Fine Motor Skills

  • Robyn Wu, OTD, OTR/L, BCP

  • Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, Samuel Merritt University and Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Communication Works

  • Appropriately Fitted Furniture Promotes Optimal Performance During Tabletop Fine Motor Activities

    When engaging children to participate in tabletop fine motor activities such as drawing, take a moment to determine whether the chair and table are a good fit for your child’s body dimensions. Research suggests that young children exhibit better object manipulation skills and attention to task when seated in furniture that fit them properly than when seated in chairs and tables that are too big (Smith- Zuzovsky & Exner, 2004; Wingrat & Exner, 2005). When furniture provides sufficient postural support, children can focus their efforts more on using their hands rather than controlling their posture.

    Optimal postural support is achieved when a child sits on a stable chair with ankles, knees, and hips bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. The tabletop should be approximately two inches above the child’s elbow. Simple adaptations to promote a proper fit include footrests of telephones books or shoeboxes and seat cushions made from towels or a firm blanket.

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