"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Saturday, March 12, 2011

fine motor development kit

In our recent research into Sensory Processing Disorder, one of the components/red flags that we keep reading about again and again is a deficiency in fine motor coordination. While Evan excels at fine motor dexterity, especially when it comes to the manipulation of little things (Playmobile toys, small truck parts, etc.) his fine motor coordination in terms of hand strength could use some development.

Without developing this strength, he will be unable to master the skill of writing, WHICH, by the way, isn't acheived by most children until the age of SIX AND A HALF, despite what Kindergarten teachers would lead you to believe (remember, I'm a former kindergarten teacher. I know, too well, the sometimes unfairly high expectations we hold these little kids to.). So even though he *shouldn't* have to be able to write until he is in first grade, the reality is that he *will* need to write in Kindergarten--the FIRST DAY of Kindergarten, and before. So, in an effort to give him the tools he needs to succeed without pushing him too far, too fast, I've put together a Fine Motor Development Kit filled with activities that strengthen these fine motor skills in a fun and non-writing way.

Lacing Cards
You can buy these anywhere. I had a set in my kindergarten classroom that I found at the dollar store. I made these. I printed out half-sheet-sized images on heavy-weight cardstock (my pictures are from my collection of Sara Kate Kids designs that I already had on the computer. You can use clip-art.) and cut them out with a wide border around the image. I covered them with contact paper on both sides to give them an almost laminated quality.

Using a hole-puncher, I punched holes, about every inch or so, around the edge of the image. Doesn't have to be exact.
I loosely measured the string by stretching it around the perimeter of the image and adding five inches or so before cutting. I taped one end to the back of the card and wound tape around the loose end to prevent fraying.

Play Doh
Play Doh all by itself is great for developing fine motor skills and hand strength, but I adapted it to mimic an activity I've seen in many preschool classrooms--I added beads and tweezers (I used large, play tweezers, but regular ones would work, too).
It gives the kids a concrete task--to use the tweezers to remove the beads from the Play Doh--and gives them an additional tool to manipulate.

Beads and Pipe Cleaners
This is another lacing activity, but it requires the little hand to hold those little beads straight and steady. Pipe cleaners are a good first step to stringing beads...because they are stiff, it's easier to put the beads on pipe cleaners than it is to put beads on string. Also, the pipe cleaner holds on to the beads once they're on, so you don't have to worry about the frustration factor of beads slipping off the string.

Hole Punchers and Silly Scissors
This one is self-explanatory...it aids in proper hand formation around the tools as well as strength training.

Spray Bottles
We use spray bottles outside all the time to "paint" the driveway/lattice/deck. I thought that these travel-sized spray bottles would make cool spray art with just water and construction paper...
It worked!

Lesson Learned:
Just don't call it a Fine Motor Development Kit. That makes it totally lame.

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