A recent CBC news article said, “The practice of students endlessly copying letters and sentences from a chalkboard is a thing of the past. Teaching perfect strokes and proper curves in cursive writing is no longer at the top of a teacher’s lesson plan. With the advent of new technologies like tablets and smartphones, writing by hand has become something of a nostalgic skill.”
What do you think? What impact does technology have on children’s handwriting skills? Are our young children too busy playing with finger painting apps on their tablet devices to actually finger paint? And what about fine motor skill development – an essential element in successful handwriting?
No matter what your stance is on technology in the home school classroom, we’ve put together a list of common household objects that can be used to help develop fine motor skills. Many of these fun activities can be used for younger children who are just learning to write and also with older children.
Have your child pinch each “bubble” between the thumb and pointer finger. See who can make the loudest POP!
Younger children can practice putting the pins into an empty plastic milk gallon jug. Older children can attach the pins to pieces of fabric and blankets or pin art projects to a clothes line.
Scissors (if age appropriate)
Draw lines on pieces of construction paper and have your child cut on the lines. Start with straight lines and then move on to more complex, curvy lines.
Ice cube trays
Sort small objects like colored beads, pieces of dried pasta, or colored paper clips into the various sections of the ice cube tray. This not only develops small motor skills, but also helps with beginning math skills.
Clay and play dough
Make your own dough using kitchen ingredients or purchase pre-made products in an arts and crafts store. Create animal shapes or mold the clay into your favorite characters. Use tools such as a small rolling pin, non-serrated plastic knives, and cookie cutters to shape the dough.
Give your child a single hole punch and have him punch small circles into pieces of colored paper. Use the small circles to create a fun and colorful art project.
Gather some spare change and have your child put each coin into a container with a small slot. Piggy banks are great, but you can also be creative by cutting a coin slot into the lid of a plastic container. Empty yogurt containers and coffee cans are great for this. Have your child decorate the outside of the container with markers.
Give your child a small eyedropper and two bowls. Fill one bowl with a small amount of water and have your child use the dropper to transfer the water from one bowl to the other. Add some food coloring for extra fun!
Save your newspapers or paper grocery bags and have your child rip them to shreds! Ripping paper is great for fine motor development and it’s a great stress reliever. Collect the bits of ripped paper for a paper mache’ project.
Use plastic (younger children) or metal (older children) tweezers to transfer cotton balls or small pieces of cereal from one bowl to another. Make it a game! Who can transfer the most items before the second hand gets back to 12?
Do you have any suggestions for other activities to develop fine motor skills? Share them in the comments below!