Cleaner Bead Lacing
is an excellent activity for fine motor skills development
as well as hand-eye coordination. We used pipe cleaners
and beads that were purchased from a craft store but you
can also get them at Wal-Mart. I poured some beads in a
clear plastic cup and also put a bead at the bottom of each
pipe cleaner and bent the bottom up to prevent the bead
from falling off. The children then laced beads onto the
pipe cleaner. For extension activities we counted how many
beads were on the pipe cleaners and also made patterns with
is another excellent activity for fine motor skills, hand-eye
coordination, and visual discrimination. I purchased a bag
of gemstone shapes and a clear bead organizer container
from Michael's craft store. I used a hot glue gun to glue
a gemstone shape at the bottom of each section of the bead
container so the children would know where to put the gemstones
that had to be sorted. I put the gemstones on a paper plate
to make them easier to see and the children sorted them
into the correct section of the container.
Stix are made of a combination of wax and yarn and can be
used for many things. They are great for fine motor skill
development because children use their fingers to shape
... bend ... cut the wikki stix to make a variety designs.
Wikki stix can be used to form letters, numbers and shapes
and anything else the child can imagine. I purchased the
wikki stix at a craft store but you can also buy them online
including at the official
wikki stix site.
Counting and Stacking
counting and stacking is a wonderful way to build math skills
... fine motor skills ... and hand-eye coordination. You
can use any kind of blocks that are stackable ... we used
soft foam blocks but you can also use hardwood blocks. The
children were given number cards and they selected a card
and then counted and stacked the number of blocks that were
on each card.
you would like the cards we used for this activity you can
downoad them here.
stamping is an easy and fun activity that the children really
love to do. We used both mega blocks and and legos along
with paint (the blocks were super easy to clean after we
were done with them). I put paint on paper plates along
with a lego and a mega block for each color of paint. The
children dipped the blocks in the paint and created their
own patterns and designs.
is a great idea to put all of those empty cereal boxes to
good use and build visual discrimination skills as well
as hand-eye coordination at the same time. I cut the front
off of empty cereal boxes (if you work with children you
can ask the parents to donate their empty cereal boxes)
and used a paper cutter (they sell them at craft stores
and wal-mart for around 12.00) to trim the edges so they
were nice and straight. I then cut the cereal box fronts
up into various shapes and sizes and for the younger children
I cut them in to 4-8 even sized pieces. I then stored the
puzzle pieces in zip lock bags.
Stick Pocket Counting
is a fun activity to build math skills ... hand-eye coordination
... and fine motor skills. I took colored library pockets
and glued a number onto the front of each one. I then set
out craft sticks and the children had to put the correct
number of craft sticks into each library pocket. I purchased
the craft sticks from a local craft store ( I like to use
the ones that are wider than the popsicle size craft sticks)
... I purchased the library pockets from my local teacher
supply store which also has a website
( search for library pockets).
you would like the cards we used for this activity you can
downoad them here
sequencing is another activity that is great for building
math skills. I cut ten circles (different sizes) out of
construction paper (different colors) and the children arranged
them from largest to smallest and then smallest to largest.
They also counted how many circles there were. Another thing
I did was remove circles from the pile and the children
had to arrange them and figure out how many were missing.
you would like the circle templates we used for this activity
you can downoad them here
is a great activity for building visual discrimination skills
and well as eye-hand and fine motor skills. I purchased
foam shape beads at the craft store and created a matching
mat for the beads. I glued various beads in the top row
on the matching mat and left the bottom row blank. The chidlren
then put a bead in each blank square on the bottom row to
match the top row of foam beads.
you would like the foam bead matching mat we used for this
activity you can downoad it here.
painting is another great creative art tool. I purchased
the roll-on paint at Michael's craft store but you may also
find them at school supply stores or you can even make your
own by using empty (and washed out) deoderant bottles filled
with paint. The roll-on paint bottles are easy to use and
control and are also perfect for children to use for letter
and number writing.
has come out with a line of crayons and markers especially
designed for children who are approaching 24 months and
up called Crayola Beginnings. I purchased them at Wal-Mart
and I also noticed that Michael's craft store carries them
as well. The triangle shape makes it easier for children
to grasp and control the crayons and allows for the children
to develop a tripod grip which is important in emerging
Pom Sorting Bags
Pom sorting is an easy and fun way to build cognitive skills
as well as eye-hand coordination. I purchased a large bag
of pom poms which contained five different sizes in a variety
of colors from Michael's craft store. I also purchase white
craft bags. I glued one pom pom (each a different size)
on to five bags. I put some of the pom poms into a bowl
with a large plastic spoon. The children used the spoon
to scoop a pom pom and put it in the bag with the same sized
pom pom on the front. Younger children can use their hands
to grasp and pick up the pom poms instead of using the spoon.
Instead of doing a size sort you can also do a color sort
by attaching different colored pom poms to the bags and
having children put the same colored pom poms into the bags.
For an activity extension you can have children count the
pom poms that they placed in each bag.
or Subtract Game
game is a lot of fun for the children to play and is great
for building math skills ...developing fine-motor skills
... as well as eye-hand coordination. I made game boards
with sixteen squares on them that the children would add
or subtract counters (we used hard beans) to depending on
what number card they drew. The first player to fill all
sixteen squares up on their game board wins. Children can
also play this game by themselves.
you would like the add or subtract game board and number
cards we used for this activity you can downoad them here.
cutting is an excellent way for children to develop small
motor skills along with scissor skills. To add variety to
cutting with just plain scissors and paper I purchased a
set of craft scissors from Wal-Mart. The set I purchased
contained eight scissors each with a different cutting edge.
You can also find these in craft stores usually near the
scrapbooking section. Craft scissor will change the edge
of the paper children cut ... instead of having straight
lines they can have wavy or squiggly lines. Craft scissor
are a little more difficult to use than beginning scissors
as they require more effort to open and close which in turn
helps build fine motor skills. The set of eight scissors
was under nine dollars.
is really a fun art activity that is great for eye-hand
coordination and small motor skills development. You will
need bubble wrap ... I purchased mine from Staples office
supply store for 12.00 but Target also carries them. I recommend
buying the bubble wrap with the larger bubbles as they are
easier to paint and make a nicer design on the paper. The
rolls of bubble wrap come perforated every twelve inches
which is perfect for this activity. You will also need masking
tape ... paint ... and paper.
took a sheet of bubble wrap and taped it down (bubble side
up) to the table using a piece of masking tape on the left
and right side of the bubble wrap. The masking tape holds
the bubble wrap down so the children do not have to worry
about trying to hold the bubble wrap while painting. Children
painted the bubbles and then put a sheet of paper on top
of the bubbles. They gently rubbed the paper and lifted
the paper off to see the design the painted bubbles had
to closely supervise children under three and those children
who put objects in theirs mouths as the bubble wrap can
be a choking hazard if children put it in their mouths.
is a list of books I recommend for your early learning environment.
These are the books that I most frequently use. If you would
like to download the list you can do so here.
of the first words children learn to recognize and read
is their own name. Name puzzles are a great way to help
children build early literacy skills and they are very easy
to make. You will need a zip lock bag for each child as
well as each child's name written in large letters on a
piece of cardstock paper which should be laminated. I labeled
the zip lock bags with each child's name and cut the laminated
names into different pieces to make a puzzles. For younger
children you would want to cut the names into fewer less
complex pieces. I put the labeled puzzle bags in a basket
in our literacy center for children to self-select. They
enjoy finding their names and putting the puzzles together
along with reading the names of their friends and putting
together those puzzles. You can see a video of this teaching
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