February 8, 2011

My Little Strugglers: Fine Motor Fun


Yesterday we covered the fun of playdough in getting those little fingers ready for writing. We're strengthening those hands and they aren't ready yet! Nary a pencil in sight we have begun to tackle the joys of fine motor skills--and they can be fun! At this point I'd discovered that there was a lot to be said for some of the Montessori methods of preparing for writing. 

We started with tongs and sorting. They used those tongs to squeeze (much like squeezing playdough) to sort the bobbins in the picture. Their dexterity had not yet been developed enough to use the tongs in a "pencil type" fashion that most use when attempting to dish out a salad or other foods. Squeezing is where we started and would stay for a while.

 In conjunction with a fist squeeze we added in pinching. My goal was to put the two together to strengthen different muscle groups in the hands.
 He started with two hands... and with a small demonstration from me he was able to:
Believe it or not, this was a HUGE milestone because it meant that his hands were, indeed, getting stronger! We were getting closer to that pencil-holding goal.

I was thankful for the tray on this one. There was no "fist-grabbing" motion going on here... it was PENCIL STYLE holding finally!

Just a tip here: In order to get colored rice just put some rice in a zip-loc bag and a few drops of food coloring. Shake it really well and voila! colored rice.

Secondary tip: If you have your children color the rice make sure the bag is sealed tightly. You can take that small gem from someone with the experience of trying to collect a ton of rice around the room and clean food coloring off of our wood table. Food coloring is hard to clean and we have very faint, but permanent, marks to prove it!

Lacing Activity:

You can make this or if you are adventurous you can assist your child in doing this:
  • Card Stock
  • Scissors.. I used the fancy scrapbooking ones because I had them
  • Hole Punch
  • Doily, if you like
  • Glue Stick
  • Rubber Stamp and Ink Pad
  • Shoe lace or cord

Can you tell at this point what time of year we decided it was time to try strengthening those hands? My only change I would make would be to laminate and then punch the holes but it did last the rest of the season. Again, more pinching, but also more focusing.

Up next...the dreaded pencil. See you tomorrow!


Stef said...

these are GREAT suggestions! My neighbor's son has a weak thumb muscle and (at 8yrs) he has such a hard time cutting, writing, etc. I am going to share this with her!


The Happy Housewife said...

Great tips! I wish I would have read this years ago when my first son was struggling!

I love the valentine heart, perfect for February.

Christine said...

Ooooh! Very Montessori-type activities! Love them! If you haven't been to the website Montessori Services I'd encourage you to check it out. They have tons of child-sized materials for just the type of activities you posted today.

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

You have so many terrific ideas!

Frances said...

My husband and I adopted our two youngest children( neice and nephew). Anyhoo, our younger daughter did many of these sorts of activities in occupational therapy for essential tremors.
She did not have the fine motor skills needed for holding things because of the shaking putting her at a disadvantage.