## Fine Motor Skills Challenge ( and some math)

My son like many kindergarteners has been focusing a lot on writing this year and while they hone their letter formation they are also working on spelling and punctuation. It’s a lot to coordinate. If the physical task of writing is using up all their concentration the more complex ones just add to the possible frustration . The best thing parents can do is to find ways to build those fine motor skills. This task was NOT easy for my son.  What I did with this was to balance it with an element he loves ( math) in order for him to do all 4 corks instead of giving up with the first. Don’t be afraid to make something hard just decide what your goal is.  That said had there been a complete refusal I would have adapted it using larger objects.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some wine corks or rectangular blocks and many elastic bands.
2. Wrap the bands around the corks. Wrap a different number of bands around each. Make some tight and other looser.
3. Invite your child to make a prediction about how many rubber bands are on each cork. No need to write it down but if you want to add some writing into the activity by all means grab some paper and a pencil with an eraser.
4. Start unwrapping.  A lot of things come easy to my son so challenges are not always welcomed. I reminded him not to give up that we needed to find out how many were on these little corks. After getting them off count.
5. Repeat with the other corks.  This one was wrapped very tightly and he got frustrated initially but oh wait for it… I got a smile out of him too. I slipped in a little chat about how over coming challenges is way more fun that doing a task that is easy to start with.

Other ways to easily build your child’s fine motor skills are to play with play dough, beading or lacing , sewing and needle arts, playing with stickers, and our favorite Lego.  Check out more ideas from all over the web on our Fine Motor Pinterest Board.

## How Many? Estimating Activity

Every day items make great math manipulatives . When my son’s preschool class did a similar lesson using nice counting bears I knew I wanted to do it at home but with stuff I already had in my art closet.  This activity was great because it gave my son a chance to do things he loves like estimate and count as well as things he resists doing like writing . All with things I had around the house!

1. Gather your materials. You will need some jars or clear plastic containers, small items to pop in them , paper, a pencil, and a clip board. For some reason if I put paper on a clip board my son is way more excited to write than plain old paper.
2. Start by filling the jars with small objects.  I used corks, pom poms and plastic frog toys. Make sure there are enough to make it a little challenging, they shouldn’t be able to easily count the manipulatives when they are in the jar.
3. Write a simple chart to record the items are in each jar . We only recorded the estimates but you can also write the results. I want to encourage my son to write but without pushing.
4. Time to estimate!
5. Write it down.
6. Open and count.
7. Repeat with other jars .