If you have ever googled ‘find motor’ or even just ‘kids activities’, you would have unearthed a mound of ideas for helping kids strengthen their fine motor muscles, develop their pincer grip and then (naturally!) turn them into proficient little writers. If only!
So: why are we adding to this with another post on fine motor activities? A couple of reasons: firstly, it’s something all kids benefit from developing. Strong and coordinated muscles are needed for writing, doing up buttons and tying shoelaces, just to name a few. Secondly: with so much information, I thought I’d condense it down to a short list of the EASY activities that worked for my kids. No special visits to craft shops required! These are activities I have just left out on the coffee table or kitchen bench for the kids to investigate. Even if you have a child who is reluctant to try it (and I know – I’ve been there!), I found that packing a few of these into zip lock bags and keep in the car or even near the TV-watching-sofa means that they’ve been picked up and played with. Kids are not naturally still – well, mine aren’t! – so these are perfect little ‘fiddle’ activities, as well.
Draw different lines – straight, zig zag, curly – on strips of scrap paper and leave out a child-size pair of scissors.
Sketch large spirals on paper and ask your child to cut along the lines, to create a curly spiral that can be hung up.
Draw feathers on paper and ask your child to cut them out and then cut a fine ‘fringe’ into the edges.
Draw a page full of little circles (or a picture with lots of raindrops) and provide your child with cotton tips and paint to paint in each ‘dot’ on the page.
Pom poms or cotton balls
Provide small tongs and either pom poms or cotton wool balls. You can then ask your child to sort into colours or to put a certain number in different bowls/cups, using only the small tongs. (We provide all of these resources in our Preschool Brilliant Box.)
If you have tubular pasta (like penne or rigatoni), leave out some string/ribbon and pasta for threading. My kids like to use fluorescent highlighters to colour their dry pasta before threading.
Leave out a wire baking rack with some pipe cleaners or ribbon/string, for threading under and over the wires.
Remember the paper weaving you did at school? It’s still fun and rather meditative! Take one coloured piece of paper and folding it in half, cut slits through it, making sure not to cut through to the edge. Then, slice another coloured piece of paper into strips and leave it out for weaving under and over the other piece of paper.
Paper chains – always a favourite at my place. Slice paper into strips (sometimes we use coloured paper, but sometimes we paint newspaper then cut it up when it is dry), then provide either sticky tape, stapler or glue to create the ‘chains’.
I have, of course, always MEANT to create more elaborate invitations to play. For example, ‘fine motor boards’ full of locks and keys, buttons, shoelaces, etc. But it is still on my Pinterest ‘to-do’ list. In the meantime, the above ideas have helped my son go from a very frustrated hand writer to a very neat and clear hand writer. He’s so much happier now we can all read his amazing stories!
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