Fine Motor Mix & Match

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YES! Stealthy Teaching is for YOU!

Are you looking for fun and simple ways to help your kiddos build fine motor skills?  All children need to to have strong hands and fingers to be prepared for all the tasks ahead of them at school!

There are millions of ways to practice fine motor skills, and if you search the internet for them you will find more ideas then you can shake a stick at.  The problem is, many of them involve a great deal of preparation work for YOU, before your kiddo can even play.   I don’t know about you, but for as fun as those fancy games can be, I get burned out FAST if I try to do too many of those, and I certainly can’t manage to be consistent with them.  Just like you, I wanted the skill building, but without all of the work…

So I came up with an amazing stealthy formula to create endless games for your little ones that are fast, fun, and will provide EXCEPTIONAL skill building!

There are three essential elements to building a fine motor game; small pieces to manipulate, a way to move them, and a place to put them.

Manipulatives  {The Bits and Pieces}

FM Bits
Almost any small objects will work here. Look around your house, you’ll be surprised how many you can come up with (I know I was!)

 

These can be any small object that your child can pick up.  The younger your child, the bigger the pieces.  As they get older, the parts can get smaller and smaller.  Think Mega Blocks, Duplos, then Legos.  Try- balls of all sizes, pom poms, marbles, foam pieces, fun erasers, wooden blocks, dominos, shapes, beads, game pieces, letters, numbers, magnets, stones, beans, cereal.  

 

Transport {How You Move the Pieces}

FM Tools
Go right ahead and rummage through your kitchen drawers (that’s what I did!) If it can be used to pick something up, give it a try!

In order to build those skills we want to work on, your kiddos will have to pick up those parts some how and move them.  There are tons of ways for things to be moved, and similarly to choosing parts, the younger your child the more simple the transport should be.  Young toddlers may only be able to use the most basic- fingers, or hands. As they they get older try spoons, or scoops, and as they become more skilled try tongs or tweezers. 

Container {The Landing Zone}

FM Containers
Your recycling bin will be your best friend here…Not only are all those containers FREE but there is so much variety, your kids will never get bored!

So now they have a pile of pieces, they’ve scooped them up, and they need somewhere to put them!  Use your imagination, if it fits, give it a go!  The littlest players will need the largest openings, so start with boxes, buckets, or bowls.  As they get more skilled try using smaller openings with smaller pieces.  Tissue boxes, juice bottles, cups, shaker bottles, slotted containers, anything really!  There are also really two ways to set up a game, you can start with a pile and put it into a container (like beads into a bottle) or you can move objects from one container to another (scooping marbles from bowl to bowl).

Getting Started

So all you need are those three simple elements, and you’ll have a new game ready in just minutes!  I’ve also created a super simple worksheet  that you can use to organize your materials.  Do a quick walk though your house and look for any items that can work for each of these categories, and jot them down.

Want your own {FREE} copy of the blank worksheet??  Just pop your email address into the sidebar over there, and I’ll send it right out so you can begin creating your own games today!

This is my version of  the worksheet, fully filled out.  It should give you some ideas on how to get started.

FM Wkst Done

 

When you’re ready to make a game, just choose one item from each list and put them all together in a bin, basket, or on a tray.  You may want to give it a quick test run before you get started just to make sure that all of your pieces work together well.  If you find it too difficult, or notice that the pieces don’t fit easily into the container, just switch them out for a better combination.

 

FM Toddler
For the tiniest players, a great place to start is just by using their hands to place objects into a container. The pieces should be large enough that they can be easily manipulated, and the opening easy to access.

Playing the Game

FM Toddler 2
As your child gets older and more capable (and stops mouthing everything) you can try smaller objects, and a tool to move them. Spoons or scoops are a great first tool, and also help to encourage self-feeding skills.

 

When you’re ready to play, sit down with your child and show them how it’s done.  Little kids love to put things in and take them out, so they should figure it out quickly! Watch how they complete the task and notice if it looks like it’s too easy or too difficult.  If they look like they are really struggling to use the transport mode you picked out, then it is OK to use fingers instead!  It will still be good practice and you can try that tool another time.  If it looks way too easy, you may want to get a different tool (try a small spoon instead of large, tweezers instead of tongs, anything instead of fingers).  When you are making a custom game, the best thing you can do is customize it, so don’t be afraid to change it up!!

 

FM PreK
The better your child becomes at fine motor tasks, the more complex you can make the games. Small pieces paired with tweezers or tongs and divided containers provide fantastic fine motor practice, and are usually of more interest to older children.

A Note About Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are hugely important for young children.  They need strength and dexterity in their hands and fingers to complete many everyday activities such as buttoning and zipping clothes, tying shoes, or flipping switches.  It is also essential for holding pencils and scissors, and completing most of a day’s activities in school.  Children with weak fine motor skills may have poor handwriting, fatigue quickly while completing fine motor tasks, and can show general frustration with school work.

Other Great Ways to Practice

Looking for other ways to practice these crucial skills?  Try beading, lacing, coloring, painting, cutting, squeezing, tearing paper, sticking stickers, or using play dough!  Almost any activity that is done with the fingers and hands will help build fine motor skills.  Try to use a variety different activities to get the best skill development.

Ready to get started?  You’re {FREE} copy of the Mix & Match worksheet is waiting for you, just join the Stealth Team for this freebie, and more exclusive offers! ——–>

 

Happy Learning!

Stealthy Signature

 

 

 

 

 

Update!

Our friends over at Carter’s Classroom put together this awesome Fine Motor Mix & Match Game!  I love how she used the screws to really capture her son’s interest, and upped the ante by adding math elements.  What a fun game!

Have you created a Mix and Match Game?  Share it with us and get your photo up on the page!

 

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13 thoughts on “Fine Motor Mix & Match

  1. These are great! My twins were born premature, so I love working on skills with them to help them prepare for preschool. Perfect with things I have around the house already.

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