A generation is missing out on essential motor skills

CBC’s The Current recently interviewed Dr. Roger Kneebone about a worrisome issue affecting medical students in the UK:  They show a lack of hand dexterity in simple tasks such as tying knots and cutting string.

Hand dexterity is a critical skill for surgeons, yet  “It seems we can no longer rely on people having developed these ways of using their hands from early childhood, at home and at school,” Dr. Roger Kneebone told The Current’s guest host, Piya Chattopadhay.

“We’re seeing increasing numbers of people who no longer have that sort of basic language using their hands, in the way that — only five or ten years ago — people used to,” he said. These skills often taught in high school in programs like woodworking and cooking are no longer mandatory.

How can we help children with their hand dexterity?

Encouraging physical literacy skills through fun games and activities can help with important tasks like printing, tying shoes, and future career choices. Here are a few to try:

  1. Practice Catching & Throwing: Check out our “Bounce and Catch” activity and fortune teller printable activity for more ideas.
  2. Ball Hockey: Whether it is ball hockey on the street or on the ice, hockey is great to develop hand dexterity.
  3. Basketball: Gripping a basketball helps us to gain strength in our hands.
  4. Crafts:  Any activities that include crafts or playing with loose parts will help kids develop hand dexterity, and keep them playing for hours.
  5. Make time for unstructured play: Free play is key for helping kids develop skills and aids in their mental health.

To listen to the complete interview podcast visit the CBC’s The Current.

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