Magnets are a great way to incorporate fine motor development into play. Chunky, age-approved magnets allow younger children (6-9 months and up) to work on strengthening their grip and finger muscles. Placing them on and taking them off the surface allows them to work on controlled grasp and release. Flat, thin magnets allow older children to work on their pincer grasp and fine motor control to remove the magnet from the surface. Playing with magnets on a vertical surface, such as a refrigerator or magnetic easel, allows your child to practice wrist extension (a skill needed for writing). If you do not have a magnetic vertical surface, you can use a cookie sheet while sitting on the floor or at a table.
~Sarah Eller, occupational therapist
Daily tips, activities, and suggestions on how to naturally embed speech, language, play, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills into your child's day, often using the materials already found in your home environment.
Marena Mitchell is a speech-language pathologist