By Albine Klawatsch, Occupational Therapist, Certified Dyslexia Trainer
Tablets like iPads are excellent devices to use for developing and practicing fine motor skills. I often use them in therapeutic settings myself. There are a lot of specifically designed apps for motor skills. Below are my favorite 4 apps for developing fine motor skills for children age 2 to 99 years.
This app was developed in collaboration with an occupational therapist. The app provides a set of hand and finger exercises that will train different domains of fine motor skills. It contains three exercises:
- In the first exercise, “Tap it”, the thumb must remain on the iPad and the appearing characters must be caught with the other fingers. This exercise encourages finger isolation and motor planning.
- The second exercise is called “Pinch it”. Crabs must be crushed with a pinch motion with thumb and index finger. This strengthens the muscles for an optimal pinch grip. An appropriate pinch grip leads to better writing performance.
- And in the last exercise, “Write it”, you must follow letters with a finger. This teaches children the correct way to form letters and numbers.
The app can be operated with the right and the left hand. The Dexteria App is not only for children; it can be used for adult rehabilitation, too.
Another version, Dexteria Jr. includes activities which are specially designed for kids age 2-6.
Children can choose a figure, which must then be traced. After the image is painted, the child can insert the drawing into an image. Here there is no right or wrong solution, and the child decides by themselves when the picture is finished. This is a very funny way to improve graphomotor skills, a combination of cognitive, perceptual and motor skills which enable a person to write.
This app animates your child’s drawings, transforming them into a 3D picture.
This is a free app and offers a lot of pictures which can be printed, and quite a few of the coloring pages can be transformed into 3D for free. You can find their free pages by downloading the app and on the website.
The great thing about this app is that children get really excited when they see that their picture becomes “real”. This makes them want to color more, which in turn assists in building up hand muscles and pre-writing skills.
Sky Burger is a lovely game. The child is a burger chef and has to make burgers with a certain amount of ingredients. All of the toppings are falling from the sky. The goal is to catch the toppings in the right order without making mistakes. This is a game that your child will love without realizing they are working fine and visual motor coordination, range of motion of wrist and forearm, attention and more.
This app is available with free and paid versions.