Finger isolation is the ability to use one finger at a time. When babies begin using their hands, all their fingers move together at once - most of us are familiar with the full-fist grasp of a new baby around our own fingers. As they grow, babies begin to learn how to move individual fingers. At around 10 months they begin to use their index finger to point and to push buttons. As they grow stronger and more co-ordinated they’ll begin to isolate more fingers. It sounds a simple thing but it’s important to encourage it from early on as it forms the foundations for the many fine motor skills children use when they start school. From grasping pencils and using scissors to doing up buttons and tying laces, playing instruments and typing on a keyboard.
Try these simple ways to develop finger isolation while having fun:
- Sing nursery rhymes with finger wiggling actions, like Incey Wincey Spider and Twinkle Twinkle
- Count using fingers (moving one finger at a time). Sing One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Once I Caught a Fish Alive.
- Make finger prints using paint or play dough.
- Push buttons
- Make finger puppets