fine motor

Stringing Beads: 3 levels of Difficulty

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Stringing beads is a great activity to help young ones strengthen fine motor skills.  The task of stringing beads takes both hands working together.  It is not always easy, but today I am going to share with you three stringing activities based on levels of difficulty.  My kiddos loving stringing beads and I love how we can also incorporate other great skills along with the fine motor practice.

beading preschool

Beginning Stringing

beginning stringing

Needed: Small rope and pool noodles (sliced into equal sized pieces)

If your tot is too young for the small beads that usually accompany stringing, then try this!  Take a pool noodle and slice it into small discs (a electric knife works wonders).  Tie one of the pool noodle beads onto the end of a thin piece of rope.  Now your young one can practice beading without all the small beads.  Plus, since these 'beads' are larger, it makes the task less challenging.  Which is great for one year olds.

Intermediate Stringing

stringing preschool

Needed: Large beads, chenille stems and a shoe string

Once you feel that your tot is ready for a more challenging stringing activity than grab the materials listed above and get stringing!  Starting with a chenille stem, or pipe cleaner makes stringing beads a little easier.  Since the stem has wire in it, it doesn't fold over on it's self the way that string does.  To get the beads to stay on the pipe cleaner, just bend one end over.  After your child masters stringing on a chenille stem move to beading onto a shoe string.  Shoe strings are good because they already have plastic pieces on the end.  Making it easier to bead and there is no frustration with fraying of the string.

Advanced Stringing

stringing and lacing

Needed: Buttons, Shoe Laces, Small beads and String

To take a step up from traditional stringing, have your child try to lace buttons with shoe laces.  The buttons in the picture above are from a lacing set.  Having two holes to string through makes it a more challenging activity.

Beading is a fun activity for older children too.   Make stringing an advanced activity by getting smaller beads and smaller string.  Taping off the ends of the string may help keep frustration of fraying string at bay.

Additional Activities to Accompany Stringing

-pattern based on color or shape

-count the beads that are strung

-spell out names and words with letter beads

-sorting beads by color prior to stringing

Do your child do a lot of stringing too? 

Build a Miniature Zoo- Toddler Activity

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I love watching my little ones pretend.  Heck, I like to pretend too, right along with them.  It amazes me the creativity that oozes out of them when given simple play materials.  I have realized how the world takes the imagination right out of adults.  We are so programmed to think that things are just what they are.  For example-  blocks are just blocks.  But, to an imaginative child, a block can become a ramp for a car, a piece of pretend food or rocks for a dumptruck.  Pretending allows our children to grow their imaginations!

build a mini zoo

Recently, little man and I got out our foam blocks and animals.  We pretended we were building a miniture zoo.  Each animal needed their own cage, just like at our real zoo.  So, we worked together to build the zoo and add the animals.  Little man made animal sounds as he made the animals walk into the cage, then he closed the gate (with a long block).  We had quite a few animals, so our zoo got pretty big!  We even created a big pool out of the blue blocks for the sharks!

build a miniature zoo

While pretending was the main focus of this activity, little man also practiced:

-Sorting like animals

-Properties of building (little blocks don't always support big long blocks)

-Animal Sounds

-Fine Motor Skills

-Sharing (when sis came along and wanted to play too)

Have you ever built a Miniature Zoo?

Shaving Cream & Cars

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My little guy just turned two in February (boy does time fly!).   He could not be more obsessed with sports balls, cars and construction.  Being the mother of a son is SO much different than this age with my daughter!So, when I whipped out the shaving cream he was super excited.  But, when I added toy cars to the mix, that was just a whole new level of FUN! shaving cream and cars Collage He drove the cars slowly through the shaving cream, watching the cars’ wheels make a track.  Don’t you just wonder what they are thinking when they are playing with such intention? He was busy at this for at least 15 minutes. So, if you have a little guy or gal that loves cars and making a mess… try this out!  It takes literally no prep and the clean up isn’t tooooo bad ;)  It is all worth it for the fun!

Homemade Games- Fine Motor

Don't you just love homemade?  Toys can be SO expensive and I have found that the time it takes for children grow out of them is too quick!  For the next 2 weeks I will be sharing some homemade games I have created for my tot.  Please feel free to link up your homemade games with the McLinky below. Check out these fine motor games that you can make at home for your Tot.

Parmesan Can and Crayons/Straws

Save your old parmesan cans!  The small holes are great for putting crayons or cut up straws through.  This is great for helping your child's hands and eyes to work together.  Take a parm. can while out to dinner and use resturant crayons to keep your little one busy while waiting on food!

Straws in a bottle

Water bottles, gatorade bottles and pop bottles are the easiest way to make a fine motor game for your little one!  Add cut up straws and your little one will have tons of full filling and dumping.

Milk Jug Fun

Half gallon milk jugs work best, but a gallon would work too!  Give your child clothespins (the non-pinching kind) or foam hair rollers (with the platic piece taken off)  to put through the hole of the milk jug.

Spaghetti Noodles

Punch holes in the lid (plastic lid) of a container. I used a Gerber container.  Give your child different lengths of broken dry spaghetti noodles. Encourage your child to place the noodles through the holes.  It takes well practiced fine motor muscles!

Clink!

Use an old can: I use a formula can, but you could also use a Pringles can, or a coffee can.  Cut a slit in the plastic lid.  Collect juice can lids, baby food jar lids or large fake money (like you find around St. Patricks Day). Cut the slit to fit the type of manipulative you are using. Encourage your child to put the manipulative through the slit.  Once he or she becomes confident, turn the can (facing the slit in another direction).  Allow your child to problem solve to get the manipulative through the hole!

PLEASE NOTE:  Many of the items described in this post have small parts and may not be acceptable for very small children.  Please supervise your child closely when doing any of the above mentioned activities.

Feel free to share your wonderful ideas through the McLinky below.

COME BACK on Friday when more games will be shared!

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