Here is another fine motor activity that is great for toddlers and preschoolers. They especially love this activity because they enjoy eating the Cheerios afterwards.
Just incase you missed my last post, Golf Tees and Marbles, I wanted to repost that fine motor skills, are skills that require control of small muscles in the hands, and are essential for performing everyday tasks. Many of your child’s daily activities, like writing with a pencil, eating with a fork, cutting with scissors, opening lunch boxes, buttoning their pants, etc. require the use of these small muscles.
Fine motor exercises help develop coordination of small muscle movements in wrists and fingers. They build up strength and assist with hand-eye coordination. There are also lots of creative and playful activities for kids that can target hand muscle strength.
-Play dough (the best play dough recipe)
-Spaghetti Noodles (dry)
-Containers for cheerios
First I showed the children how to shape their play dough. Let them do this, because play dough is a wonderful fine motor exercise. Their’s will not look as perfect, but it’s okay as long as it does it’s purpose, which is to hold up the dry spaghetti noodles.
Next, have the children put a couple of dry spaghetti noodles into the play dough. A lot of Cheerios can go onto one spaghetti noodle…so they only need a few.
Make sure you have a bowl of cheerios on hand…and then grab a Cheerio and thread it onto the spaghetti.
As you can see the child is using her pincer grip. During the toddler/preschool age, you want to support the refinement of the pincer grip with integrated opportunities to use the grip, with activities such as this one.
What is the pincer grip? It’s the coordination of your index finger and thumb. Because we don’t want the challenge of holding a pencil to interfere with what the child wants to create with that pencil, we want to provide ample opportunities to build the muscles of the hand the child will need to manage a pencil, long before they formally start writing lessons.
If you want to incorporate math into this as well for preschoolers…I would recommend shortening the spaghetti noodle a bit so they don’t have to count beyond their counting capabilities.
Another version would be to use Fruit Loops instead of Cheerios so they can color sort the cereal.
My students thought the best part was munching on the Cheerios during and after the activity.