Guest post by Director of Lower School Admissions Mary Furrer:
How will you keep your little ones busy and entertained over the holiday break?
Fine motor skills are associated with the dexterity and coordination of the small muscles and movement of the hands and fingers. These skills are important for four and five year olds. There are many fun and engaging things you can do at home to help your children strengthen those muscles, which in turn will help with their academic, artistic, and athletic success in school.
Here are a few suggestions to incorporate learning and strengthening fine motor skills into your children’s days over the winter break:
- Lite Brites – Picking up the small pieces and placing them in the correct dots on the Lite Brite strengthen hand and finger muscles. This activity is also a great way to match the first letter of the color word to the correct color.
- Play-Doh – Play-Doh has always been a favorite for all children. Let your children push it flat, roll it, make things out of it, and put objects like beads and feathers in it.
- Stickers – Pick out all different stickers and let your children peel them and place them on paper or foam. Also, take pieces of paper and draw zigzag lines or write their name, and then have your children place the stickers on the drawings.
- Scissor Activities – Draw zigzag lines and have your children cut them. Draw large shapes such as circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles and have your children cut them out. Have your children glue down their shapes to make a picture. They can add details with markers and crayons.
- Beads – Give your children a bin of beads and have them string the beads on pipe cleaners or string. Tape one side of the pipe cleaner or string to the table to ensure it stays in place.
- Perler Beads – Children can make things out of Perler beads for hours. They love the colors and the different things they can create such as flowers, cars, food, and so much more. The picking out of the correct color and placing it on the board takes effort, time, and is the perfect fine motor activity for a cold day!
- Q-tips – Believe it or not, the effort it takes to dab a Q-tip in a cup of paint and then make dots on paper without smearing it around takes muscle control. The more colors and Q-tips the better.
- Shrinky Dinks – This is another favorite activity to focus on having your children color inside the lines. Kids love to watch their work shrink in the toaster after they have finished coloring. Just make sure the kids understand that they can’t use the toaster without an adult around.
- Building – Having items such as wooden blocks, Legos, and Magna-Tiles for kids to build with is another favorite activity. These toys help children use their imaginations, while also helping them to strengthen muscles.
- Free Coloring and Drawing – It is important that children have the opportunity to use their imaginations to free draw. Remind them that the shapes they know how to make can be used to create people, animals, structures, or any other object they want to design.
- Shaving Cream – This activity can be a little messy, but your kids will beg to do it again and again! Spray shaving cream on a baking dish and have your children play in the shaving cream making shapes and letters. Have them make a letter or a shape after you say it out loud.
These are just a few of the techniques we use with our youngest boys to help prepare them for success in school.
There is still time to learn more about all Gilman Lower School has to offer before the application deadline for the 2018-19 school year. Contact Danielle Moran for more information.
Whatever activities you choose over your winter break, we wish you the happiest of holidays and a bright 2018.