DIY Framed Chalkboard !

Playroom Addition !

Writing on a vertical surface is very important for fine motor development. It works out the developing muscles in the arm and wrist that are used for writing. Your child’s hands/wrists naturally go into the proper position when writing vertically so easels , white boards and chalkboards like this one are invaluable! I have been wanting to make my son one for ages, and I finally bit the bullet. It was insanely easy and inexpensive too!

* Updated to add this super cool link to another chalkboard at infarrantly creative that blows ours away! don’t miss it! *
Cereal Box Mosaic

  1. Gather your materials. I used Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint, a roller, paint tray, painters tape, an old picture frame, an old sheet, 4 nails and a hammer.
  2. Start by deciding where you want the chalkboard. Have your child show you how high they can reach so that it’s all usable space. I’m no good with measuring tape so I just eyeballed it and thumb tacked it to the wall to decide. You may want to measure where on the wall you put it.
  3. Tape off the area to paint.
  4. Apply your first coat. Wait 4 hours or more and add a 2nd. Let dry.
  5. Take off the tape.
  6. Place your frame on the wall so the painted area is centered, and secure it to the wall. I nailed mine but depending on your walls you’ll want to use the appropriate fashion. I particularly liked using a frame because it creates a ledge for the chalk as well.
  7. Add chalk and child!

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!