Tag Archives: fine motor

Easy letter recognition activity

I’m always on the look out for more fun (and even better, easy to make) letter recognition games.  Just visit Tired, Need Sleep (don’t we all?) and print off her lowercase letter templates.  Then cut out the pieces from foam and away you go!  This also works on spatial reasoning, as it’s just like a puzzle and fine motor skills, as those pieces of foam are pretty small.  Once your child is ready to move on to something harder, print, cut and paste more letter templates to spell out their name or sight words.

If you want to make this a fun car or airplane game, make the templates and foam magnetic with a bit of refrigerator magnet tape and use them on a cookie sheet.

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Filed under 3 Year Olds, 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Activities

Lacing Cards

Here’s yet another idea to work on those fine motor skills.  Nikkala from The Crafting Chicks gives you a tutorial on how to make your very own lacing cards.  You can buy these at teacher stores but they’re kind of expensive.  Plus this has the added bonus of being able to create cards of characters and/or objects your kids love.  So cute and pretty easy too!  Start lacing away and you’ll have another fun activity that works on fine motor skills!

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Filed under 2 Year Olds, 3 Year Olds, 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Activities

Fun Fine Motor Activity

You may remember a previous post on fine motor skills.   Here’s another idea from I Can Teach My Child to add to your list of activities to strengthen and fine tune this skill.  I didn’t even know that they made window crayons.  So cool!  After further research I found out they also have washable window markers.

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Filed under 1 Year Olds, 2 Year Olds, 3 Year Olds, 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Activities

Play Dough

What kid doesn’t love play dough?  Not only is it fun you can also use it for all sorts of fun learning activities.

  • Make snakes out of the dough to make letters, sight words and family names.
  • Create characters out of the dough and then tell a story.
  • Mix different colors.
  • Roll it out and use cookie cutters to cut fun shapes.  Then count, add and subtract these shapes.
  • Describe how it feels to build vocabulary.
  • Use it for play/pretend.  It’s amazing what kids can do with their imagination!

Check out Kate’s how to for play dough made from natural colors at Mini-Eco.

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Easy Ways to Make Writing Fun!

My child really doesn’t like writing.  What are some ways to make it more fun for him?

Sometimes children do find writing difficult or unappealing.  Typically this results because your child is still fine tuning his fine motor skills or he’s being pushed to work in a writing stage that he isn’t ready for right now.   If you think it might be because his fine motor skills are still developing, many of the suggestions below help provide fun ways to encourage writing and simultaneously develop fine motor skills.  If he’s being pushed to work in a writing stage that isn’t at his developmental level yet, remember to make writing fun.  Balance free writing time that doesn’t foucs on sounding out words (remember depending on his writing stage this could just be pictures) with time when you work together to stretch out the sounds in words.  Encouraging your child to move to the next writing stage is good but remember to take it slowly!  Before you know it your child will be writing stories and sounding out words on his own. 

Now that I know, what can I do?

Writing Center–  Make a dedicated area of your home the writing center.  Almost all Kindergarten classrooms have it and a home should have one too!  Gather old stationery, envelopes, post-its, notebook paper and any other fun piece of paper you can find.  Also gather pencils, pens, markers and crayons.  Then let your child have fun writing letters, stories, lists and more. 

Blank Books– Take a few sheets of paper and staple them together to make a blank book.   Add these to the writing center if you like or encourage your child to write a story.  Depending on the stage of writing they are in, have them draw pictures and then either write about the picture or dictate a story to you.   

Chalk, bath crayons, glitter pens, etc.-  We’ve mentioned them before, but these fun writing utensils really can make writing fun for your child.  They’re worth the investment!

Make lists together-  Have your child help you write lists.  Whether you’re going shopping or making a list of people to invite to your Fourth of July party, lists are a form of writing often undervalued.  Give your child a small notebook or a stack of post-its and you’ll start seeing a ton of lists and as a result, writing!

Stamps-  Rubber stamps are a great way to encourage writing in a number of different forms.  You can have your child make a Rebus story by writing some words and then stamping pictures in the sentences where appropriate.   You can also have your child create a picture using stamps and then go back and label different parts of the picture.  If you have alphabet stamps, have your child use these to narrate a story or picture. 

Hair gel-  Yes, hair gel.  Take colorful hair gel or bath gel and put it in a ziploc bag.  Double bagging is probably a good idea.  Then have your child use his finger to write on top of the ziploc bag.  The hair gel will push away and his writing will be visible.  When he’s done, have him spread the hair gel to erase it and start again!  If you like, you can also spread shaving cream in the bathtub or on the kitchen counter.  Kids love to use their fingers to write in this too.

Role-Playing–  Think up role-playing situations that involve writing.  Find an apron and a waitress pad.  Then have your child play restaurant and write down people’s orders.  They could also be a letter carrier, writing letters and then delivering them or a doctor writing in a patient’s medical file.  The possiblities are endless for characters that need to write!

Be creative!  Writing shouldn’t be limited to a piece of paper and a pencil.  Just have fun!

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Filed under 3 Year Olds, 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Questions

Writing Name

My child can find his name, does he need to be able to write it too? He’s not really interested in learning how to write it.

The fact that your child can recognize his name is wonderful! It will make his transition into Kindergarten much easier. Being able to locate his name in the room will give him confidence in finding his seat, cubby, and other assigned items and areas.   On the first day of school your child will be asked to write his name.  The Kindergarten teacher will do this to assess how well he can properly write his first name.   By the end of Kindergarten the expectation will be that your child write his first and last name with correct capitalization and letter formation (plus no letter reversals). There’s a good bit of ground to cover between recognizing one’s name and actually getting the letters on paper correctly. Don’t stress! There are lots of ways to give your child the practice he needs to ensure he is on his way to writing his name the right way!

Now that I know, what can I do?

Let your child experience the fun ways to write his name! Using a pencil and paper might not sound like much fun to your child. Try one of these new ways to get your child on board: Let your him practice writing his name in shaving cream; Use sidewalk chalk to write his name colorfully; Playdough is a wonderful tool to use to practice spelling one’s name. (It works those fine motor skills too!) Write your child’s name in glue and allow him to cover the gluey letters with cereal, buttons, glitter, etc. Use chocolate chips to spell his name on the next cake you bake together. Bath time brings about a wonderful chance to use bath crayons to practice spelling his name too!

Practice Makes Perfect! The best way for your child to independently write his name is through practice. But remember that the tools he uses to practice writing his name are very important. Allow him to use chubby pencils and crayons rather than thin ones. They are much easier to grasp. Transition into the thinner pencils and crayons as your child develops those fine motor skills.

Also consider:
Pre-K students typically write their name in all capital letters so a child transitioning into Kindergarten may be writing in all caps. That is perfectly acceptable. The capital letters are much easier to form so encourage and model using those capital letters to write your child’s name.

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Filed under 4 Year Olds, 5 Year Olds, Questions

Holding a Pencil

My child has difficulty holding a pencil or grabbing small items. How can I help her with this before she starts school?

We refer to small movements of the hands and fingers such as grasping items between fingers and thumb as fine motor skills. Kindergarten students are expected to have enough fine motor skills to be able to hold and use a pencil and cut with kid-sized scissors. In order to strengthen these skills you’ll still see some craft projects in Kindergarten. However, it’s crucial for your child to have lots of opportunities to practice these skills before school starts. This will result in your child having an easier time holding a pencil properly and as a result learning handwriting easier.
Now that I know, what can I do?
 
Using glue to make small dots. Draw a heart (or any shape) using small dots like a dot to dot without the numbers. Then have your child color the dots with a marker and then go over the marker dot with a dot of glue. Tell them to remember:

A dot, a dot, a dot will do
Anymore than that is too much glue

This will help you avoid puddles of glue!

Teach your child how to hold and use scissors properly. Draw a shape on a piece of paper and have your child practice cutting. You may want to start with straight edges first and then move into curved lines.

String beads. Get large beads from your local craft store and have your child string them onto a shoelace. Place the beads in a cup so that your child has to use their index finger and thumb to grab them.

Have your child play with small toys. Barbie and all her accessories or Legos are great toys to help your child strengthen their fine motor skills because they are small and force them to practice grasping items between their fingers and thumb.

Practice sewing and lacing. Take two pieces of construction paper and place them on top of each other. Then punch holes about an inch apart. Then give your child a shoelace or piece of yarn with a small amount of tape wrapped around the end. They can then practice lacing the string through the holes until they’ve made a pocket. You can also buy similar lacing projects at your local teacher store.

Weaving Fold a piece of construction paper in half. Beginning on the fold cut until you are a inch away from the edge of the paper. Repeat the cut every one inch. Open the paper up. Then cut long strips of construction paper and have your child weave them through the cut paper. Potholders are another great weaving project to strengthen fine motor skills.

Use tweezers or small tongs to pick up small items. Place small items such as pom poms or cotton balls on the table. Have your child use tweezers or small tongs to pick these up and place them in a bowl. Then dump them out and do them all over again.

Place cotton balls in an empty water bottle. Then have your child shake the cotton balls down towards the opening and grasp the cotton balls with their index finger and thumb. Have them repeat this until there aren’t any more cotton balls in the bottle.

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