Improving out children’s fine motor skills is important to teachers and parents alike. Showing your children how to hold a pencil and having them practise is not enough. You need to build the strength to hold a pencil first. This is done by developing a strong core with upper body strength. It is how the body develops, large muscle groups first, then the smaller and minute finger muscles.
We need to build this gross motor strength to ensure a strong foundation structure to better hold the pencil.
Before you worry about pencil grip, we must start with larger muscles. This is easy to measure. Can your child climb across monkey bars?
In ‘A Moving Child is a Learning Child' McCathy and Cornell suggest "Climbing, hanging, swinging from gymnastics bars, and any other high-energy activities that build strength in his upper body and core muscles are vital precursors to fine motor skills". (p.236).
The Gymnastrix staff team witness children climbing on/across/under monkey bars in our lessons. This greatly benefits gross motor skills. More importantly, hand strength. Children are encouraged to climb from one bar to another, swing and turn upside down. All these activities build core strength. The muscles used must be developed before the those used in fine motor skills.
5 Bar Challenges to Build Large Muscle Group Strength and Endurance:
Bonus – Gymnastics monkey bars have a huge effect on your child’s confidence and emotional development. They watch, absorb, try, work hard, persevere until they can and continue that experience into teaching others.
Ryan Williamson is a gymnastics and movement expert.