Trim The Tree Fine Motor Activity For Kids

christmas fine motor activity for kids We love playdough and this fine motor activity isn’t just a fun way to build and challenge fine motor skills it also naturally encourages counting, color recognition and or course pumping everyone up for Christmas. We had fun trimming our tree earlier this month and my daughter has been moving ornaments around so I knew she would be into a tree trimming themed activity. If you have Styrofoam from Christmas packages you could use that instead of playdough for the tree but we didn’t have any handy so we used this.

Gather your materials. You will need some mini ornaments ( these were found in Target’s dollar spot a few days ago), toothpicks, green and yellow playdough, a mat and a fun container for the ornaments. Trim the tree fine motor activity for kids

Start by making a tree with a star with the playdough. Kids can do this or you can.  I did it for my daughter. Make sure it’s thick enough to hold a toothpick upright.

Invite them to play. fine motor christmas tree activity for kids

Stick the toothpick in and add the ornament. fine motor trim christmas tree

Look at that concentration! fine motor winter activities

Keep going and from time to time stop and count to see how many you have added so far. fine motor playdough activity for kids

My daughter was interested in the metallic colors trying to decide which gold tone one was rally gold and what the other one was. She ended up calling one gold and one pink-gold. I thought that was pretty accurate. fine motor christmas activity for kids

I was so pleased with how well she took to this activity. She loved it.

When they are done let them be done, don’t push to add them all. As long as kids gave the activity a great go pushing them to do more more more will only end up in a negative feeling about these little skill building activities and can result in them refusing to give the next one a try. They will have lots of must do activities while they are older when they are little I like to be a fun buffet of ideas to try instead. Leave it out if it’s something they can do independently and let them return or not return to it at their leisure. I left this out for a few hours. She was done for good though, and that’s OK.

fine motor fun for kids

Fill In The Blank Spelling with Playdough

spelling for kids Learning After School is our series of short but important lessons that are big on fun and reinforce skills your kids are learning at school. They are designed not to feel like homework and if they do or if my son rates them too low ( yes he rates each and every activity we do here) I don’t post it .This simple CVC word activity lets kids explore spelling with playdough and did pass the test. I like using playdough because if you make a mistake it’s easy peasy to squish and try again.

When your kids or their teachers speak about CVC words these are the type of words they are talking about consonant- vowel- consonant.  These simple three letter words are a great place to start segmenting sounds and working on connecting known consonant sounds with various vowel sounds to create new words. This works on your child’s phonological awareness and differentiation of vowel sounds which can be a very big struggle for many kids. The playdough adds novelty which is great when you are doing activities that require practice and repetition. Here is what we did.

fill in the blank spelling supplies

Gather your materials. You will need some playdough and some letter stamps.

Divide your playdough into small mounds and flatten.fill in the blank spelling ready to play

Using your alphabet stamps stamp the first and third letters. Here are some ideas for you : c-p , b-d , m-p, w-n, j-r, f-n, r-g, h-m , c-t fill in the blank spelling for kids

Next give your child the stamps with the vowels on them and ask them to make words with them. If your child is new to this activity encourage adding any vowel and take time to help them sound it out and do not worry if they create combinations that aren’t real words. If kids are more experienced give them the challenge of only creating words that have meaning. Encourage them to try out different combinations and ask themselves if it makes sense. fill in the blank spelling for kindergarten

Squish the middle letter and try again. How many words can they create? For an even greater challenge offer them the consonant stamps and make whole new combinations of letters and words. fill in the blank spelling with playdough

For another playful way to work on spelling and boosting phonological awareness try this idea from an article I wrote for Scholastic Parent’s Raise A Reader blog and this word family playdough and letter stamp activity from I Can Teach My Child .

 

15 Playdough Activities & Recipes Too!

15 ways to play with playdoughThere is something so soothing about playdough. Some of my favorite memories from teaching were little conversations shared with students at the playdough table.  At our house we play with playdough so much that one of our kitchen drawers is filled with containers of it and fun stuff for my kids to add to the play. Below are some of my favorite playdough activities we have shared over the last 5 years here. I hope your kids have as much fun with it as we do.

Recipes for homemade playdoughand my favorite Gluten Free Playdough

Playdough Sculptures
Footprints In The Snow – Winter Playdough
Playdough Toy Prints
Playdough Battleground
Playdough Bakery Pretend Play
Explore Emotions with Mr. Playdough Face
Digging for Buttons in Playdough
Alphabet Playdough
Silly Hair – Playdough Play
Playdough Bugs
Drinking Straws + Playdough
Slicing Watermelon Playdough
Practicing Cutting With Playdough
Playdough Gingerbread Men
Playdough Earth

Watermelon Playdough Slicing

fine motor skillsPlaydough is a great fine motor activity without any bells or whistles but adding in small items like buttons, coins or beans is an easy way to make it even better. This playdough watermelon was easy to make and fun to play with and they didn’t even know I was helping them both develop their fine motor skills.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some pink and green playdough as well as some black beans and a plastic knife.fine motor skills
  2. Press the black beans into the pink playdough.
  3. Roll into a ball.
  4. Flatten the green dough and cut into a semi circle. Wrap around the pink on 3 sides.
  5. Slice. My son loved slicing and he could do it well. My daughter ( who had woken from nap to a very excited brother chattering about watermelon) was not as into the slicing from the big watermelon. I think maybe she wanted to do it herself and her “helper” wanted to help. Does this happen at your house too?
  6. She did like cutting the slices into wedges though.
  7. She also liked picking the “seeds” out , which is fabulous for fine motor development. Just watch if they are as little as she is that they get put in a dish not the mouth.

 

Playdough Play Mats – Silly Hairdos!

This sensory activity allows kids to use their imagination to give you or themselves a new hairdo with playdough. My toddler is a huge fan of playdough play and it’s great stuff for toddlers and preschoolers… but my 5 year old gets bored easily sometimes. It’s not essential we all play the same things but it’s nice to play and be silly together .It was inspired by this paint project from Putti Prapancha . Adapting it to playdough  allowed us all to sit and play together .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sheet protectors, some photos of faces that you can cut, playdough ( ours is store bought but homemade will work a-ok), a few sheets of construction paper, some scissors, painters tape, double stick tape and a garlic press.
  2. Start by cutting out the faces from some family pictures. Cut off the hair! playdough ideas
  3. Tape them onto the construction paper using double stick tape.
  4. Slip it into a page protector. I had to trim my construction paper to fit.Tape to the table with painter’s tape if you have a little one like my daughter who takes great pleasure in “clearing off” tables.
  5. Start playing. We used the garlic press, our hands and scissors to make the hair. preschool play dough stuff
  6. My daughter loved putting it on my face, apparently she wants me to have a goatee. Don’t worry about toddlers putting the hair in the “right” place, there is no “right” place.  Talk about who they are looking at , talk about how squishy the playdough is and ask if they have hair etc… no need to make it a battle of wills, this is supposed to be play, so let them explore.
  7. We rotated through the pictures taking turns ( another good lesson) .He loved mixing the colors in the garlic press.
  8. Squeezing it out.
  9. Adding it on. For some reason the concept of chest hair has been a big topic at our house – not something I was expecting until closer to puberty but ok. He added some on his sister and himself. Have fun with this.

Books About Families

Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman is one of those books that you read and think oh I love it, but will kids? I am here to tell you yes! They love this old Yiddish folk tale about a little boy, his very special blanket and his grandfather who made it for him. Over the years Joseph’s blanket transforms into a jacket, a vest, a tie, and handkerchief and finally a button. The story is beautiful and kids love not only the repetitive text when the grandfather is sewing but also the continuing storyline of the mice that live under the floor boards who use the scraps of material for all sorts of things. There are no goofy gimmicks, no lights or sounds just a great story and beautiful illustrations in this gem! A fantastic book about family and growing up.

All Kinds of Families! by Mary Ann Hoberman was not what my son or I expected at all. The story is really disjointed both connecting similar objects into families and talking about the generations of a family. I like  that it explains that there can be all sorts of families  and that it talks about how your family makes you into new things like a son, sister or cousin but I think mixing the two is too disconnected for the average picture book reading kid. To be honest it was a little disjointed for me too.  My son was ready for it to be over half way through and that is never a good sign. Usually by the time he’s asked if it’s over he’s tuned out. The illustrations were cute but even they didn’t save it for us.

The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family , it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher I really appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while they may not all look alike, all families are made with love. Great book , cute illustrations and children love it.

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