Our Favorite Fine Motor Activities of 2014

fine motor activities

I try to work in activities with some element of fine motor work every day. It’s not hard when you have a child who loves to draw and color but when you don’t you might need to get a little more crafty. Fine motor work is important for many daily activities like writing, tying shoes, and eventually typing too. In the short term it’s also important for getting dressed and other tasks that help kids feel independent. What I am trying to say is that these skills are important so working on developing and fine tuning them is worth your time.

Here are the posts that we think are the very best fine motor activities of 2014.

cutting station

This is one of our most popular posts of 2014 and for good reason, it’s easy to do, fun , and functional. My daughter’s been using our Cutting Station for months and it’s found a permanent spot in our playroom.

fine motor activities

Simple is important because if an activity is simple parents will do it with their kids and teachers can throw it into a lesson plan no problem. That is why I LOVE this simple idea from Sugar Aunts.  Check out their Feather Beading here.

fine motor activities

Our Halloween Lego Challenge was a huge hit. You may not be making vampires and pumpkins for a while but this post can still inspire you to make your own Lego Challenge with any theme.

fine motor activity

Are you seeing a theme with these posts? I love simple activities and this one from Hands On As We Grow is no exception. This easy Fine Motor Activity will keep your kids busy while working on their skills.

lego fine motor

Use your kid’s Duplo for these super fun Lego Fine Motor Activities from Fun At Home With Kids.

fine motor activities

This Sticker Station is another fine motor activity I shared this year that was such a hit with my preschooler that we still use it months later.

fine motor activities

Why not use up those caps you can’t recycle for a little fun fine motor activity? This Plastic Cap Water Play from Fantastic Fun and Learning is a great little idea that kids will love.

fine motor activities

These little Dotted Snowflakes don’t look like much but the highlighters on the foam almost glowed. My daughter was in heaven and carefully dotting them was great practice for writing. She had to carefully hold the highlighters with a proper grip.

fine motor activities

This Zipper Board  from Laughing Kids Learn caught my eye on Pinterest and I added it to my Fine Motor board immediately. Now I am adding it to my favorite posts of 2014!

threading for toddlers

Imagination Tree wrote this lovely tutorial for Toddler Threading & Beading.
fine motor activities
For kids a little older than toddlers they can use twigs and beads to make these rad Fairy Wands! They will be having so much fun they won’t know they are working on some serious fine motor skills.

 

 

Bead Heart Wands – Valentine’s Day Craft

bead heart valentine's day craft for kidsI can’t tell you how many wands we have in our house because I have honestly lost count. We have princess wands, fairy wands, fairy-princess wands…. so despite the fact that we have a ton my daughter wanted to make one for Valentine’s day and this is what I can up with. I have been wanting to work on her fine motor skills and patience all at once and beading is a great way to do that. Now that she is 3.5 I am using smaller beads that force her to work harder threading them on. Challenging your children is tricky because there is a tiny sweet spot where they are facing that challenge but not getting overwhelmed by it. Pay close attention and try to learn their signals – are they feeling challenged or frustrated? This Valentine’s day craft is great because you can make a big heart if they are into beading or a smaller one if they are done after a few challenging minutes.

Gather your materials. You will need a wood dowel, pipe cleaner , and tri-beads in your choice of color. My daughter’s choice was pink. Not a shock if you know her. We also used red glitter glue. Also when I am doing a beading activity with little beads I like to use a cookie tray to contain everything. bead heart valentine's day craft

Start by threading the beads on the pipe cleaner. heart wand valentine's day activity for kids

Look at that concentration!

heart wand craft for valentines day One of the things that seems to motivate a lot of young kids when they are doing something challenging is to have a support person ( adult or older sibling even) doing it along side them. I didn’t tell my daughter what to do but she could look to me as a guide without having to ask for help. So I made one too!

If you get bored of the colors you have get some new ones. I was surprised to see she threaded on a bunch of orange ones. Perhaps the pink monopoly in our house is nearing it’s end?

When all the beads are on bend it into a heart and twist the ends together snuggly. beaded heart fairy wands for valentine's day

Hand your child the glitter glue and let them decorate the dowel. Prepare them for the dribbles. They don’t know it but this careful application is working on their eye hand coordination! fine motor bead wands for valentine's day

Wrap the ends of the pipe cleaner around the dowel when it’s dry. I tucked one end along the dowel and wrapped the other around it then tied them and wrapped until all the pipe cleaner was wrapped tightly around it. Give it a shake test before passing it back to your little Valentine. heart wand valentines

Play. This was the best picture I could get because that girl moves fast. valentine's day fairy wand

 

 

 

Felt Leaf Letter Match – Alphabet Activity

fall letter activityThis simple alphabet activity has many layers of exploration for our little ones. The soft felt leaves and hard clothes pins offer contrasting textures, opening and closing the clothes pins helps build hand strength, and of course there is letter recognition as well. Not bad for $3 in supplies from the dollar store. This is part of our Alphabet For Starters Series which aims to introduce and play with letters in fun dynamic ways.

Gather your materials. You will need some felt leaves ( I got mine at Dollar Tree ), a pen, and clothes pins. I also used my favorite little crates . leaf letter match letter recognition 3

Write the uppercase letters on the felt. I just used a regular old pen. I had to wipe the tip a few times but it worked great otherwise.leaf letter recognition activity for preschool

Write the lowercase letters on the clothes pins.leaf letter recognition for kids

Time to match. leaf letter match with clothes pinsWith younger children don’t just throw the whole alphabet to them. Give them 5 – 10 letters and then add more as needed. 10 was the perfect number for my daughter who is just 3. The act of matching the different forms of the letters was a bit of a challenge but if she would have had to dig through all 26 letters to find one she would have tired of this much sooner. Offer all 26 for older more experienced letter matchers.Leaf letter matching game for kids

Later in the day we played a game with the leaves and clothes pins. She would choose a clothes pin and tell me what letter it was then I would offer her a littler that did not match and say ” This is the match right?” She would say ” No! That is the letter XYZ.” until I offered her the correct leaf and she would cheer and clip it. She thought it was very funny to correct Mama. I also plan to use these letters for a indoor leaf hunt later this week. leaf letter match game for preschool

Don’t forget to use this activity as a conversation starter to talk about the leaves in the trees around your house. Are they changing yet? Talk about why and pop outside to have a look.

 

Fall Alphabet Books

t is for touchdown

T is for Touchdown: A Football Alphabet by Brad Herzog is a beautiful book that will delight even those of us who are never happy to see football season start. I admit even being an anti fan this book was fun and really full of information that even a football scrooge like myself can appreciate. Also it’s easy to read simply the letters and look at the pictures for little ones and has genuinely interesting blurbs for each page for older children.

Autumn Books

 Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur is a lovely book that is also a wonderful introduction into this form of poetry for young children. Each page has a poem about the season, from Acorns, to Owls to Pumpkins. Each letter of the words are a jumping off point for a sentence in the poem. The beauty of this book is that it reads well traditionally as well as individual poems which really makes it two books in one.

patty's pumpkin patch

Patty’s Pumpkin Patch  by Teri Sloat is a great alphabet book and story in one. Readers follow a pumpkin patch from planting the seeds until after Halloween when they gather the seeds for the next planting.  I really like how this book combines an alphabet book with both upper and lowercase letters corresponding to some animal or insect in the story . I also like the easy rhythm of the rhyming text and the engaging and detailed illustrations . All in all I think this is a great fall book.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Spelling With Nuts & Bolts

spelling activity for kindergartenThis is not something I thought up at all. This idea has been around for ages but when my husband had to run to Home Depot for something else I asked him to grab us some nuts and bolts. If you are a regular reader you may know that I am forever trying to get my son to work on his fine motor skills. The way I approach this is to mix them with a task he really likes and excels at. For him that is anything language related like reading or spelling. There are way fancier tutorials out there but I am a busy mom so I needed to make this activity quickly . It’s bare bones but it works.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need bolts, nuts and a sharpie. A fine tip one would be best but mine was dried out and I’d already told my son we were doing a project so I used my huge one. Also my nuts and bolts are matte not glossy which makes the sharpie stay on better. Please test yours out to make sure it adheres before playing. nuts and bolts spelling activity for kids
  2. Write out simple CVC ( consonant vowel consonant) words on the end of the bolt. We did cat, rug, tub, top, jar and bug. This could easily be adapted for younger children by writing uppercase letters on the bolt and matching lowercase ones on the bolts. nuts and bolts spelling words
  3. Write the letters on the bolt. You can chose to only use a handful of bolts and make your child take them off one bolt to use on another word or make multiple copies of the same letter on different nuts. I decided only one copy of each letter because I was trying my hardest to get my son to work his fingers putting the nuts on and off.
  4. Invite your word builder and go for it. nuts and bolts kindergarten spellingThe first thing he said to me was ‘ How about we do this together. I will do the spelling, find the letters and you can screw them on. ” Nice try buddy. No. Don’t forget to put the letters on right side up. You must pay attention to which way they are on or your bug will look like bng … my son had to unscrew , flip it and screw it back on. nuts and bolts
  5. Soon he had the hang of it and I felt good knowing he was working on his fine motor skills. He told me the words were too easy so I am going to get longer bolts and give him a bigger challenge soon. nuts and bolts 3

After he was done his sister decided she wanted to try. This was really tricky ( near impossible) for her which means you will see some preschool fine motor posts in the near future! If you want to see more check this round up of fine motor activities out. Nuts and bolts spelling

 

Q-Tip Painted Easter Eggs {Fine Motor & Art}

q-tip painted easter egg fine motor craft for toddlersTime is not in abundance here. It seems like after getting kids where they need to be, food in our fridge, clean clothes and floors there is not as much time as I thought there would be.  That is why I love activities like this Easter egg craft that work on developing a skill like fine or gross motor skills as well as teaches a lesson and gives my daughter free reign on how the craft will look. Most arts and craft projects have some fine motor work but using q-tips amps it up when time is short. Creativity, art lesson and fine motor. All in about 8 minutes. Toddlers don’t sit long, they aren’t meant to so don’t force them to. Keep things short sweet and packed full of learning disguised as play.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper ( like paper plates), paint ( any colors but you must include white), some containers or tray like an ice cube tray to mix the paint and q tips. q-tip easter egg painting for kids
  2. Start by cutting out your eggs.q-tip easter egg craft
  3. Next pour some paint in your tray. Talk about the colors. Add white to each color and have your child mix the paint. q-tip easter egg painting craft for kidsWhat happened to the color? This is a basic lesson on tints. As kids learn their colors the next step is to see the differentiation and results of color mixing. I love adding white to make lighter tints of the same colors. This is especially great with toddlers who insist on only ever using 1-2 of their favorite colors. Since doing this activity late last week my daughter has been evaluating colors in our house ” Dat light gween Mama, not dark gween.” it’s pretty fun to see her put her new knowledge to work.q-tip easter egg for preschool
  4. After all the tints have been mixed pour a little more of the original color in an adjacent container or slot in the tray. Make note of the difference. Ask your child which tint of each pair they like the best. As you can see she chose light pink. qtip painting for easter
  5. Time to paint. q-tip painting for easterThis has no desired result other than exploration. Let your child explore how the q-tip makes marks on their egg. They will naturally be holding the q-tip in a pincer grasp and controlling it will be giving their fine motor skills a good work out.easter egg craft for kids fine motor
  6. She explored with dots and stripes.qtip Easter egg craft for toddlers
  7. I started making a polka dot one too and after she finished her two eggs she joined me in covering mine with dots. Let dry and if you want use as little Easter cards for loved ones. As soon as her’s were dry she gave them to her brother. Who thankfully was full of praise for her efforts. Kids love giving away their art so if you find yourself drowning in it start sending it to loved ones who will no doubt love it.q-tip easter egg fine motor

 

For more about fine motor check out this Google+ Spring Into Education chat ( you might recognize a face or two)