What is finger gym and funky fingers?
Finger Gym and funky fingers has become increasingly popular within early years settings as it encourages the development of fine motor and language skills that are essential for hand writing. More practitioners steering away from the direct teaching of handwriting preschools and are instead focusing on ensuring children have the essential fine motor skills and control that they need. Finger gym may be done at a set time or be in a set area all day and can be made to fit in with any theme, topic or interest. Any activity could be classed as a finger gym activity if it focuses on children using fine motor skills. There are set books and activities that can be brought to help you deliver effective fine motor activities.
What are the benefits of finger gym and funky fingers?
There are many benefits of finger gym and funky fingers, here are a few
- Promotes fine motor skills
- Encourages communication and language skills
- Supports hand writing skills through fine motor strength and control
- Highly adaptable
- Can fit in with any theme, topic, celebration, interest
- Repetitive fine motor skills in a fun way
- If changed regularly such as weekly children are excited and intrigued to have a go
- Promotes characteristics of effective learning
- Allows children to develop the skills they need without causing any confusion around hand writing
- Through improving fine motor skills children develop independence in things such as buttoning their own coats or opening their own packets
How to start finger gym / funky fingers
As discussed above you may choose to hold finger gym daily and make it a group activity where all the children join in at the same time or you may choose to dedicate an area of the room to finger gym or funky fingers. I personally prefer to have an area of the room dedicated this way children can revisit the activity as many times as they wish and find time to develop and practice their skills. Ensure the area is well planned an inviting, often it can be tempting to chuck a finger gym tray on top of some draws and hope the children engage in it. However, this sometimes leads to the area being neglected by the children and practitioners. Make it a focal point as it is promoting some incredibly important skills needed for school readiness and future development.
For some inspiration read our part 2 of this article dedicated to finger gym and funky finger activities here.