Kindergarten Readiness - Fine motor skills; Play

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
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Kindergarten Readiness - Fine motor skills; Play

Unread post by cbollin »

oklamom wrote:I'm using the suggested toys and such with my 4yr ds. Not sure if he will be ready for kinder next year. He loves joining in with things with big sis, but his motor skills are still lacking for coloring, writing and such. Don't want to push him. It would be great if something else came along.
Children can change so much in a year. My 4.5 y.o, who is autistic, couldn't hold scissors 4 months ago and now she can cut around a thick line to make a square ! yippee!!!!

Don't stress out about the coloring and writing skills at this point. Let's debunk the color in the lines myth for 4 year olds. It's ok if they can't do this yet. They will get there. :) Look for progression of skills. It does come.

Work on the lacing toys
tracing shapes
then cutting out the shapes.
take clothespins and let him put them on sides of cans/containers
practice buttoning and unbuttoning (ds's shirts, or dad's shirts)
snaps on clothing.
have him imitate X's on paper, circles. Use smaller size crayons and chalk for this to encourage "proper" grip.

practice and practice.

Are you looking for some other ideas for helping to bring those skills along this year? I'd be happy to keep typing. let us know

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Unread post by oklamom »

Thanks for the ideas, I'll try them. I'll keep him working with the preK products. And see how he develops by next year. I have to stop comparing him to big sis. She did everything early and he's a late bloomer. I want to be careful not to rush into Kinder until he is ready. I have two nephews with summer bdays that started at 5 and really struggled.

Thanks again for the ideas.
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Unread post by tkbbrl6 »

First - relax - I know it's hard and especially if you've had a previous dc who things came earlier for - but keep in mind too - he's a boy. And for boys sometimes those fine motor skills don't come as early. Some other fun ideas:

fingerpainting - we even use "body paint" and my kiddos have fingerpainted shapes, letters, number, etc. on the sides of the shower walls
writing in shavng cream (either one can be used to trace around stencils)
light brite is great for fine motor - pincher grip
don't have a light brite - cut a small carpet square and flip it upside down so that the carpet side is down - draw simple shapes and hand dc a push pin (if it's too difficult to grasp in the beginning you can clip a clothes pin on it) - have the dc push holes going all around the lines of the shape (do this project with foil and wrap the foil around a clear candle holder - light the candle and you have a luminarie)
sidewalk chalk - even tracing around large stencils or tracing over mom's drawings

My 3 yo begged to have "school papers" so while I make up a lot of my own - I also found Kumon workbooks for toddlers/preschoolers that have cutting, pasting, putting the stickers in the right places, mazes, etc. that he LOVES - he's having fun and working on skills at the same time.
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Unread post by hsmom2five »

cbollin wrote:Let's debunk the color in the lines myth for 4 year olds. It's ok if they can't do this yet. They will get there. :)
AMEN AND AMEN!! Thank you, Crystal!

I won't get on my soapbox, but I heard recently a statistic regarding creativity in people. They said that of people over 30 yrs old, only about 5% were considered to be creative. Of those 20-30, it was still at 5%. Of teenagers, it was around 30%, and even in grade school it was only at 50%. When they looked at 4 and 5 yr olds, they found that 95% of them are creative.

Kindergarden kills creativity? Probably just the stress.
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Unread post by Fly2Peace »

Give them blank paper, and let them create. I started college as an art major (yes, fine arts). First thing we had to learn, how not to "color in the lines! So, yes, K, and all those coloring books can kill creativity!

Maybe that is why I changed majors... ends up, I am a computer programmer. :)
cbollin wrote:Some coloring is ok too. We just don't obsess if it goes out of the lines. My girls like to color --- just keep the balance.
So well said. Moderation in all things. :)
Fly2Peace (versus flying to pieces)

Improving fine motor coordination?

Unread post by cbollin »

RB wrote:Anyone have any ideas for improving fine motor coordination for a 5 y.o. boy? We are scheduled to begin K in August and the writing piece has me a bit concerned. Wondering if I should be having him pick up grains of rice or some such thing :)
A few ideas for play time before you start K:

Have him trace shapes on paper and cut them out. Depending on his abilities – you can start with cutting wavy lines from one side of the paper to the other. Start with squares and triangles and circles before moving to other shapes. Some children need darker, thicker lines along which to cut – so use markers when tracing.

Encourage him to draw zig zag lines and diagonal lines within a closed shaped. (you make a large square box and have them draw a path in the box. You could even have a favorite toy follow the path or just trace the path with finger.)

Trace around his own hand.

Have him imitate drawing a square, circle, etc after you do it.

Work with smaller pieces of chalk on a chalk board.

Use shaving cream on a mirror to point and trace

Cut materials other than paper (cloth or felt)

Work on tripod grasp (holding the marker, pencil, crayon properly.)

Play with age appropriate but small sized things like Legos (you don’t want to use the huge duplo blocks for that)

Lacing shoe strings through holes in construction paper. (or using store bought lacing toys if you have those.)

Stringing beads helps.

button the buttons on shirts! (it can be done while getting clean laundry on the hangers)

Make sure he is working at a table and chair that fits his size.

Work with modeling clay to make shapes. (not just play dough)

you can do dot to dot puzzles, or other things like tracing paths, if he likes those.

(or let them play with a magna doodle. My youngest likes to watch Yo gabba gabba or something like that. There's this segment where it says Hi! I'm Mark and I'd like to draw a dog. Well, my Kindy stage kid likes to grab her magna doodle and draw a dog just like it.) Or any kind of age appropriate art work and finger painting and all of that.

And remember, in the MFW K program there are lots of opportunities to have tactile writing practice to work on all of these skills. The letter S is the focus on lesson 1. S is one of the hardest letters to write for young children – so it is ok if they don’t master it that first lesson. They have all year to work on it. Sometimes it helps to remember that at the beginning of the year so that we can encourage our children. The skills in K build up over time. They will have lots of opportunities to cut shapes so it will build up over the year.

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Unread post by my3boys »

I have tried all the activities that they tell you to do for strengthening the mucsles - I'm not sure they have made my boys able to write any sooner then if i would have just waited until they were ready though. I think sometimes it's just a developmental thing that you can't rush. It can be frustrating though.

For K I have my 6yo write two capitals and two small case letters every time we have a reading lesson. Also because he enjoys doing art, I am going to sit and draw/color with him every day - nothing structured, just a time to make pencil time fun and keep practicing. I used HWT with my older boy who had trouble writing and it helped a lot - he just needs more instruction, it doesn't come naturally to him.
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Unread post by MJ in IL »

I would tuck this in the back of your mind and focus play in this area...but not worry too much. Crystal has some great ideas! Neither of my boys had great fine motor skills in has had (and continues to have mild) fine motor issues. I think MFW K is perfect for these kids!

-The textured puzzle letters are great...we traced those a lot!

-We used a sand tray or salt tray to write with our fingers

-I made envelopes to hold the cards you make for each letter using glitter glue, the boys loved the extra tactiles

-used alphabet stamps instead of writing for some activities

-search for the puzzle letters by feel in a bowl of rice or a bag

-We used a variety of writing utensils...big pencils, regular pencils, different sized crayons, markers, chalk and colored pencils. Mixing it up a bit reduced frustration.

-writing on the chalkboard or white board is good too!

One son continues to have messy handwriting...his cursive is better than printing and we have worked on keyboarding quite a bit. The other ds is fine now, with neat printing and cursive.

One thing I try to think about with my kids is to have time where I may adjust the lesson to accommodate for learning styles/difficult issues AND a time to remeidate or focus on trying to improve the problem area. It is a simple idea, but I can get stuck on one or the other at times.

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Unread post by cbollin »

My youngest is finishing up her language based preschool. I went to pick her up a little bit ago and inside of her cubby was a list of Pre Writing Playtime Activities that her teacher suggests. Her teacher said it was fine with her to share those ideas if it would help you. Thanks Ellen!!!!
  • Pre-Writing Activities

    Sensory Activities. Play dough, clay, water and sand allow children to practice using their hands in controlled ways. Squeezing, poking and rolling all build muscle strength. Pouring requires coordination (empty dish soap bottles, measuring cups and scoops during bath time is a convenient way to work hand-eye coordination into your childs' schedule).

    Fingerplays also provide muscle practice. Think about the muscle required to hold up one finger, two, three. Where is Thumbkin for example). Rhymes are also excellent for language development! (sing while waiting, driving, anytime)

    Stringing beads. If you have 'pony beads' or other beads with good sized holes in them make necklaces, bracelets, key chains. Stringing beads is another way to improve hand-eye coordination and the pincer grasp (used to hold a pencil). MORE appealing ... stringing 0 shaped cereal (Cheerios or Froot Loops) for an edible necklace ... or an edible snake!

    Stiffen the end of the string/yam with tape to make stringing the cereal or beads easier.

    Cutting. Begin by snipping strips of paper or cutting fringe around the edges of paper. It is also great fun and satisfying to roll play dough snakes (coils) and let your child cut them up. This gives them practice in moving their hand muscles in the right way.

    Crayon races. Cut open a paper grocery bag so that you have a large piece of paper. You choose a crayon to be your 'car' . Your child chooses a crayon to be his/her 'car'. Now have your child chase your crayon around the paper. While he/she is chasing your crayon with his/her car you are talking about directionality. "Oh I'm going up! Now I'm turning are you still behind me? Hold on to your hat I'm going to make a circle!" Then switch roles and crayon colors and let him/her lead and you chase.

    Eye-dropper Color Transfer. Fill 3 cups, baby food jars OR snack containers with water and food coloring (Red, Yellow and Blue). Place an ice cube tray on a towel on the table. Show your child how to use the eye-dropper (use old medicine droppers) to transfer color from the container into the ice cube sections. He/she can fill the dropper and drop the color onto white paper towels or coffee filters. (strengthens the pincer grasp used to hold pencil)
One of the neat things that I've seen Ellen and the other teachers do at my dd's school with eye droppers and food coloring water....

They get chunks of ice, put them in a water table (or sink or plastic tub) and let the kid squeeze drops of water onto the ice to help melt it. Those kids will stand there for a long time playing that way.

ohh.... that could be a fun way to keep preschoolers occupied, educated and involved while teaching older children LOL
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Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

Cutting play-dough is one of my favorite ways to build the muscles.

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Unread post by MJ in IL »

Crystal's eye dropper activity reminded me of a bead favorite here...

Sort out a few different colors/shapes of beads and glue 2 or 3 of a kind in each compartment of an egg carton (I started with 4-6.) Using a tweezer (or fingers) sort the beads from the larger pool of beads into the appropriate compartment. All my kids loved this!
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Unread post by mgardenh »

DLTK craft sight has lots and lots of craft things that you can print off for coloring cutting ect.. They have scissor practice sheets, chore charts, all sorts of stuff for free. I go to their sight whenever I need an activity. You could google DLTK crafts and find the sight. There lots of fine motor skill practice there.
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Unread post by lyntley »

Here's a few more:

Molding and rolling play dough into balls - using the palms of the hands facing each other and with fingers curled slightly towards the palm.
Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.
Using pegs or toothpicks to make designs in play dough.
Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel
Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling them into balls. Use to stuff scarecrow or other art creation.
Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super strength builder.
Using a plant sprayer to spray plants,
Picking up objects using large tweezers such as those found in the "Bedbugs" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes, small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.
Shaking dice by cupping the hands together, forming an empty air space between the palms.
Using small-sized screwdrivers like those found in an erector set.
Lacing and sewing activities such as stringing beads, Cheerios, macaroni, etc.
Using eye droppers to "pick up" colored water for color mixing or to make artistic designs on paper.
Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, then gluing the balls onto construction paper to form pictures or designs.
Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons, without bringing them to the edge of the table.
Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements.
Playing games with the "puppet fingers" -the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Having child's puppet fingers tell about what happened over the weekend, or use them in songs and finger plays.
Last edited by lyntley on Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post by TriciaMR »

I thought of one this morning: squirt guns (or water guns). Get the cheap kind from Party City or something (they come in a pack of 10 or 12). They're harder to squeeze. On a really hot day, set some empty paper or plastic cups up on a wall, fort or other elevated surface, and have them shoot the cups down. Then, let them shoot each other for a quick cool down. :) I know my boys really have to work hard to squeeze those squirt gun triggers.

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Unread post by angieb »

These are great ideas!! My DS is also weak in this area. Here are a few ideas I found that are different from those listed.

Drawing in "goop". Add water to cornstarch until you have a mixture similar in consistency of toothpaste.

Picking up small objects like pegs, beads, coins from a tray of salt, sand, rice. Try also with eyes closed.

Encourage reaching across the body

Make child aware of left and right sides of body. Play "Simon Says". Ex: Kick the ball with you left foot, etc...

Drawing on vertical surfaces: easel or paper taped to wall. Encourage to draw left to right lines across paper. Trace shapes or copy yours.

Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking, wall pushups

Throwing, catching, bowling games

Make simple dot to dots. Have children connect lines from top to bottom and left to right.

Use a flashlight on the ceiling. Have your child lie on back and follow flashlight line with his eyes--left to right, top to bottom and diagonal lines.

Find hidden pictures within a picture.

food for thought.. value of preschool play

Unread post by cbollin »

I intend this to be a general encouragement for those with children ages under 7 or so.....(give or take a year)

On another forum, I read recently about a high school physics teacher (public school) who wanted to do a hands on learning with his 11th and 12th graders. So he brought his preschool aged son's marble run to that public school classroom. (the teacher's wife homeschools all of their children.)

The teens didn't have a clue how to build a marble run in order to practice and demonstrate some basic physics principles. supposedly they told the teacher "you really let your 4 y.o play with this? how do you know which end is up?"

So, just saying, if you have young children, please encourage "educational play". it really is important to help them learn and think and work on their own, and have critical thinking skills, and independent learning.

so get those marble runs, get some blocks, let them try stuff.

I know most of us when starting homeschooling our oldest looked too much as "ooh.. they know the alphabet". or "ooh... they know their numbers" and are ready to put them in Kindy too soon. Those are nice things to know, now it's time to build up and balance their other skills.

just saying, don't worry if your children are still very active in play skills of building marble set, blocks, forts from couch seats, dress up. setting table, cooking, cleaning....

don't let your oldest miss out of preschool years :)

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