What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than baking some Christmas cookies, am I right? Did you know that involving your child in the cookie baking process as well as other Christmas traditions can help improve their fine motor skills?
Before we get into the fun part of cookie baking, let’s first start out with what fine motor skills are and why they are important. Fine motor skills are smaller movements that use the small muscles like in the finger, toes, wrist and ankles. These are intricate movements that require a high level of control. Some examples include reaching, holding, grasping, squeezing, gripping, etc. It is vital that children are continuing to practice their motor skills because they lead into important life skills, like writing, typing, feeding oneself and dressing oneself, just to name a few. These motor skills build confidence in children, so they are able to start doing things more independently.
Baking Christmas cookies is the perfect way to practice these fine motor skills at home and it’s a great Christmas activity to do over the holiday break! It’s also an awesome sensory experience. (Remember, it’s okay to get messy!) First, have your child help with measuring, scooping and mixing the dry ingredients, like flour, sugar, salt, etc. This is also a great way to introduce different textures and smells to your child. Have your child describe what the ingredients look, feel and even taste like! Next, have them help pour and mix the wet ingredients, like cracking the egg. This seems to be a highlight no matter how old your child is! (You might want to do this over a separate bowl in case any shell accidentally makes its way into the bowl.) Have your child describe what happens when you mix the wet and dry ingredients together! It’s like a mini science experiment! Once the mixture becomes more doughy, have your child help with scooping and rolling the dough. This is especially helpful in improving your child’s dexterity. You could also use cookie cutters to make some fun Christmas- shaped cookies. Lastly, once the cookies are out of the oven and cooled, let the decorating begin! The use of their pincer grasp for grabbing chocolate chips/sprinkles or the use of their whole hand (gross hand grasp) for squeezing or spreading icing are great ways to practice their fine motor skills and they’ll have a sweet treat to enjoy when they’re all done!
This is one of the many ways you can practice those fine motor skills at home during the Christmas break. Decorating the Christmas tree, helping with gift wrapping, drawing/writing a letter to Santa are some other great ways to practice those motor skills all while staying in the Christmas spirit!
I hope you and your family have a safe and joyous Christmas season! Enjoy your cookie decorating fun!