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Fine Motor in Kindergarten

Hi everyone! It's Kelly from My Fabulous Class. I imagine many of you are settling back into school...and I know a few of you are STILL enjoying summer! We are on our third week. At the beginning of the year, I like to assess students on some basic fine motor skills. Can they do the basic skills of writing, gluing, and cutting? What about picking up small items? I have two FREE activities to help you assess these fine motor skills.

First up, cutting. These are HARD lines for kids to cut. I like to talk about taking "small bites" with the scissors. I model big bites, which is opening the scissors all of the way, and small bites, which is only opening them a little. After students cut it all up, I have them glue it on construction paper to have a display, but you could just as easily have students recycle the strips.

I LOVE these little glue dot apples. It's hard to see from the picture, but there are actually 3 sizes of sequins! Squeezing a dot of glue onto a dot is a pretty challenging fine motor skill. We talk about the different using the "right amount" of pressure when you squeeze. I model too little pressure and too much pressure before I have students practice. Then, you add in the fine motor skill of picking up tiny sequins, and wow, you'll be able to quickly assess a student's fine motor skills.

You can get both of these activities FREE HERE.

Now, you may be wondering, what do I do if my student has poor fine motor skills? Check out these posts.

This post is full of FREE ideas with play dough, dabbers, tweezers, and more. 

This is another great post with clothespins and pipe cleaners. I hope this helps you all!

My 4 Favorite FUN Fine-Motor Activities + A FREEBIE

You won't believe the one we do EVERY day!

Looks like trash, but it develops small muscles.
READ ON to find out how.

My first favorite fine motor activity:
It is a center that my students loved from day 1.
You can use yarn or long pipe cleaners. 

I got some cake cooling racks at The Dollar Store, cut up some strands of yard, and let them have fun.
I taped the ends of the yarn with clear tape to prevent fraying.

Some of the students loved weaving patterns, others just wove random colors, but everyone was working on their fine motor skills!

My second favorite fine motor activity:
It is a sight word center. It looks like spaghetti and meatballs, but the students had to match the pairs of sight words! You can make this out of large wooden beads, but I made mine in kind of a funny way. 
This center works best when two students can help each other find the matching sight word. 

Our PTA gave me a bag of Dum-dum candy pops for my class. I didn't want to give them candy, so I bought them a basket of organic blueberries and I was going to throw the Dum-dums away when I got this idea. 

I unwrapped them, cut the sticks off, and applied pieces of torn brown tissue paper with Mod Podge. (You can find Mod Podge at a craft store like Michael's.) 

I never did tell them that their were candy lollipops inside these meatballs!
Then, I applied a little piece of paper to each "meatball" with a sight word printed on it. I made two matching meatballs for each sight word. Last, I gave the meatballs one last coat of Mod Podge and let them all dry. 
Add extra bowls to collect the matching meatballs.

The next day, I placed the meatballs in a small colander with a handful of rubber bands. I didn't even bother to cut the rubber bands! I added a pair of tongs, a checkered tablecloth & two chefs' hats and that's it! 
You don't need a fancy colander. You can just use a plastic bowl.

This center was a favorite!

My students took turns grasping a meatball with the tongs and having their partner find the matching meatball in the pile of spaghetti! They LOVED it!

My third favorite fine motor activity:
It is my PIN LETTER CARDS. I ran these dotted letters on card stock and let my students place one card on the carpet. Then, they used a push pin and poked a hole through the card and into the carpet until every dot was poked. Then, they could take it home to tape to a window and let the light shine through their letters! They loved making one of these each week for 26 weeks and they strengthened their fingers while having fun!
They wrote their names on the back before they began.
This Pin Letter Set also comes with number cards!  You can grab a set by CLICKING HERE.

My fourth favorite fine motor activity is the one we did EVERY day!  
In fact, we did it several times a day! This is how it worked...
I always asked my students to try to create only one scrap whenever they have to cut anything out.
This is from my Pocket Locket set.
Students create a locket or a pocket watch with the letters from their sight words.

This took pre-planning and lots of thought, but wait, it gets better...
This Pocket Locket is for the sight word "I".

(These are my my SIGHT WORD POCKET LOCKETS. Once made, students may wear their sight words home as a locket around their necks or as a pocket watch in their pockets.)

Then, I asked them to always fold their one large scrap as many times as they could. Now, I think that any piece of paper, no matter how large or small it is, can only be folded a maximum of seven times*, but my students always tried to fold their scrap even more times. 
They would fold, press, and squeeze with all their might!

We called this our "finger exercises" and, since we did this several times each day, it did actually build up the muscles in their fingers!
They made their scraps as small as they could!

The added bonus was that our trashcans did not overflow with large scraps of paper. :)
Your trash can won't overflow like this one!

*Disclaimer: In January 2002, a junior in high school, Gallivan, demonstrated that a single piece of toilet paper 4000 ft (1200 m) in length can be folded in half twelve times. 

Did you like my Sight Word Pocket Lockets? You can find them by clicking HERE.
Click the image to grab your FREEBIE.

I also have two you may have for FREE by CLICKING HERE

You may visit my TpT Store by CLICKING HERE

Well, that's it for this month, my friends. Look for my next post on Sept. 30! :)


How to Increase Fine Motor Strength in Kindergarten

Hi guys!  It's Cori from Mrs. B's Beehive continuing our August conversation about fine motor skills in Kindergarten!  We all know the importance of fine motor skills, but unfortunately, a lot of our students come in with underdeveloped fine motor skills. They also lack the strength that they need in those tiny hands to wield a pencil or scissors appropriately.  So today, we are talking about one way that you can increase hand strength in your students.

There are many different activities to help students increase their agility with regards to fine motor skills, but one of the best ways to increase their strength, is through the use of hole punches.  Hole punches can even be challenging for adults at times, especially when we shove too much paper in    : )  The grip and strength that students need to punch out a hole in a piece of paper, uses just about every muscle in the hand! Punch card activities can build the strength in their hands very quickly!

I created this quick freebie for you to use during the first couple of months at school. You can use it in small groups with students who are working on increasing their fine motor skills, or you can use it during center time, and let all students get a chance to grow their hand muscles.

There are 5 different templates for the kids to use.  You don't have to cut the shape out completely, just cut it into a square, and the hole punch will be able to reach the holes.

My kids LOVE using hole punches, especially if one of those happens to be the teacher's : )  If you are interested in this freebie, just click on any of the pictures in this post, and it will take you to the document in Google Drive.  I hope you find these templates useful, and please comment below with other hand strengthening activities that you like to use with your students!

Fine Motor Frenzy

Hey everybody! It's Breanna from A Pinch of Primary

This month on the Kinder Tribe blog, we will be talking about the ever-important FINE MOTOR. It's a FINE MOTOR FRENZY in August. For me, it's back to school this coming Tuesday (yes, so jealous of all of you that still have this beautiful summer to enjoy) and the beginning of K is crucial to developing the skills that are so important. This short and sweet post had a much grander plan, but then Back to School Night happened last night and it just hit me that I was watching CRUCIAL things happening right before my eyes.

My first station at BTS night was the kindergarten signature. This is beautiful for many reasons, you see who can write their name, who needs help from big sis, what their favorite color of marker is, and most importantly...who can HOLD the marker correctly and adjust when needed. Just like we all see, I had everything from holding it at the top to the whole-hand grip and then I had the veteran walking in with their fancy big kid grip. (You go, kiddos) I was taking mental notes of each and every "pencil" grip I could. Granted, these were markers so the utensil was a little bit different than normal, but it gave me a lot of insight on who will immediately need a lot of support in that area.

Another station I implement during BTS night is emptying their supplies. I set an example school box out and the parents were FABULOUS about letting their child put away their own supplies (without teacher prompting--insert PRAISE HANDS) Almost every single one of their supplies needed opened. The glue stick 80 packs we require on our lists always need opened and every other supply that comes in a tricky package needs opened. These packages were ALL opened by the kids. Some took 10 minutes to open all of their supplies and some were done in two minutes. I could SEE the concentration in their faces. It was a true struggle for some.

There are SO MANY amazing fine motor activities to practice the first week of school--tracing lines, cutting lines, using tweezers, Play-Doh, etc. What are your favorite activities to do to promote fine motor skills?