Developing Fine Motor Skills

Friday, December 12, 2014
strengthen pencil gripFine motor skills are so important for little ones.  They need strong hand muscles for their pencil grip.

I try to give my kiddos lots of cutting activities to help strengthen their hand muscles.  I also try to sneak in activities that build fine motor muscles whenever I can.

Here is one of my favorite muscle strengthening activities...  CLEAN UP TOOLS.

fine motor strengthening activity

I have a basket of clothespins and tennis balls with a slit cut along one side and those are my "Clean Up Tools".   When we are working on a cutting project I will sometimes tell my kids to put all the scraps on the floor.  This makes for a REALLY messy room, but I know it's just a short time thing, because as the kids finish the project I have them get one of the "Clean Up Tools"  and they scour the room looking for the smallest scraps to pick up and put in the recycle bin.  All of that clothes pin pinching and tennis ball squeezing really gets those hand muscles working- not to mention the cutting that occurred during the project.  I also prefer to use good 'ole white glue instead of glue sticks because I like the kids having to squeeze the glue bottle.  I guess I'm old school.  Remembering to close the glue is another layer of responsibility that is good for the kids.

Another way I sneak in hand strengthening activities is during center time.
I try to have AT LEAST one center that incorporates fine motor skills along with whatever academic task I want them to learn.  I use play dough to make letters and numbers, clothespins to clip answers, chenille sticks to poke answers through a small hole, markers to write answers, a hole punch to punch answers... you get the picture.  The variety of my center activities keeps the kids engaged and on task allowing me to focus on small group instruction with minimal interruptions (in theory at least).

Here is one of my current literacy centers.  It focuses on beginning sounds.  It is self-checking and self-teaching and it uses clothes pins!  Kids say the picture listening for the beginning sound.  They clip the 3 pictures that begin with that sounds and then flip the card over.  The stars show them is they got it right or not.  If not, they move the clips to the stars and flip the card over again and practice saying the pictures over and over until they hear the sound.  Super fun.  My kids love it!
You can click on the picture to get the activity.

phonemic awareness beginning sounds activity

I bet if you look around at the activities in your classroom you'll be surprised at how many opportunities you are giving your students to work on their fine motor skills, but I think it's worth thinking about every now and again how we can sneak in more ways to help our little one grow and develop their fine motor skills.

Just a thought.
Thanks for stopping by!


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