Fine Motor Friday- Lock and Key



Not only does this activity entertain your little locksmith to be, it also develops manual dexterity , hand eye coordination , problem solving and memory! That’s a lot for one simple ( and mess free) activity. My son loved it- it was challenging but not frustrating. My advice is if you think your little one is ready, try it if they get frustrated put it away for a while, then try again.

  1. Gather your materials. I got 3 different lock/ key combos at a discount store, you want them to look different so it’s not too confusing. I also a binder ring for a key chain and a tray to keep the activity in one place.
  2. Put all three keys onto the ring.
  3. Lay out the locks and key chain and invite your child to open these locks.
  4. I helped with the first before I was shooed away by my independent 2 year old.
  5. “Look mama look! Key in!”
** I was just informed that some keys are high in lead, so make sure you wash those little hands throughly after playing, just in case! **

3 Easy Fine Motor Activities


All children develop on their own schedule, while one may be excellent at climbing stairs at 2, another can’t but can identify all the letters in the alphabet. Our job is to provide rich , experience filled days not to drill them with facts and skills they aren’t ready for. Here are 3 fun ways to work on fine motor skills that allow for exploration as well as fine tuning.

Play Dough Treasure Hunt

Young children love finding things, I don’t know about you but I hear “Look Mama, looooook!” many many times a day, sometimes when I take the little hand pulling me I am surprised with a tower of blocks, sometimes his favorite garbage truck that he’s shown me with the same enthusiasm five times already that day. Activities like this tap into that and throws in an extra challenge. Dig around, count what you’ve found or discover that if you press hard on a button with holes that “Wiggly worms” appear. * Thanks to Teri for reminding me of this activity in a comment a few months ago!


Playdough Cutting

Using scissors is tricky. To help ease your child into learning I like to use play-dough, and very dull plastic safety scissors. These scissors will cut paper but not without just the right amount of pressure. However they cut play dough perfectly every time. This way your little person can focus on the grip and co-ordination of opening and closing , not fiddling with the paper, or angles they are cutting at. Also if they are getting frustrated, if they aren’t ready, simply remove the scissors and start creating something with the play-dough.

Marshmallow Building

This is a fine motor activity for older kids, it takes a lot of coordination and a good heaping of patience to build even simple structures out of marshmallows and toothpicks. After a day the marshmallows will harden and the sculpture will be sturdier. My son decided a snack was more fun , but at least he used the toothpicks.


Need a playdough recipe ?
Check out what happened when I tested out readers recipes!

Puffy Paint Moon Craft


space craft for kids

I used to do cloud paintings with this easy mix yourself puffy paint, but it struck me while reading one of the books below that it would make a great moon surface! It’s a perfect space craft for kids. The paint dries puffy and looks like the uneven surface of the moon. All of that though is secondary to how much fun my son had, I was planning on posting this next week but couldn’t wait!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some strong paper ( I am using craft paper but a cereal box or paper grocery bag would do), shaving cream, white glue, a marker and scissors. My son asked for crayons to color his moon first so I obliged.
  2. Start by drawing a “Big round moon” or any phase your child wants.
  3. If you want start by coloring it with crayons.
  4. Time to mix the paint. You will need 1/2 cup of glue and 1 1/2 cups of shaving cream.
  5. Mix !
  6. Now explore. My son kept saying “Goopy mama, goopy hands!”
  7. Spread and explore it more on the paper.
  8. Let dry- I let it dry for 4 hours and the thicker parts were still goopy in the middle. I’d let it dry overnight to make sure.
  9. Cut out your moon !
Books!

“The Moon Might Be Milk” by Lisa Shulman was the inspiration for our activity. The book follows a little girl and her animal friends as they all share their opinions of what the moon is made out of. While reading this today with my son he kept saying “No no not milk, shaving cream!” The story has a cute ending and I like how no opinion is made fun of or wrong. When I asked my son what he liked about the book “The cat”. There youhave it, a cute book about a moon but the cat stole the show.
“Night Goes By” by Kate Spohn is a book that explains how the sun goes down and the moon comes out and the cycle continues. The sun , moon and a star are all very cheery and enjoy their lots in life. The star and moon play all night! The book is simple and while I wasn’t too into it, my son really liked it. I would suggest it for toddlers and young preschoolers.


” The Moon” by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Tracy Campbell Pearson is a beautiful book. The poem was written in the 19th century but my two year old loved it paired with these stunning and warm illustrations of a family’s adventures at night. I really am so impressed with how well the words were put to life by the pictures, and my son loved it. It’s inspired me to find more classical literature and poetry to share with my son.


Moon Rock
Pick Up !

This is a fun fine motor activity that my son was all over. All you need are some mini marshmallows, a toothpick and 2 containers. Yes he ate many of the marshmallows but not all. He thought the toothpicks were very cool and when he was done transferring them we counted the “survivors”.

Necklace Craft

 mother's day craft for kidsWe had so much fun making this necklace, I really thought my son would lace a few shapes and proclaim he was done but he did every single one ! I helped him get the hang of lacing but in true 2 year old fashion he wanted no help after a few times. This can and should be made into a patterning lesson for children ready for that challenge.Fine motor skills , shape recognition and hand eye coordination all get a great workout while your little one makes something for someone special.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam sheets, scissors, a hole punch, and a large shoe lace. Shoe laces have a nice hard tip which makes lacing possible. Smaller shoe laces will work but the beads will pool at the bottom so don’t forget to tie a knot.
  2. Cut out different shapes from the foam. I asked my son which shapes he wanted and cut a handful of each.
  3. Time to punch holes. I did this but let my son explore with the hole punch and try before moving on to the next step. He was trying so hard I never got a still shot.
  4. Start lacing! With this over sized lace you don’t need a know at the end, but skinny laces will.
  5. Celebrate when they get a shape on, ask what shape and color it is.
  6. Tie a bow
  7. Wear it proudly moms!

 

Spring Fling Day 2 ! Color Match!

Chip it Clip it !

Months ago I saw a similar project over at Teaching Tiny Tots and made a mental note to try it, my son’s fine motor skills were good but not quite ready yet, the other day he was making a clothes pin bite things and I knew it was time! Here is how we did it.

  1. Gather your materials. I used 2 of each color paint chip ( 8 in all) , 4 clothes pins, 1 strip of cardboard ( side of a cereal box) and some double stick tape. I am far too impatient for glue.
  2. Cut your paint chips to fit onto the cardboard.
  3. Tape them down well.
  4. Using the 2nd paint chip cut a small strips to go on the top of the clothes pins.
  5. Tape them down.
  6. Start playing !

Books

“The Colors of Us” by Karen Katz . You may know Karen Katz from her very popular board books, but she has written a number of great picture books too! Lena is learning about mixing colors with her artist mom when she announces that “brown is brown” her mom knows better though. On a walk around her neighborhood she sees that all the people she knows are all different and all beautiful shades of brown. What I like about this book is that it recognizes that we are all different, kids , especially little ones can be really confused when we tell them “We are all the same” they don’t understand what we mean because they can SEE that we aren’t. This book celebrates the diversity while also celebrating the beauty of each color of us.


“Brown Bear Brown Bear” by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle is a classic, it is genius in it’s simplicity. So often we think things have to have fancy bells and whistles to keep toddlers and preschoolers interested and this book proves us wrong yet again. I haven’t met a child who hasn’t responded well to this book about colors and animals!

“Lemons Are Not Red” by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a clever book each page offers a sneak peek at what it next, which my son thought was genius and I have to agree. Soon my son was making his own predictions about what object would be revealed when we turned the page. The book offered so many chances for me to step in and ask my son questions about what we were reading without stalling the momentum of the book.