Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Homemade Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers

I love finding new ideas for toddler engaging activities. Read below to get details on my new activities.

What do I mean by “fine motor?” Fine motor skills are tasks that utilize the small muscles of the body like those in the fingers. Toddlers at around a year of age are usually able to perform fine motor skills like holding a cup, grasping a spoon, picking up chunks of food and putting small objects into a larger container. Usually at this age, there is not that much involvement of the thumb.

As your child develops closer to the age of two years, his fine motor skills will increase. These skills include tasks like
drawing with a crayon, using a fork or spoon with more precision and stacking small objects like blocks.

Closer to three and four years of age, children begin to master fine motor skills like zipping, snapping, buttoning clothing. In addition, drawing and writing skills show marked improvements.

Here are some new fine motor activities I introduced to my child care program:

“Pokie Pipe Cleaners”
   Find a regular household colander that has plenty of holes to poke through
   Any color pipe cleaners cut to about 3 or 4 inches each will do. 6 to 8 pieces for each child was plenty.

Demonstrate with your toddler what he can do with the pipe cleaners by poking them through the different holes. Once he gets the idea let him use his imagination with it.

“Tubular Pom Pom Game”
   a paper towel tube for each child (or toilet paper tube)
   masking tape or painters tape
   pom poms 6 to 8 any color
   a large plastic bowl
Tape the tube to a wall at the toddler’s chest level. Place the bowl underneath the tube to catch the pom poms. Drop one pom pom at a time through the tube and watch it drop into the bowl. It only took me a couple of time demonstrating before this little one got excited. We even dropped pipe cleaners through the tube.

“Pom Pom Color Sorter” a friend of mine found this one on Pinterest and shared it on Facebook. An awesome way to engage toddlers while they learn their colors.

   One paper towel tube for each color
   Paints of each color or colored tape
   Douple-sided tape to fasten on backing
   Large poster board or cardboard
   Large or long container
   Pom poms of different colors 

Paint tubes each a different color or wrap the tubes with colored tape. Tape the colored tubes on the poster board spaced next to each other. Tape the poster with tubes on a wall at the toddler’s chest level. Fill the large container with an assortment of colored pom poms.

Demonstrate how you match the colors to the tubes. The picture below was from “Pinterest” and looks like they have different size tubes and different size pom poms. This can be a little challenging for toddlers; however, I could see how the different sizes would be fun for preschool age. If you want to keep it simple for toddlers, just stick to all the same sizes of tubes and pom poms.

“Sticky Art”
   Contact paper
   masking tape or painters tape
   items that can be pulled off and stuck on over and over again like; crape paper, small foam shapes, large beads, rubber bands, even plastic straws or whatever you can find around the house.

You can put this together on a table or on a wall. Wrap the contact paper (sticky side up) around the cardboard edges and tape to secure on the back side. Use masking or painters tape to tape the sticky cardboard onto a table or a wall at the toddler’s level. Make it secure (tight) so the pulling and sticking won’t loosen the board from the surface. Demonstrate how you can stick things on the sticky surface and how you can pull off as well. Let your little one take off with this.

“Window Painting”
   large or gallon size Ziploc bag
   any color or combination of paint (I usually use craft paint)
   any tape
   a window space

Fill the bag about ¼ full of paint
Seal the opening tight. Tape the edges to a window at the toddler’s level. Demonstrate how you can draw the paint up with your fingers. Let your little one take over.

“Feed The Alphabet Monster”

·         1 plastic baby wipe container
·         Bottle caps for each letter any color
·         1” stickers or any labels cut in 1” circles

·         1 Sharpie marker
·         Bright color construction paper
·         Glue or double tape
·         scissors

Collect these supplies as used in your house. You can use any label stickers precut or cut on your own in 1” circles. White is preferable to see the letters written. Peel the labels and stick one on each bottle cap. Write one letter (capital or lower case) on each label. Create monster eyes with two additional stickers and marker. Add the eyes to the flap bottom of wipie container. Create monster teeth with construction paper and glue or double tape. Cut paper to size of front container and cut teeth in zigzag fashion and glue or tape to front of contain like picture.
Demonstrate how you can have fun with this. Shout out the letters as you push them through the “Monster’s mouth”. This can also turn into a color game as you shout out the colors while pushing the bottle cap through the mouth.


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