Fine Motor Activities To Do This Summer
Summer is a great time to help our child get prepared for kindergarten, or the next school year. But many parents aren’t certain what activities will be truly helpful for children. Before learning handwriting, children need to build a foundation of fine motor schools that will allow them to hold and manipulate writing tools comfortably. Children should be offered many different opportunities to build these skills in fun and interesting ways. Check out these kid-tested ideas.
Squeezing clothespins strengthens young children’s fine motor muscles and builds pencil grip. Your child can practice these movements while clipping pieces of clothing to a clothesline. You can use real clothes, or make the activity more child-sized by providing doll clothes or cutting down old pants or shirts using child-sized patterns.
Nuts and Bolts
Nuts and bolts that can be bought individually or in bulk at a hardware store. Kids will love using real tools just like a grown-up, and they will build up the muscles in their wrists, hands, and fingers as they twist small metal nuts onto the bolts.
Cut out cardboard in fun shapes and use a hole puncher to space holes every inch or so along the edge. Then, tie one end of a shoelace onto one of the holes and let your child work to lace the shoelace through the rest of the pattern.
Have your child draw a simple shape or outline, then trace the line with glue and follow the glue line with small objects such as beans, buttons, sequins, or beads. You can even have the child “write” his own name in the same way to learn the shape of the letters and create a unique work of art that he will want to hang onto. Squeezing the glue bottle and gripping the beans will help the child build their fine motor skills.
Tweezers And Seeds
Using tweezers to pick up small objects requires children to use the same fine motor muscles that they will need to hold a pencil or other writing tool. Mix up seeds or beans of a variety of sizes and colors and encourage your child to sort them into different cups. Do not feel the need to tell your child what should go where, instead, watch how they decide to categorize the seeds. Being able to notice different ways of sorting and classifying an object (for example, by size or by color) is an important cognitive skill.
Cut colored paper into long strips and have your child practice using scissors by cutting those longer pieces into smaller strips and squares. They can then pick up those small pieces and glue them onto paper to make mosaic art. In addition to reinforcing the fine motor pencil grip, this project also builds the different muscles required to hold and use scissors, and allows children to take apart and put together shapes, an important math skill.
Dot To Dot
You can draw dots to outline simple shapes on a piece of paper and have your child connect the dots with marker or pencil.
Most children are very intrigued by using non-traditional art materials, such as colorful craft sand. Children can spread or squeeze glue onto a piece of construction paper and cover it with sand that they pick up and pinch in order to hold and spread. It will require practice and patience to get a bright and colorful picture, but kids are often so fascinated by the process that they are willing to spend a lot of time working on it.
Kids can wrap up plastic insects with white yarn in a sort of a spider web. As soon as they finish they can unwrap them. It’s a helpful way to kids to learn about how insects behave in the real world, building science skills. Even for children who are not so interested in insects, they can wrap up baby dolls in blankets to practice with the same sort hand and finger motions.
Allow your child to pour small objects from one container to another. You can start with something somewhat large, such as dry popcorn kernels or beads, and then move on to sand or even water. Using containers of varying sizes will allow your child to gain an understanding of volume and compare objects in three-dimensional space, which will help them to feel more comfortable when these concepts come up in math classes at school.
Birds Eating Worms
You can cut the rope into small pieces to make worms. Place them on a dark square and children can use a clothespin as a bird’s beak to “eat” the worms.
Don’t forget about classic children’s toys like legos and play dough, which most kids will want to play with as often as possible. Remember that an activity does not have to be complicated to be helpful; it is usually very simple games and projects that children will want to repeat again and again as they get better with practice.