Opening and closing these little pill boxes is tough for adults with good dexterity, and poses a real challenge for children still working on their finger strength, which is why I used one to make this fine motor activity. We never want to create activities that pose such major challenges that a child feels defeated , that won’t spark any learning. Ultimately we want it to be a balance of easy enough to do alone but enticing enough to offer a little challenge. I go a little easier with free choice activities and a little more challenging if someone is there to support the student’s learning.
Even though matching the letter sounds was old hat for my six-year-old as you will see, the task of opening and closing the compartment wasn’t. Just the right balance. My hope is that her inner monologue is something like ” Oh I know how to match these letter sounds, now I just need to find the animal and pop it in this little box, easy! Oh, dude, this box is tough, but I know the bear goes in this b compartment, I have got to get it… yes I got it open!”
While I have no idea if this really is what was going on in my daughter’s head, I do know when I have hit that learning and development zone with her and my students and that is what I adore about teaching. I hit it with this fine motor activity and hope you will too. Here is how we made it;
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Gather your materials. You will need a daily pill box, a cotton pad, nail polish remover, mini animal figurines , and a sharpie.
Start by using the nail polish remover to take the print off the container. Let dry.
Depending on which mini animal figurines you have (I have a bunch of different packs mixed up in my collection) write the corresponding letters onto the top of the pill container with a sharpie. Don’t forget to use the lowercase letter, which children are connecting sounds to letters I prefer to use lowercase letters as they show up in print much more frequently. When you want to take the sharpie off just cover it with a dry-erase marker and wipe. If your child or students know all their uppercase but are struggling with lowercase try some fun upper and lowercase matching games to boost their confidence and knowledge –> here are some great upper and lowercase matching activities!
You can use this a few different ways. You can pop the animals in and use this as a discovery activity. The child looks at the letter then finds the animal hopefully making the connection between the animal name and letter on the container. This is a fun way for children that haven’t mastered their letter sounds. The best part is even if they aren’t yet making every connection with letter sounds they are giving their fine motor skills a good workout.
For children who are pretty confident with letter sounds place the animals in a bowl, close the lids to the pill container and have them fill it!
Read the letter.
Search for the tiny animal figurine.
Open the container – some sections opened easier than others!
Pop it in and click it closed.
I had more than one animal for some letters to give her a challenge, the lids will close with two animals inside, but it takes some concentration and finger strength. Little activities like this fine motor activity are perfect for quick engaging after school activities or for literacy centers in PreK and Kindergarten classrooms.
How would you adapt this for your child or classroom?