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Nurturing Baby's Artistic Skills

You love to display your budding artist's masterpieces, but can't help asking yourself: "When will I recognize something?" Despite how it looks, wrapping her small fingers around the crayon and scribbling is a major achievement. Even though gross motor milestones, like rolling over, crawling, and walking get all the praise in your baby's first year, fine motor development is no less important  -- it's essential for proper finger and hand movement. These activities will help your baby hone these important skills:

Pick-up fun
Basic skills: Let her self-feed more often with Cheerios or peas
Advanced play: Fit colored pieces into a shape-sorter toy

Arts and crafts
Basic skills: Give her thick crayons or chunky sidewalk chalk to draw with, which are easy to hold
Advanced play: Try finger painting or playing with sand and clay to practice digging and shaping

Building blocks
Basic skills: Help her make towers using small alphabet blocks
Advanced play: Practice attaching and detaching large linking blocks ([XREF {http://www.parenting.com/parenting/babytalk/article/0,19840,1612098,00.html} {Get more info on the benefits of block play}])

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