These thoughts on infant fine motor development come to us from special guest blogger Erin of Simply Real Moms.
You’ve brought your little bundle of joy home and are spending your hours wrapped up in diaper changings, feedings and trying to sleep when you can. As new parents, we are always worried about how our babies are developing and guiding them to help them meet developmental milestones along the way. Infancy is a time full of so many new discoveries for you and your little one!
Read on for tips on how to guide fine motor development throughout infancy. The most important item your baby will need ever doesn’t come from the store or any book – it is you! You are already proving that you want the best by reading and learning everything you can. You are your child’s first song, toy and love!
Your very new infant is making their way in the world! Infants at this age will put their hands and fingers in their mouths and guess what-don’t discourage it! That’s infant fine motor development at its finest! Infants at this age can be given mirrors to gaze into and other objects kept close to reach for and gaze at since they can not see clearly at a far distance yet. Around 2 months old, your baby will start to realize their hands are in fact, their hands. They may even start reaching for objects during the end of this age period. Giving infants objects to stare at and reach for such as the Traveling Inchworm Stroller Toy allows infants at this age to begin to explore beginning fine motor skill development.
4 Months-8 Months
During this stage, your infant will start grabbing at objects more intentionally. Sometimes the easiest things can be effective for developing skills. My son was almost 4 months old at Christmastime and he loved playing with pieces of wrapping paper. What a simple idea to build infant fine motor skills! There are so many items marketed toward infants of this age, but they really don’t need much. A few finely selected items are all you need. Consider checking out the Wiggling Worm Grasping Toy, an item that I got for my son to play with on a flight as an infant. Your infant can twist and turn the worm in so many different ways and it’s still safe to chew on for these little explorers. During this time, your infant is figuring out how to use their hands to get the objects they want. That’s a pretty big deal!
9 Months-12 Months
As if the first 9 months of life weren’t exciting enough as a new parent or as your infant develops, the end of the first year is a very exciting time! At this age, your infant may start to stack blocks (we love soft blocks like Melissa & Doug’s Match & Build Soft Blocks), have fun filling and emptying things and may enjoy engaging you in games of “Uh oh!” – where they drop an object on the floor specifically so you will pick it up! All of those are great fine motor skill development activities that you might not even realize are already happening in your home. We love filling a sealed zipper baggie with food coloring and shaving cream to allow for some squishing and squeezing (with constant parent supervision). Read more about it HERE and let your child work on developing those little bitty fingers! Let your child feed themselves. Picking up food and getting it to their mouth is a great fine motor strategy.
The list of activities for fine motor development can be endless and a little intimidating. Find what engages your infant and keeps them challenged! What is your favorite fine motor activity to do with your infant?