Five Toys to Develop Visual Motor and Fine Motor Skills
by Kristen Henderson, M.S., OTR/L
Kids Place West Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Slot toys help to improve wrist dexterity, precision with visual motor tasks, object manipulation skills, and problem solving. These toys also address object permanence, or the ability to know that an object still exists even when it is hidden. For example, playing with the popular piggy bank slot toy, your child drops a coin inside, looks for the coin, and then opens the door to take it back out.
Ball mazes are great toys to help work on voluntary release and hand eye coordination. It can also work on visual tracking as your child watches the ball roll down the track. Encouraging your baby to hold one ball in each hand and bang them together at the middle of their body will also help to develop early bilateral coordination skills.
The ring stacker is an awesome toy to help babies and young toddlers develop grasping and object manipulation skills. They will also work on their hand eye coordination when placing the rings over the dowel. Placing the stacker in the middle of your child’s body can also help to develop midline orientation while placing the tower to either side of your child can work on midline crossing. Some ring stackers have rings made of different textures which is a fun way to expose your child to new types of tactile sensory input.
Peg board toys can address a variety of skills. They can help to address visual motor precision, grasp development with pegs of different sizes and shapes, and force grading when pushing pegs into the board. Depending on the type of peg board you have, stacking the pegs can help to work on graded control and shoulder girdle stability.
A shape sorter or inlay puzzle can help develop your child’s visual processing skills such as the ability to determine if the shapes are the same or different. Shape sorters also help to work on problem solving and object manipulation as your child works to make the shape fit inside. To help your baby develop voluntary release take the lid off of your shape sorter and have baby place shapes into the open container.
Do you have questions or concerns about your child’s development? Kids Place Pediatric Therapy in Arizona is here to help!