My four year old daughter was receiving Occupational Therapy for the development of fine motor skills due to her delays (premie). One day she saw colorful gum in a gumball machine. I put money in the machine and a little ball of gum dropped. Sarah delicately picked up the gum and stuck it in her mouth. I thought: She has enough fine motor skills to get what she wants! I couldn’t wait to tell her therapist who mildly chuckled and gave me many suggestions for fine motor skill development to do at home, none of which involved chewing gum.
Mommy with Selective Memory offered me this sweet video of her 18-month-old son putting pennies in a salt container. How cheap is this for an activity to develop fine motor skills? Little Buddy is 18 months and I am impressed with his dexterity and length of time spent on this project. But Katie is determined that her children learn through play. This activity lasted long enough for Katie to enjoy some time cleaning the kitchen.Whoppeee! But that is better than a child sitting in front of the television or hanging on your leg. A little breathing room is good for mommy and Buddy is developing a sense of independence.Of course, Buddy understands not to put the coins in his mouth. Little children still exploring objects with their mouth must be supervised. Children learn by exploring with their five senses, after all.
Other objects to put in a container could include beans, pasta, marbles, rocks, cotton balls, fluffy craft balls, little cards, or tokens from a favorite game - anything of interest to a child. You notice that Buddy is doing this activity in the kitchen and mom is also in the kitchen in case anything goes into his mouth.
A child could sort the objects before, and after, putting them in the container. You could also use plastic jars or shoe boxes with a slit in the lid for variation. Children love to decorate their personal boxes with stickers, washable paint, and their name so that Big Sis knows exactly whose treasure box it belongs to. Print their name on the box and guide them tracing over the letters with scented markers. Use different colors of crayons in tracing for a Rainbow effect. Only print the first letter of their name in a capital letter to help the kindergarten teacher. It is best to teach young children the lower case letters before upper case because reading is mostly in lower case.
Good activities give children a sense of accomplishment, make them happy, and build self-esteem, thus fewer behavior problems occur. Children have short attention spans but will play/learn longer with objects that are interesting to them, fun to do, and with lots of praise or rewards.
For more information on Fine Motor Skills and video click
Pouring Sand Video
Pouring Sand Video
or for a list of activities and skills click Mommy with Selective Memory
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