If you’re looking at adding in more fine motor activities to your kids’ days, my biggest suggestion would be to save everything! LOL 🙂 I am always saving items that would normally be recycled or trashed and re-purposing them for these activities.
For this fine motor tray I used a piece of Styrofoam that I’d saved from some packaging. I simply drew a picture of a fish on the Styrofoam using markers. Along the outline of the fish I added dots about every inch, so that Trevor had targets for sticking the cocktail forks. I placed the drawn Styrofoam fish on a tray with some plastic cocktail forks that I picked up at the Dollar Tree (you could also use toothpicks or even push pins).
Pushing the cocktail forks into the Styrofoam is a great fine motor exercise. Having targets for him to aim at helps with hand-eye coordination. You really could draw any picture you wanted to on the Styrofoam (or a word like I did here), but since we’re doing an Ocean Unit Study this summer, I kept it thematic to that.
What are your kids wanting to learn about this summer?
This isn’t a new idea, but it is a great one. Set up your kids with their own clothesline. It’s a wonderful way to work on fine motor skills, and have fun at the same time!
I strung up some twine in our playroom, and then provided Trevor with an invitation to hang up paper t-shirts with wooden clothespins.
I found these shirts as part of a teacher’s back-to-school packet on clearance for $1, but you could easily just make some yourself out of cardstock or construction paper.
I had to demonstrate to Trevor how to use both hands to hang up a shirt on the clothesline, but after that he only needed a little verbal prompting. I was very impressed with how well he did with this!
What is your favorite clothespin activity?
In case you needed an excuse to drink more wine…
Save those wine corks! They have so many possibilities for uses in kids projects. All you need for this great fine motor activity are some wine corks and pieces of cut up pool noodle (which you will also fine a million uses for).
I presented this activity simply by offering a bowl full of corks and some pool noodle pieces set out on Trevor’s activity tray (aka a cookie sheet from the Dollar Tree 😉 ). I then invited him to put the corks inside the pool noodles. This is a great way to work on bilateral coordination, as the child has to use both hands to do this. Trevor had a lot of fun with this 🙂 You could also make this into a pegging-type game, where you stack pool noodles and corks together to see how tall you can make a tower. Trevor opted not to try that though. I always give him choices when we do an OT type activity.
What are your favorite uses for pool noodles outside of the pool?
We absolutely love our sliding glass door. It is such a great location to do all sorts of fine motor and play activities. Recently I set up a coffee filter garden for Trevor to water. He had sooooo much fun! And using a spray bottle (plus working on that all-important vertical surface!) is great for improving strength.
On the inside of the door I drew the stem and leaves of the flowers using a green window crayon. Then on the outside of the door I taped up some coffee filters that I had dotted with our dot markers. Finally I gave him a spray bottle filled with water and let him go at it!
He had a great time “watering his garden”. After he had sprayed literally every single inch of the coffee filters, he wanted to go inside and spray away the stems too.
I hope your kids enjoy this activity as much as Trevor did!
One of the best ways to strengthen the small muscles in the hand is to encourage your child to work on vertical surfaces. To help Trevor with his fine motor skills I try hard to find fun ways to get him to use a vertical surface. This weekend it was nice outside so I thought we’d do some window painting.
I squirted some of his washable Crayola sidewalk paint onto a plate and let him go to town on our sliding glass patio door. He had tons of fun! After he was finished painting I gave him a spray bottle filled with water to squirt so he could help wash the paint away and do some more fun fine motor work.
I have to admit that I often leave Trevor’s therapy sessions feeling defeated. His struggles and differences are magnified. But today was different. He rocked OT today. And despite having a rough time at the beginning and at the end as well, all I see right now is a little boy who rocked it. He got on the Power Pumper car and blew both me and his OT away when he started pumping the car. All. By. Himself.
He was so proud of himself and had a blast. He kept wanting to “pick up friends”, so he pumped that car around the clinic, picking up beanie babies and other small toys. His OT kept running to get more things for him to collect because he wanted to keep going, something that never happens.
Today I want to celebrate my hard-working (and now very tired) boy. You are a rock star. And you have again reminded me that you will accomplish everything you need/want to, just in your own time. One day you will pedal a bike or trike. One day you will be able to dress and undress on your own. One day you will be able to use utensils properly and drink out of an open cup. One day you will be able to draw and write. All these things we work on, that frustrate me when you aren’t willing to even try, because you know they’re hard. Well one day you’ll do them. When you’re ready. Because you rock. I love you, Trevor.