Mazes are a huge hit with therapists and children alike! While mazes are lots of fun and provide a sufficient challenge for children, they also help therapists to address a variety of skills within your child’s therapy session. Mazes can be taped to a wall at your child’s eye-level so that he can work on a vertical surface. This mimics a chalkboard or an easel board and promotes wrist extension and copying from a board (like in a classroom).
Below are several reasons to practice mazes with your child at home:
- Problem solving: Mazes help your child to work on his executive functioning skills, such as planning and brainstorming various strategies (e.g. starting from the beginning of the maze or working backwards from the end of maze).
- Fine motor control: Mazes require your child to control his pencil through the maze without hitting the black lines. This means that he must take his time rather than rushing, in order to have greater success. Progress can be observed as your child bumps into the black lines less and less as he gains greater control of his writing utensil. Children use fine motor control in order to produce correct letter formation and legible handwriting.
- Visual motor: Mazes require your child to use his eyes to scan the worksheet in order to find possible solutions. Scanning is a great skill used for reading and writing, as it is important to scan from the left side of the paper to the right side.
- Grading of an activity: Mazes can be broken down into different steps. For instance, first have your child start by moving his finger, next a pencil, then a marker through the maze. This helps your child to solve the same maze three times consecutively, which allows the skill to sink-in better.
- Confidence: Mazes are perfect fine motor activities to help boost your child’s confidence. Have your child begin with a simple maze to provide immediate success, and then have him work towards completing mazes of increased difficulty.
Fine motor and visual motor skills can be practiced in a wide variety of ways, including mazes. Mazes are a great way to work on handwriting without just writing letters and words. There are many websites that offer free printable maze worksheets for a variety of age levels and themes. An internet search such as, “simple mazes for 4-year-olds,” will produce a variety of mazes and printable activities that are perfect for practicing these important skills at home!