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Your fine motor skills allow you to perform intricate tasks with your hands that you may have taken for granted when you were younger. Unfortunately, these types of tasks can become more challenging as our bodies take on more wear and tear over the years.
Buttoning your shirt, threading a needle, opening doors, putting a plug into a power socket, tying your shoes, and even brushing your teeth are all examples of fine motor skills.
If you train and practice your fine motor skills, you can keep them working well throughout your life. However, ignoring them can make standard daily tasks hard or even impossible for you to perform.
Below are several easy and potentially fun ways seniors can practice fine motor skills and keep them working well for years to come!
8 Ways to Practice and Improve Fine Motor Skills
Do Your Chores
Certain chores around the house can improve your fine motor skills, and you may even neglect them due to pain or difficulty doing them. For example, folding towels and other laundry, washing dishes by hand, or even decluttering shelves or reorganizing cupboards can work your fine motor skills.
Take it as an opportunity to keep your house clean for one hour a day and improve the strength and ability of your hands to perform these tasks.
Gardening isn't just a relaxing activity. It can also be a great opportunity to improve your fine motor skills by digging and adding new plants to your garden, pruning your plants by hand, or utilizing various small gardening tools.
It's a great way to feel relaxed, perform a little meditation or self-reflection, and improve your hand functioning through a fun job. Click here to learn more about other benefits of gardening!
Take Up Knitting
It isn't for everyone, but knitting is a fantastic way to improve your fine motor skills with the intricate needlework required. You can mix it up by knitting, crocheting, or any similar needlework that requires creating patterns or designs.
If you take up knitting, you can do it while watching TV or talking to friends. Once you get the hang of it, you don't need to focus too heavily, so it's a great way to add fine motor skills training to other parts of your life.
If you find art fun or relaxing, or even if you've just always wanted to try it, you can practice your fine motor skills by painting with your fingers and even adding other textures and materials to your art.
Painting with a brush won't be as effective as your hand is static, so the key is to use your hands to do everything. It may be a fun new experience for somebody that has only painted with brushes.
Play Games With Friends
Create a gaming night with your friends or introduce a few gaming evenings with your family. Things like Jenga, jigsaw puzzles, or jacks that require you to manipulate things with your hands during the game are the perfect way to improve your fine motor skills.
You can even play with your grandkids or kids if they're young enough and use playdough or similar materials that require a lot of hand movement.
Games and friends make your fine motor skills training much more fun, and you can help other people with their fine motor skills as well.
Create Bead Jewelry
An excellent way to improve fine motor skills is by threading beads onto string, which requires strong hand-eye coordination. Instead of making it a tedious task of just putting beads onto a string, consider making it fun by creating bead jewelry.
You can create bead jewelry with a group of friends or even spend time with your younger grandkids or kids. It's a fun activity, especially when done with other people, and the cost of beads is minimal. If required, you can easily break the jewelry down by cutting the string.
Create Music With An Instrument
If you've always wanted to learn an instrument or you used to but gave it up, practicing your fine motor skills by playing certain instruments can be extremely effective and fun. Instruments like the guitar, piano, or anything else that requires a lot of small hand and finger movements will do well for your motor skills.
You can practice by yourself, bring some friends to create a fun band, or just have a jam session in the garage.
It may not be possible to play football or contact sports. However, you can still have fun with many sports or activities that include balls, either by yourself or with friends and family.
You can play a game of 21 or horse with a basketball and a friend, play catch with your grandchildren, or anything else that requires good use of your hands and can also improve your hand-eye coordination.
Sports like golf won't be as effective because most of the time, you're statically holding the gold club, so while it may strengthen your hands, it won't improve your fine motor skills as effectively.
Other Options To Improve Your Fine Motor Skills
Almost any activity that requires you to use your fingers to do a small task or a little skill will improve your fine motor skills. Don't let lists dictate exactly what you can do. Find a fun activity or even just something you can do to improve your motor skills.
Play handheld video games
Stretch your fingers with rubber bands
Squeeze stress balls
Buy more button-up shirts
Write letters with a pen or pencil
Best Method To Practice Fine Motor Skills
The best method to practice your fine motor skills is to regularly use them in various ways. Mix up the tasks you're performing, find the ones that are the most challenging for you to work on, and focus on those.
The important thing is to keep challenging yourself and improving your skills, so try as many as you can and vary how you do each task. Also, remember to use both hands to do each exercise, such as switching hands to brush your teeth.