We finally made it to Friday friends!!! If you have been following along from the beginning, let me start by saying THANK YOU!!! This is the last installment of what a typical week looks like in the Bivone household. Now I know that each and every one of us looks forward to Friday each week (don’t lie, you know you do), and in our household, it’s no different. Now, if you’ve been following along, you know how much I love my Sensory Thursday activities. While I love Thursdays, Fridays are, in my opinion, our most important activities of the week. This is when we focus on fine motor skills, which is something that we don’t have to think about, but can be incredibly frustrating for a baby or a toddler. Teaching a baby or a toddler these skills is as simple as giving them the opportunity. These skills are going to come in handy when your toddler is ready to hold a pencil/crayon, tie his or her shoes, and be able to button his or her pants in the future. Keep reading if you are intrigued as to the opportunities I provide from week to week.
When it comes to new activities from week to week, I try to keep it as simple as possible. I love incorporating items that I already have in the house, or things that are easy to pick up at a local store. Here are a list of items that I love incorporating into these activities:
- Pipe Cleaners
- Plastic Colander
- Muffin tins
- A variety of uncooked pasta
- Round cereal pieces such as Fruit Loops or Cheerios
- Toothpicks (I like to use the kind that are flat on the top for no risk of the little ones getting hurt)
- Pom Poms in a variety of sizes
Pipe Cleaners with Colander
One of the very first activities I introduced was this, and it was a complete HIT! All you need are some pipe cleaners and a plastic colander. (You can use a metal one if that is all that you have, but T and the boys love to push it around from time to time, and depending upon your flooring, it could scratch the floor) To introduce this activity, I started by threading the pipe cleaners through some of the openings so they were sticking out. T and the boys were eager to pull them out, and thought this was the most fun game ever. Little did they know, they were developing their fine motor skills. Want to take it further…. Model to your kiddos how to actually thread the pipe cleaners into the colander themselves. Sounds crazy, but trust me, it will keep them busy for at least 10 minutes! (Which is like an hour in toddler-land. Am I right?!?!)
Pasta and Play-Doh
This is another great activity using items that you already have around the house to focus on this important skill. If you follow my blog, you know my favorite recipe for homemade Play-doh. You can read up on it here. I always have a batch of Play-doh in the refrigerator, and being married to an Italian (as if my last name Bivone was not hint enough), there is ALWAYS pasta in the pantry. Simply make a mound of Play-doh and stick a few pieces of spaghetti in the Play-Doh so they are sticking straight up. Then using larger pieces of round pasta (I like to use rigatoni) “thread” the pasta pieces onto the spaghetti. It may sound simple, but for your toddler this takes a lot of concentration. They will not only be working their fine motor skills, but their hand-eye coordination as well. For older kids you can use smaller pieces of round pasta for the “threading.” For instance, ditalini or penne pasta. You can easily store these items in air-tight containers for use again and again. Want to make things a little more colorful?!?! Check out my post on great ways to dye pasta various colors! 😉
Clothespins and Toothpicks
These next two tools have a variety of ways that they can be used to give your little one a chance to develop his or her fine motor skills. Let’s start with one of my favorites- the clothespin! The funny thing about a clothespin is that it is something with which it’s original use is completely foreign to our generation. We have found a million other uses for this clever invention, a lot that have nothing to do with hanging clothes. We are just getting started with these amazing fine motor skills tools, as T and the boys fingers are still not quite strong enough to open the clothes pins just yet. We love to practice pinching them between our index fingers and thumbs to open the clothespins, and we like to pick up pom poms and place them in either an empty mason jar or into muffin tins. The possibilities are endless with these great tools, but we are just not quite there yet. Check out my Pinterest board Fine Motor Fun for some ideas I’m planning on using in the near future. Want even MORE inspiration?!?! You really need to check out my friend, and Super Mom extraordinaire, Laura Beth’s blog A Step in the Journey. She has SO MANY amazing ideas for fine motor skills that I am totally using as well. If you have not already, check her blog out. You may not come back here after seeing her’s! Seriously…
Ok, onto toothpicks… I have used the toothpicks on two separate occasions. Once involved marshmallows, and the other involved sponges- both times involved painting. The first time I used toothpicks was to paint using marshmallows. I wanted perfect circles on a Bible verse we were working on adding a little color to, and I thought marshmallows would be perfect!!! I gave each kid his or her own mini muffin tin filled with small amounts of paint, and then with the marshmallows already with the toothpicks stuck in them.
I then modeled dipping the marshmallows into different paints, and then dabbing on the paper. The action of picking up the toothpick between their thumb and index finger is really working those fine motor skills! And not to mention, they had a blast actually getting to create the art themselves. I would highly recommend doing this activity in just a diaper, as the paint will tend to get everywhere. Watch as your child creates a beautiful piece of art!
I followed a very similar protocol when using the toothpicks in sponges. These sponges came in an art kit that I bought years ago, and I loved that there were a variety of different shapes for the kids to experiment with. Since some of the shapes were too big for the mini muffin tins, so I used a regular sized muffin tin instead. I even let the kids pick their colors, which was a great way to get in a little color “lesson” too! 😉
Here are our finished products! Not too bad if you ask me, especially considering that this was COMPLETELY unassisted! Just a little bit of monitoring (you know, to make sure that the paint did not end up in their mouths), and modeling in the beginning.
Want to know more about these frames I made for displaying our art?!?! Check out my post about Art Tuesdays! 🙂
This is relatively new to our fine motor routine, but I’m really excited about how this can grow and change along with the kids. Right now, we are keeping it pretty simple with two simple items- yarn and round cereal pieces. Tying a large knot on the end of cut piece of yarn, I then have the kids “thread” the round cereal pieces (we are fans of Fruit Loops as they are easier for the kids to pick up and thread, but Cheerios are good as well) onto the string of yarn. Seeing as we are working with delicious cereal pieces, I definitely let the kids eat a few. 😉 You can also thread uncooked pasta pieces onto the yarn as well! Hello precious pasta necklaces that every Mom out there will cherish for years to come!
I’m excited about how this concept can continue to grow with the kids, but I am definitely not the craftiest of people (nor do I have the time), so I like to keep it simple. Using felt, which is so easy to work with, and yarn, I’m envisioning a lot of threading activities in the future. Almost like a sewing activity, I envision the kids weaving the yarn over and under the pieces of felt. Check out my Pinterest board to see some of the ideas I have pinned! 😉 I’m excited to continue to share some of our experiences with this important fine motor skill activity in the future, so stay tuned!!!
Fine Motor Skills Board
So this is something that I have been working on, and perfecting, over the past few months. It is not quite complete, but I had to give you a SNEAK PEEK here!!! This board was inspired by the interactive walls that T was obsessed with at a children’s museum visit this past summer. I loved watching her fascination as she was twisting and turning the different element, and I wanted to find a way to incorporate this into our play at home. Hence, the idea of this board was born! It has gone through multiple drafts, and is ever-evolving, but it is a work in progress.
I originally started with a peg board, but I found that the composite material it is composed of was not strong enough for toddlers. Haha! I then had to start from scratch. I went back to the drawing board (no pun intended), looking for something that would better meet my needs. If you remember back to my Music Monday post, I have the interactive magnetic wall that I wanted to be interchangeable with other interactive boards. This board needed to be sturdy, and light enough that I could switch it out with the magnetic board easily. I found a great piece of plywood at my local home improvement store, and it was exactly what I was looking for. While we were there, I let T walk up and down a few of the aisles to gather a little further inspiration. I wanted to see which locks, knobs, etc. drew (and kept) her attention. Gathering what I needed, a variety of knobs, locks, latches, and switches, I set off to put this board together. After attaching everything, Mark just had to drill three holes in the top, and the board was ready!!! I am still planning on adding a few things as the board is not quite 100% complete (or up to my standards), but had to share a little peek with you today! 😉 Remember, this is just a little peek!!! There is SO much more going on, and getting ready to happen, on this board. But for now, here is your peek…..
What else do you think I should add to the board?!?!
I am beyond thankful that you have stuck it out and read through the past FIVE posts to read in more details about what a week looks like in the Bivone home. I hope that you have found some inspiration, and that you have a little more of an idea as to the method of each day. I’m looking forward to continuing to share MORE inspiration of activities for each day in the week (Music Mondays, Art Tuesdays, Water Wednesdays/Working on… Wednesdays, Sensory Thursdays, and Fine Motor Skills Fridays) in the very near future. I know I went a little overload on the posts this week, but I wanted to power through what our week looks like so I could get into more fun things, like festive crafts, activities, snacks, etc. for October! All with a SPOOKY theme! Ahhhh! Get ready because I am SOOOOOO excited to share my ideas with you. As always, thank you for reading and following along. I hope that you have found some inspiration from me, but I would love to hear any ideas that YOU have!!! Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll talk to you all next week!