I love seeing innovation in preschool classrooms, elaborate learning provocations, and invitations to play but simplicity is important in preschool as well. Finding simple activities for your classroom seems to be harder and harder as we share the amazing much more than the mundane. That said, these ideas aren’t mundane for our students, or for new teachers who are looking for tried and true ideas as they find their teaching legs. So I thought today, instead of a “great new idea” I would share the tried and true instead. These are fine motor activities I have used for decades and still use because they work.
Why are fine motor skills important?
Fine motor activities are so important in preschool because as children develop these skills and strength in their hands and fingers, they will not only have a simpler time learning to write these skills but also help them to master things like using eating utensils, buttoning their pants, and zipping up their coats. So as you can imagine these are important skills and as teachers, we don’t have time to reinvent the wheel with elaborate activities when we need to be incorporating these activities every day. So here is a big list of simple ideas you can do with little planning!
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1. Playdough – add in some buttons to dig out, scissors to cut, and garlic presses for extra fun but don’t fret, if all you have is plain playdough, you will still be helping your students develop hand strength and fine motor skills.
2. Lego – Try popping a handful on a tray or better yet this simple game only takes a few minutes to throw together, but it’s so much fun! Lego is the crown jewel of all fine motor activities.
3. Stickers – on cards, paper, or my favorite a sticker station!
4. Beading with beads or with cereal – I love my bead tray ( pictured above) but using simple pipe cleaners, and O cereal is a great way to make magic wands or bracelets.
5. Turn anything into fine motor activities with tongs. Using tongs with sorting and matching activities – adding tongs is a great way to up the challenge for simple sorting. Find my favorite tongs here.
6. Lacing cards – I love these ones.
7. Pipe cleaners and this utensil holder from Ikea or a strainer.
8. Q-Tip Painting – all you need is paint and paper… oh and some q-tips.
9. Water Transfer – Grab some pipettes and an ice cube tray, and you are all set.
10. Cutting Station – this takes a few minutes to make but then all you need to do is add scrap paper, and you can use this for years.