Category Archives: Coordination

Flower Lei

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IMG_5633Summer is coming! Warm weather, sun, sand, surf… The thought of the beach put me in the mood to make flower leis with the kids.

Fabric flowers.

Fabric flowers.

This is a very simple lacing activity using fabric flowers and cut up plastic drinking straws. I bought the flowers from Educational Experience, an online educational supply store. These flowers have little holes in the centre of each one, perfect for threading. You could also make your own fabric flowers from fabric scraps, or use paper/tissue paper for the flowers.

Threading flowers and straws.

Threading flowers and straws.

We cut pieces of yarn roughly a metre long, and tied a big knot in one end to prevent the flowers from slipping off. The kids alternated flowers and straws until they had filled their yarn up. I helped them tie the ends together to form a loop, and the leis were ready to wear.

The younger kids had some trouble keeping the plastic yarn needle on the yarn, so I tied the needle on for them. This allowed them to focus on the threading without the frustration of needing to re-thread the needle all the time. Once they were finished, we just cut the needle off and tied the ends together. The boys (who are only two) did very well with this activity, carefully threading their flowers and straws on. This is a great activity for fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and concentration. And it makes some lovely, bright leis for dressing up with!

 

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Counting Pom Poms

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IMG_8622I wrote numbers in the inside base of twelve muffin cases (numbers 1 to 12), and placed the muffin cases into our muffin trays. Then I asked A to place the correct number of pom poms into each muffin case. She used some big plastic tweezers and some scoop tweezers to pick up the pom poms and transfer them to the muffin cases.

The muffin cases numbered and set out.

The muffin cases numbered and set out.

The plastic tweezers.

The plastic tweezers.

For each muffin case I would ask A how many she needed to put in, and she would read the number out loud. She counted each pom pom as she went, and then re-counted them at the end to make sure she had them all right. As she went, I asked her to do some basic subtraction and addition to work out how many pom poms she had to get to reach the right number.

 

 

Scooping up some pom poms.

Scooping up some pom poms.

A liked practicing her numbers and it was fun using the tweezers. Some of the little pom poms were hard to pick up, and this was a good chance for her to practice her fine motor skills.

Placing a pom pom into the muffin case.

Placing a pom pom into the muffin case.

Using the tweezers to grab a pom pom.

Using the tweezers to grab a pom pom.

Melty Beads Bag Tags

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IMG_8173When L was a preschooler her teacher noticed that while she was advanced in many areas, her fine motor skills could use some improvement. The school gave me some ideas for things to practice with her to improve her fine motor skills to help improve her writing. One of their suggestions was melty beads, which I found under the brand name Hama Beads in Lincraft. These are little plastic ring-like beads that are placed on a peg board in the desired design and then the top is ironed to melt the beads together (with baking paper between the beads and the iron face to prevent the beads melting onto the iron!). Then once the beads cool down, the design can be removed from the peg board and displayed or used in whatever way one wishes. These melty beads were a huge hit with L. We have done many designs over the past couple of years, and it never seems to lose its appeal. Now A is also very interested in making designs with the melty beads.

L adding beads to her star peg board.

L adding beads to her star peg board.

Yesterday we used our melty beads to make some bag tags. A chose to make her bag tag in a heart shape, while L picked to use the star peg board. There are many different shaped peg boards available, and we only have a small selection. There are also lots of different coloured beads, which can be purchased as individual colours, or in various mixed packs. I have always bought  sets of mixed beads for variety, and L and A mostly like to place the coloured beads randomly onto their chosen shape.

A placing beads on her peg board.

A placing beads on her peg board.

As predicted, A made her two hearts in a completely random way, though L made some patterns on her stars. I wielded the iron as it is too dangerous for the kids to touch.

A's hearts.

A’s hearts.

L's stars.

L’s stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used a hot glue gun to attach a piece of ribbon to the back of one of the shapes to form a loop from which the tag could be hung. Continuing with the glue gun, I stuck the second shape back-to-back with the first shape, so that the ribbon was sandwiched between them. A’s two hearts went together nicely, and L asked to have her stars placed so that the points of one were between the points of the other. She thought this looked cool. The glue doesn’t take long to dry, so shortly after finishing the kids could attach their new tags to their bags.

We didn’t write their names on these tags, but they do help the kids to identify their own bag at school.

New bag tag hanging on A's backpack.

New bag tag hanging on A’s backpack.

L's new bag tag hanging from the handle of her backpack.

L’s new bag tag hanging from the handle of her backpack.

Foam Decorations

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Some 3D foam balls, sequins, seed beads, metal pins, paint and Christmas ribbon…. all the ingredients for some great bauble making craft.

My sequined ball...it did take patience to make, but it looks great.

My sequined ball…it did take patience to make, but it looks great.

I started making a bauble by placing a seed bead onto one of the pins, followed by a sequin, and then pushing the pin into the foam ball. I did this over and over to cover the ball. This was a bit too tricky for A to do, first she couldn’t get the seed bead onto the pin, then she dropped the sequin and the pin, and got a little frustrated with the whole project.

A's ribbon bauble.

A’s ribbon bauble.

So we tried for something a little simpler. For her first bauble we used three different Christmas ribbons, and wrapped them around the foam ball. I held the ribbon still while A secured each one with some of the pins. We continued to do this until the ball was covered in ribbons. I then tied a piece of thin silver thread to one of the pin heads (and glued it down)to hang it by. I think the result is quite nice, and it was much quicker and easier than the bauble I made with the sequins!

L working on her sequined bauble.

L working on her sequined bauble.

L also had a go at putting sequins and seed beads on a foam ball. She decided to place her pins randomly over the ball, rather than cover the whole thing because that would take too much time! As it was, she became tired of trying to get the tiny seed beads onto the pins after about a dozen or so. She wants to come back to hers later.

To make some more decorations, A painted another foam ball and a foam star with gold paint. Once the paint was dry she glued sequins randomly over the shapes. We added some Christmas ribbon to hang them up. These were much easier for her to complete on her own, and she was happy with the result.

A's painted star. The other side was red with sequins.

A’s painted star. The other side was red with sequins.

A's painted ball with some sequins.

A’s painted ball with some sequins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids loved hanging their own decorations up on the tree.

Dinosaur Dig

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Sporting some stylish eye protection.

Sporting some stylish eye protection.

Another of our purchases from Lincraft was a Dinosaur Dig Kit, including a sand block containing a dinosaur skeleton, some goggles, and some tools for excavating the bones. L loves dinosaurs, and she was super excited to get into a dig. Big L set her up at the table after A was in bed. He placed the block on a wooden board to minimise the mess. L donned the goggles, and got to work. She worked patiently and carefully, concentrating hard on her excavation. Using the mallet and peg, she dislodged some of the block to reveal a small section of bone. She was able to use the paintbrush to remove some of the dust from the protruding bones carefully.

 

Using the mallet.

Using the mallet.

The dig site shut when it was time for L to go to bed, and re-opened the following night. It took four or five nights for her to completely uncover the skeleton, which was in pieces.

Using the paintbrush to clean off the bones.

Using the paintbrush to clean off the bones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

She soaked the pieces in some water to loosen any sand that was left. She utilised a toothpick to clean out some of the grooves and holes on the skeleton. Once all the pieces were clean and dry, she assembled the skeleton to make her dinosaur.

Soaking the bones.

Soaking the bones.

Using a toothpick to scrape out some sand.

Using a toothpick to scrape out some sand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L really enjoyed the whole process of the dinosaur dig, and she definitely wants to try another one.

A girl happy with her dino.

A girl happy with her dino.

 

Counting with a Hole-punch

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Putting holes into paper with a hole-punch is almost as much fun as cutting paper into tiny pieces with the scissors… At least according to A. Both are good for her fine motor skills and coordination. Both have the potential for a huge amount of mess, which is very appealing to her , yet not quite so appealing for me! Using the hole-punch makes less mess as long as she doesn’t open the part where the little punched out circles collect… And we can use it for a simple counting activity.

We used a single hole-punch as it is easier for A to use. I cut up some paper and wrote numbers on each piece, then asked her to punch that amount of holes into the paper. Initially I left the sections together, but quickly realised she would need the sections separated to make it easier to punch the holes around the edges of the paper. So I cut the paper into separate pieces for each number. She really liked doing this activity. She carefully counted each hole to make sure she got the right number on each section of paper.

Once A had finished with the hole-punch, L used it to make lots of holes in a piece of scrap paper, just because it is fun 🙂

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