First, grab a black pom pom and twist half of a pipe cleaner around it.
My favorite way of introducing any art concept is through a book. It provides meaning and a deeper understanding for students. I also love it when kids are given the opportunity to show what they know. They always prove to have amazing skill and talent beyond what we realize.
This book explores how shapes learn how to get along with each other. It is a great book to use to explore creativity, imagination and friendship!
Gak is a great support for fine motor development. At the same time, it can fulfill a sensory need for many children. We often will set them out with scissors or just on its own to see what kids will do with it. Many will stay engrossed for hours at a time! The recipe is super easy to make!
Mix these two ingredients together in a large plastic bag:
2 C white glue
1 1/2 C warm water which already contains food coloring
In a separate bowl mix together:
1 C warm water
3 tsp Borax
Finally, combine the two mixtures into the large plastic bag until it is a thick slimy consistency.
I have had many parents bring in recipes of play dough. This is our best recipe that we have found to send home to our families.
2 c flour
1 c salt
4 tsp cream of tarter
2 c boiled water
4 Tbsp oil
Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix all wet ingredients together in a bowl.
Developing fine motor skills is something that many educators overlook, especially with students who have not attended kindergarten or in any grade after kindergarten.
Students who struggle with printing skills actually do not need rote practice of printing letters in order to help them learn. Developing their fine motor skills is a necessity in order for them to be better able to grasp and control their pencil!
The easiest and my favorite way of supporting fine motor development is through the use of silly putty.
It comes in a wide variety of densities from very pliable to very firm and hard to manipulate.
At the beginning of my teaching career I remember being curious as to how effective simple tools as putty are for students. I then had an unfortunate medical situation where I could not use my hands for a couple of months and lost most of my own fine motor muscles. I was fascinated at feeling my muscles strengthen as I played the following activities with my students. Some days it was a full workout of my hands!
Silly Putty Activities
The following activities are the routines we use in our classroom.
Hide small beads in the putty. Usually it will “fall” into the putty overnight but can be easily squeezed into the putty if needed. We typically use melting beads, as pictured above, as they are cheap and can be purchased in large quantities.
1. Pick out all the beads.
2. Roll into a ball.
3. Squish flat into a pancake. Then, add beads to make it into a chocolate chips to the pancake!
4. Roll into a “snake”
5. Squeeze the snake by squishing it with the thumb and pointer finger to find the beads. Pick them out!
6. Make a hot dog!
7. Make animals with the putty.
These activities are quite engaging for young children. They love to play with putty and ask daily to play!
We rotate daily between students and as a result there are often students who are begging to play.
Once students have developed their ability to demonstrate fine motor strength we encourage printing skills. The following is an engaging activity for learning how to print numbers!
It is great to use with a variety of writing tools (e.g., markers for lesser strength and pencil crayons for students with lots) or use manipulatives to engage students in a play based environment (e.g., using beads or gems).
What other engaging activities do you use with your students to develop their fine motor?
Many children are determined to become big kids by practicing to get their shoes on independently.
Most kids don’t care if they are on the proper side. They just that they get the shoes on successfully!
Here are some tips to help you on their journey to success.
1. Mark the Insides.
If they have trouble remembering which side goes on which foot, add a little dot or stickers to the inside of the sole to help them remember that they like to be friends and they go together.
2. Mark the Dominant Side.
If they know which side is their dominant side, for instance, which hand they eat their fork with, put a star on that shoe. It is a great reminder!
3. Comfort Level.
Practice putting shoes on the correct feet (Does it feel comfortable?
Is there a big ‘V’ when you put your feet together? If so, it means that your shoes need to be changed. Put the big toe of the shoes together, so there is no ‘V’).
4. Master taking shoes off before getting them on.
5: Watch out for the tongue.
Make sure that your child holds onto the tongue of the shoe so it does not slide to the toe of the shoe and make it impossible for them to get on.
6. Develop a reward system.
Reward each incremental step of learning with a small reward of your choice (sticker, cookie etc.).
At first, acknowledge each time they successfully get their shoes off. Then move onto getting their shoes on and finally ensuring that they are safe and secure on their feet!
7. Have a child show your child how to do it.
Kids are the experts. They have most recently learned how to tie their shoes and they often are better teachers to their peers than we are as adults! Kids motivate each other in a positive way.
8. Keep practicing.
It will take a long time to master independence. Start early with simple skills!
9. Stop helping.
Sometimes in our busy rush of life, we stop the learning process. Many times kids need to learn simply by being forced to learn. Slow down, don’t rush your child and give them the freedom to learn at their own pace.