My daughter Phoebe usually avoids table top fine motor activities at home, but these click together pieces from LAQ Australia have had Phoebe creating a range of different designs, patterns and structures, and Phoebe is practicing her fine motor skills while being creative and having fun.
The developmental benefits that I have been observing with the LAQ Australia product includes:
* Bilateral coordination
* Finger, hand, and wrist strength
* Pincer grip
* Spatial awareness
Bilateral coordination refers to the ability of the body to move both sides at the same time with a smooth and efficient movement pattern. As you can see in the image above, my daughter needs to be able to keep one of the LAQ bricks stable with her right hand, while completing a pushing action with her left hand so that both of the bricks connect accurarely.
Children who struggle with fine motor bilateral coordination may benefit from practicing this skill as part of their home learning or kindergarten program, as the children will just feel like they're playing, while their fine motor skills are getting a workout.
Finger, hand and wrist strength
The LAQ bricks are quite small and thin, requiring children to use more finger strength than compared to a brick product like Duplo. I would encourage these bricks for children aged 5 years and above as they do require a signficant amount of finger strength.
When using these building bricks the hands and wrists also get an opportunity to build up muscular strength as one hand needs to hold a stable position while the other hand squeezes the bricks together.
As you can see in these images, the wrist muscles also have the opportunity to build up strength as a lot of these pieces require the hands to be in a side on position (similar to a handwriting position), as opposed to a top down (ipad tapping style) hand position.
Pincer grip refers to children using the thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger to pinch an object or stabilise a pencil when handwriting.
The small building bricks are great for developing pincer grip practice as they are too small for the child to use all of their 5 fingers. The small size of the building bricks makes this resource not suitable for children under 4 years of age, but it does help older children use the first 3 fingers of the hand, while their ring finger and little finger are tucked out of the way (not hindering their advanced fine motor skill development).
What I love about LAQ Australia building bricks is that they have encouraged my children to create their own patterns, shapes, and structures without using any instructions. This open ended fine motor skills activity has been used multiple times this week as I have just left a plate full of different coloured pieces for my children to explore freely.
Even this morning as I was having my coffee, Phoebe was happily playing making her own rocket ship out of the bricks.
The LAQ Australia resources come with instruction booklets for creating a range of different shapes. The booklets require children to sit down and focus on each step of their creation. Phoebe needed some assistance from us, but my 9 year old twins were able to create their shapes and cars independently using the instruction booklets.