Is your child learning to write their name? One of the foundational skills of writing is being able to hold and control the pencil or pen. Giving your child opportunities to develop their fine motor skills (like pinching and manipulating objects in a pinch grip) is a great way to help your child practice their writing skills. The activities described below are inspired by the Montessori Method, have a quick and easy set up and clean up, require minimal adult involvement and can be done using things around your home! These activities will help develop your child’s fine motor skills and will keep them entertained.
Ice cube trays are perfect for sorting objects and transferring liquids. You can customize any of the following ideas with things you find around your home.
- Ice cube tray
- Small objects or liquid
- Fingers, tongs, tweezers, eye droppers, turkey basters or spoons
When you first introduce these activities to your child, you can have them start by simply using their fingers to pinch and sort objects into the different slots on the ice cube tray. Fill a bowl with different items, coins, beads etc. and have your child sort each of the objects from the bowl to the ice cube tray using their fingers. They can sort the objects by color, size or content. For example, maybe you have a random baggie of buttons in the back of a cabinet (you knew you would use them sometime right??). Fill a bowl with those buttons and decide with your child how you will be sorting them (e.g. by color, size, texture, shape, or number of holes in the button etc.). The smaller the object you choose, the trickier it will be for your child to pinch and transfer.
Using tongs, tweezers or spoons works the same way and gives your child a little added challenge. Start with something easier like using tweezers to sort fuzzy pom-pom balls and when your child is ready, move on to more challenging things, like tiny little perler beads! Encouraging your child to pinch one object at a time will not only help them maximize their fine motor skill development, it will also aid in their self-regulation skills (e.g. resisting the urge to take the bowl and dump all the objects out)!
If you are feeling brave, you can introduce liquid transferring. For this activity you can either fill a bowl with water, or fill half of the ice cube tray with water and have your child use an eye dropper, turkey baster or spoon to transfer the water from one place to the other. Using a plastic placemat, plate or tray under this will make for an easier clean up (minor spills are inevitable). Adding a little food coloring to the liquid can make things exciting! When working with liquid keep a sponge or rag on hand for your child to soak up the water as they play which will also help build their self-confidence skills.
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Text: © Kids In Transition to School 2022
Image: © Kids In Transition to School 2022