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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!

Around the Clock Math Game

Practice all four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) while creating an equation with this easy to make and play game.

Materials needed:

Pencil, paper and three dice

To Play: 

Each player draws a clock with the numerals one through twelve around it.  The first player rolls three dice, they can use the numbers to create any equation to get the answer one through twelve.  The player then crosses out the answer on the clock.  Then, the next player repeats the process.  Have the players write out the equation.

For example, a player may roll a 6, 3, and 1.

The options are:  6+3+1=10 (the player would cross out their ten),  6-3-1=2,   6-1+3=8,  6-3+1=4,   6/3+1=3,  6×1+3=9.

The object of the game is to cross out all twelve numbers.  It becomes more challenging as the game continues since there are less options to choose from.  A fun way to practice math facts in all of the operations!

Roll ‘em to Learn Math

Dice are an easy way to practice math while having fun. Plus they are easy to pack and cheap. Little ones can get the big foam dice and just roll and try to match the two numbers on the dice. As they do this you can attempt counting the numbers if they have the attention. Do not worry it will come. Some die also come with the written numeral on them which is also good for the little ones to start identifying numbers.

A few activities:
Roll ‘em:
1. Each person rolls a die and the one with the larger number wins the round.
(to extend this you can use tally marks to keep score on a paper or board.)
2. Each person rolls two-three dice and adds them. The person with the largest number wins the round. This can also be done with multiplication and subtraction.

Race Car:
Using poster board, draw a road and mark lines like a gameboard. Each player rolls a die and moves the amount of spaces, first to reach the end wins. We use hot wheels as the markers. The many versions of this are what your child is “into” at the time. For example, trains tracks, steps to a castle, Earth to moon-draw (the beginning) earth and draw stars to the moon (the end).

This again is a homemade game that can use any collection of things. You use two dice to add or subtract (Can do multiplication but will need to have a large collection.) For example, we use sea shells. The player rolls the dice and adds the numbers and collects that amount. Each player continues, the player with the largest collection is the winner.

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