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Chopsticks and Other Tools for Fine Motor Skills

Looking for a fun idea at home, at a pre-school center or just for fun? Get those chopsticks and pom poms (or cotton balls) out for a variety of activities. Pictured below is the simplest form for young ones to practice hand dexterity, fine motor skills and coordination. Notice the child’s chopsticks are connected and much easier to manipulate.

This idea can be used for many purposes in learning:

Children can sort by color or size and even label after sorting.

One to one correspondence, by placing in egg cartons or on a paper with circles drawn on it.

Simple math problems with adding or subtracting.

There are many other ways for little ones to develop and improve dexterity.

As babies encourage your child to turn the pages of a board book by slightly lifting page and guiding their fingers to complete turning the page. Have them feel different textures, play hand games like “Where is Thumbkin” and wave hello and goodbye.

Toddlers and preschoolers can work on finger dexterity as it is important for each finger to work separately from the others. continue hand games and songs such as The Itsy Bitsy Spider and the Wheels on the Bus.  Hand and finger puppets are also a fun and excellent way to develop hand coordination. Playdough-makes balls or just poke holes with different fingers. the normal play of children such as blocks, using tupperware out of your drawers can all help with coordination. Cutting food so children can easily pick up and eat is a great everyday practice for children. for example, cut small chunks of cheese instead of slices for easier pick up and eating on their own. hand eye coordination is easily practiced with a balloon for all ages. the simple and cheap things we already have at home can serve as tools for learning and growing.

Preschool and early elementary age children can start learning sign language, using more complex puppets and making shadows with their hands. Smaller items such as tweezers and eyedroppers can be used to continue the growth of  fine motor skills. A turkey baster to play with outside or the bathtub allows for fun play and more hand dexterity. Crafts and games also become more complex and an excellent way for strengthening the hand and fingers. Remember the games Operation, mandala and Connect Four? Some of the oldies but goodies still apply today. Instruments give plenty of exercise to develop the motor skills and so much more!


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