, cleaning their teeth, doing up buttons and learning to write.
Children from birth to eight years are developing and refining their motor skills and using them in an increasing variety of tasks.
Weaving is a fun and inexpensive activity that helps to develop your child’s fine motor skills.
Weaving also helps to develop:
- eye-hand coordination and concentration.
- problem-solving skills. Children need to consider and work through any problems they encounter as they weave.
- understanding of patterns and sequencing, which are essential for later literacy and numeracy development.
- language skills such as naming colours, and language concepts such as ‘in,’ ‘out,’ ‘up,’ ‘down’ etc.
- creativity and relaxation. Weaving is a quiet, calming activity in which children can develop and express their creative ideas.
Weaving teaches children about recycling and reusing materials. You can re-use all the materials for another day. It’s also a fantastic wet weather activity that’s super-easy to set up.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- weaving material: you can use things you have around the house, such as fabric strips (you could recycle old clothes by cutting them into strips), wool, packing tape, tinsel, string, pipe cleaners, curling ribbon, straws, onion/orange, bags, strings of beads, feathers etc.
- a weaving frame: you can use washing baskets, basket trays, plastic mesh from hardware stores, fences, bannisters, sticks, hula hoops etc.
How to start:
Prepare for the activity by cutting your weaving materials into lengths that are manageable for your child. Younger children will do best with smaller lengths of fabric, or stronger materials such as pipe cleaners, straws and plastic packaging tape.
You can make easy frames from items around the home with a little bit of imagination. We made frames using an old cot with plastic mesh nailed onto it.
Alternatively, you can purchase weaving frames from online stores such as Etsy, or try your local arts and crafts store.
Here’s how to do it:
When starting this activity, it’s best if you help your child.
- Set up your frame and have your materials ready.
- Demonstrate to your child how to weave the fabric in and out between the spaces of the frame.
- Get your child to have a turn, encouraging them to be creative and follow their own pattern.
- Allow/help them to experiment with using different types of knots and patterns.
- Celebrate their masterpiece and praise their efforts. You might like to display their piece somewhere in your home.
You could set aside a box with weaving materials and get it out whenever you need a quiet activity or something to do in rainy weather.
Why not invite some friends around and get the kids weaving together?