Tag Archives: fine motor skills

Sticker Names

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My preschooler has been learning to write his name. He already recognises his name when it is written, and he knows all of the letters. He can even write the letters quite well, yet putting them together is proving a little challenging!

Adding stickers to his name.

Adding stickers to his name.

To help him practice getting his letters in the right order, we tried this little activity. I drew the letters of his name in bubble writing, and then got him to fill in the letters using stickers (he is sticker crazy!). As he did this, we talked about the letters, and spelt his name aloud several times.

T1 really enjoyed making his sticker name. It’s up on the wall, and he has been going to it and reading the letters out to anyone who is nearby!

This activity could also be used for learning the spelling of any words.

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Sticker name.

 

You may also like Sticker Counting and Alphabet Stamping.

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Painting with Cotton Buds

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During a morning at playgroup the boys did some cute little paintings using cotton buds (also called q-tips or cotton tips). Later, we tried it at home.

Painting with a cotton bud.

Painting with a cotton bud.

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Paint on the tray.

I had cotton buds in the bathroom, so we got out enough to have one cotton bud for each paint colour. We put a blob of paint on a plastic take-away container lid, and the boys got started painting.

They had lots of fun spreading the paint with the cotton buds. After a while T1 also used his fingers to add some paint to his page, but mostly they stuck with the cotton buds.

Once they had finished, I threw the used cotton buds out, and washed off the paint trays. This was a cheap, simple and fun activity to do with my toddlers.

T2's painting.

T2’s painting.

T1's painting.

T1’s painting.

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!

 

Playdough

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Shapes cut out of the dough.

Shapes cut out of the dough.

My kids all love playing with playdough, it is fun and great for fine motor skills and creativity. The toddlers have even mostly stopped trying to eat it now! I prefer to make my own playdough as it is easy to make and cheaper than the store-bought products. I almost always have all the ingredients in the pantry too, so I can make it whenever we like.

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

I’ve always felt that the playdough recipe on the side of the cream of tartar tin makes the best playdough. It needs to be cooked, but it is smooth, soft and long lasting every time. We added blue food colouring for the colour and vanilla essence to make it smell nice. A helped me to stir it in the saucepan until it began to clump together, then we turned it out onto a cutting board and kneaded it for a couple of minutes to make sure it was nice and smooth.

Mixing all the ingredients in a saucepan.

Mixing all the ingredients in a saucepan.

Fresh blob of dough.

Fresh blob of dough.

Once the playdough was ready, the lids sat up at the table to use it. They moulded it with their hands, cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and rolled it into balls and snakes. T2 enjoyed just squishing it between his fingers, while L made people models. A and T1 made lots and lots of cut-outs. They also used some plastic scissors to cut the dough, rollings pins to flatten it, and plastic rollers to make patterns on the dough. Fun was had by all!

Making cut-outs.

Making cut-outs.

Squishing the dough.

Squishing the dough.

Using a roller in the dough.

Using a roller in the dough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we were finished, I stored the playdough in an airtight container in the pantry for next time.

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Green Sensory Tub

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After gathering some green items together, we sat down to our green sensory tub. We had some ribbons, pipe cleaners, bowls, spoons, a toy train and a toy truck, muffin case, wooden and plastic trees and some green toy bugs and snakes. The boys were both very interested in the toy train and toy truck, rolling them all over the tub and the floor. They touched the fuzzy pipe cleaner, and used the spoons to scoop up the bugs. T1 tried to wear one of the bowls as a hat. T2 crinkled the muffin case, and fluttered the ribbon about his head.

Scooping from the bowl.

Scooping from the bowl.

T2 had a lot of fun moving the snakes and bugs about, and using the spoons. He pretended to scoop food out of the bowls and eat it off the spoon. After a bit, T1 tossed all of our green items out of the tub and sat in the tub himself! We talked about the colour of his clothes, but he wasn’t wearing anything green! He liked repeating the word “green” after me, and finding things about the house that were also green.

Making the snake ride the truck.

Making the snake ride the truck.

 

Red Sensory Tub

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On a cold winter’s afternoon we pulled out our tub and filled it with red objects to create a sensory tub for the boys. We had some straws, toy trains and a firetruck, tongs, a funnel and cup, pom poms and mittens.

Going straight for the train!

Going straight for the train!

We explored the different textures of items within the tub. T1 kept putting the pom poms in his mouth, so I removed them before them could be swallowed! He also enjoyed touching the pipe cleaners and blowing through the straws. T2 liked the mittens, and rubbed them all over his face. He also tried putting them on his hands, and his feet.

Trying to pick up the train with the tongs.

Trying to pick up the train with the tongs.

They both loved playing with the trains and the firetruck. T2 tried to use the tongs to pick some of the other objects up, but without much success.

Making music.

Making music.

T1 used the funnel to make music by blowing through it like a horn. He also threaded one of the pipe cleaners through the funnel a number of times.

Throughout the fun, we talked about the colour red, and I encouraged them to say it. I pointed out other things around the room that were red, and asked them if they knew anything else that was red. They both became very excited when I started talking about red fruits, such as strawberries, apples and raspberries. We had to go for a snack after that!

Threading.

Threading.

 

Rainbow Sight Words

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IMG_3872A has just started kindergarten. To help her with her reading we have been learning sight words. To help her learn and retain these words, we like to do activities with the words, the same way we learn our spelling words.

IMG_3860This week we tried making rainbow words with the sight words. First I wrote each word in large letters on some paper, and then A traced over the letters with different coloured gel pens and pencils. She particularly liked using her sparkly gel pens! Markers, crayons and chalk also work well. A continued tracing over and over the word with different colours to form rainbow letters.

This is a great activity for practicing the letter shapes, learning the words and learning the spelling. It is fun too! IMG_3867

Felt Christmas Tree Decorations

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IMG_2659I was browsing in Riot Art & Craft the other day and we came across these little felt decoration kits. They looked like fun, so I bought two.

Sorted and ready to go.

Sorted and ready to go.

The circles came pre-punched in felt rectangles, so the kids popped them all out then put the scraps in the bin. Once we’d sorted the circles into piles of different sizes, I noticed that we were short a few circles, and the kids had to go and get them from the bin (luckily they were in a new bin bag so there wasn’t anything yucky in there!). We sorted the piles from biggest to smallest to make it easier to pick up the right sized circles.

Threading the felt circles.

Threading the felt circles.

We tied knots in the end of the silver string and threaded the plastic needles. Then the kids got to work, first adding the cylindrical bead for the tree trunk, and then the felt circles in descending order and finally the star bead. This was where it got a little tricky however, because then the instructions suggested making a loop and taking the thread back through the beads and circles to tie it off at the base where we started. I had to help the kids do this, and the star bead mostly popped off when we tried to tie the thread at the opposite end. The star was easy to thread back on, and then I added a knot above it to stop it slipping off again.

I have added a drop of craft glue to the bottom of the trunk bead and the top of the star bead to prevent the thread pulling through in the future. And I trimmed the end of the thread ready to hang on the Christmas tree.

L (7 years) found this an easy and enjoyable activity that she could complete herself. On the other hand, A (5 years), had more difficulties and required more help with tying the knots and getting the thread back through everything. Putting on the beads and felt circles was easy enough, but she kept letting the thread go, and she had trouble re-threading the needle. A made several trees with help, and still enjoyed it, but L could have done this as a solo activity.

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Cardboard Roll Trees

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Making play trees is quite easy using some simple materials, such as cardboard rolls, tissue paper and streamers. Using cardboard rolls of different length or width can make an even more interesting forest of play trees.

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We made four different trees to play animals and dinosaurs with.¬† A chose to make our play trees green because “trees are meant to be green mummy!”, but I think we could have made trees in other colours to play with. I like the idea of a magical forest of pink and purple trees to play with our fairies and unicorns!

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Strips of streamers.

Strips of streamers.

The first tree uses green streamers as the leaves. We had streamers in a few shades of green, so we used strips of each on our tree, but one colour would have been fine also.

The strips taped together.

The strips taped together.

We cut the streamers into strips, and laid them in a pile. Then A twisted the end of the pile together and used sticky tape to secure it. She placed the bundle of streamers into one end of a cardboard roll and taped it down. She fluffed out the streamers in all directions to create the top of the tree. A has been referring to this tree as her “jungle tree”.

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Taping on the tissue paper circle.

Taping on the tissue paper circle.

Adding more layers of tissue paper.

Adding more layers of tissue paper.

The second tree used tissue paper circles for the foliage. A placed a cardboard roll onto the centre of a circle of tissue paper and taped it down. Then she turned it up the right way and used a dot of glue in the centre of the tissue paper circle to attach another circle to the first, and then a third one on top of that. We used four or five pieces of tissue paper, but adding more would have made a puffier tree. Once the glue had dried, we were able to shape the tissue paper to create layers of foliage.

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A cut strip of paper.

A cut strip of paper.

The first leaf attached.

The first leaf attached.

The next tree has foliage made from sheets of green paper. We cut the paper into strips, and then placed small cuts into both sides of these strips to create leaves that A thought look like palm leaves. The key is not to cut right through the strip, though A had a little trouble with this and we ended up with a few short leaves! We left a section at one end of each leaf uncut, where we could attach each leaf to a cardboard roll. A taped the leaves to the outside of the roll, and then let the leaves flop outwards and down. This was her favourite tree.

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Putting the tissue paper into the cardboard roll.

Putting the tissue paper into the cardboard roll.

The last tree was the simplest of all. A loosely rolled one end of a sheet of tissue paper and inserted it into a cardboard roll. She used a piece of tape to secure it, and then scrunched and shaped the tissue paper into a ball shape to create the tree’s leaves. She added a few pieces of tape to keep the tissue paper attached to the cardboard roll.

A was very happy with her cardboard roll trees, and used them to create fun play scenes with her animal and dinosaur figurines.

A very happy girl with her new trees and her animals.

A very happy girl with her new trees and her animals.

Button Photo Frame

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The photo frame.

The photo frame.

Last week I picked up a cheap wooden photo frame from the local second hand shop. It was very plain, but in good condition. A jazzed it up for me using a selection of buttons from our button jar.

A spread all the buttons out on the table so that she could select the ones she wanted to use. In order to stick to the frame, the buttons needed to have a flat back. Then she added some glue and started sticking buttons all around the frame.

Gluing on buttons.

Gluing on buttons.

Once it was dry we put a photo of the kids with their great grandmother into the frame, and it is sitting on our dining table.