While few things beat tactile experiences to develop fine motor skills, apps have a definite value within the field of occupational therapy - there is no set up or clean up involved, they can be used anytime, anywhere, by anyone, and the best of them offer valuable data that can help inform instruction and therapy. As we always say at Smarten Up, these sorts of ed tech tools should be used in moderation as a complement to hands-on activities, but they are sure to add a nice bit of variety to the routine!
Dexteria Jr. is a set of hand and finger exercises that will help children develop fine motor skills and handwriting readiness. With three different engaging, animated exercises to help build strength, control, and dexterity, kids ages 2-5 will welcome this great workbook alternative. Plus, the automatic tracking and reporting feature makes it easy for parents, teachers and occupational therapists to identify time on task and progress. You can even email the reports to other members of the student's educational team reports right from the app itself.
Pizza Factory for Kids masks learning with fun. In the app, children must prepare pizzas - from making and rolling the dough, to chopping and placing the ingredients - for a whole range of customers (even some in outer space!) and they have to be sure to get the orders just right. If they do, not only will kids earn points, they will also unlock new missions and challenges which is sure to keep them engaged. At the same time that children will develop their hand-eye coordination and finger control, they will also gain practice following directions, understanding sequence, and measuring time.
In this case, the name says it all - Cut the Buttons. Players are challenged to use their thumb and index finger to manipulate the on-screen scissors. The goal of the game - cut off as many buttons from the fabric as you can, and catch them in the bucket at the bottom of the screen if at all possible. Cut the Buttons pairs a simple premise with great graphics in order to create a really great motivating activity that is also super supportive of fine motor skill development!
Fruit has met its match with Fuit Ninja! This simple arcade-style game challenges kids to skillfully swipe their digits across the screen to smash their favorite (or least favorite) fruits to smithereens! While the theme and challenge of this app will keep children coming back to try to up their score, the control and dexterity they need to use in order to improve will support fine motor development.
These are just a few of our favorite fine motor apps, which is not to mention the other great letter-writing resources we've written about before. What are some of your go-to tools for developing fine motor skills?!