Well, hello there! Today I am popping in to share all things FINE MOTOR! Fine motor tubs aka morning bins are an excellent way for students to explore while improving their fine motor skills.
Fine Motor Skills [an introduction]
Over the last several years teacher have noticed a difference in their students as they come to school for the first time. And you know what? They are right! Children in larger numbers than ever before in recent history are coming to school and they do not have the foundational skills they need to be successful! Fine motor skills are one of the areas that are lacking. Teachers notice this most in the classroom in how their students are holding their pencils and their ability to form letters.
Fine Motor and Pencil Grasps
Often times kindergarten teachers will notice that many of their students come in holding their writing utensils in a fisted pattern. This is a sign of the student being behind where they should be for their age developmentally. So, essentially we are asking them to run before they can walk if we require them to use a pencil before they know how to grasp it!
- Fisted pattern-developed by 12 months
- Pronated grasp pattern 2 to 3 years
- Static Tripod by 3 ½ to 4 years
- Dynamic Tripod by 5 years
Directed fine motor activities can develop the muscles that they need in order to have a more mature grasping pattern when holding a pencil.
Students also need to be able to separate the sides of the hand for in-hand manipulation. Why is this important? Like every other part of your body you have to be able to stabilize something in order to move something. For example, kids have to be able to stabilize their trunk before they can move their arms. The same is true for the hand. Students need to be able to stabilize one side of their hand (where their pinkie and ring finger are) in order to move the other side of their hand (index, middle finger and thumb). Students need to have dynamic movement when they write.
Fine Motor [a progression of skills]
Breaking down fine motor practice into 5 main categories:
- Wrist Hand Activities
2. Hand and Finger Activities
3. Scissor Activities
• Progression of scissor skills
• Rounded Edges
• Simple figures and shapes
• Complex figures and shapes
4. Drawing and Writing Activities
• Free drawing
5. Printing Practice
• Alphabet & Numbers
Fine Motor Tubs
You can see in the fine motor tubs setup up above, there are 8 different explicit fine motor tubs. Below the 8 fine motor tubs are math manipulatives and other fun and hands-on materials! These too can still be used for fine motor work and do not require prep from you. Below I will share with you activities that can be stuffed in the 8 fine motor tubs for back to school! However, don’t forget all of the basic materials you can use to increase fine motor:
- glass gems
- teddy bears
- mini erasers
- plastic gems
- fuzzy poms
- table confetti
- pony/perler beads
- plastic connecting cubes
Fine Motor Tubs [activities 1-4]
Activity 1: Fuzzy Pom Transfer This is a quick and easy fine motor tub idea. For this tub you will need small paper plates, dot stickers, fuzzy poms, and fine motor tweezers. The students will transfer the poms to match the dots on the plates. If you don’t have dots, you can also simply draw on your own dots.
Activity 2: Popsicle Stick Shape Build This fine motor tub idea requires simple color popsicle sticks. You can usually snag a full set for $1 at the dollar store. You will want to print the free popsicle shape cards HERE. The students will recreate the shapes using their popsicle sticks.
Activity 3: Pipe Cleaner Beading Here is another easy + effective fine motor tub to keep those minds and fingers busy! In this tub, place a bowl of perler beads along with pipe cleaners. I would suggest the larger perler beads so that they are easier to handle at the beginning of the year!
Activity 4: Lock and Key This fine motor tub is always a HUGE hit for students. You will need to purchase an assortment of locks and keys. Thankfully this is a lifetime investment so you can build up your collection over a few years. Place the keys onto one binder ring and the students get to crack the mystery of opening the locks!
Fine Motor Tubs [activities 5-8]
Activity 5: Paint Chip Match-Ups For this center you will want to snag some free paint samples from your local hardware store. Make sure to get 2 of each sample. You will leave one set uncut. The other set will be cut and be hot-glued onto clothes pins! Students will be build up finger and hand muscles by placing the matching clothes pins to the larger paint sample!
Activity 6: Popsicle Stick Roll and Drop In this activity, you will need a repurposed food canister, number cube/dot cube, and popsicle sticks. Students will roll the cube and plug that many popsicle sticks into the canister.
Activity 7: Fuzzy Pom Poms Tweeze and Drop In this activity, you will need a repurposed water jug (or milk carton), fuzzy pom poms, and fine motor tweezers. The students will tweeze a pom pom and steadily drop it into the water jug.
Activity 8: Bead Builder Mats In this activity, you will need a set of perler beads and THESE free download bead builder mats. Students will use their pincer grasp to grab each bead and carefully place it onto the mat.
Fine Motor Journal Activities for the Year
I also wanted to share with you my brand new Fine Motor Lesson Routines + Activities packet. This packet includes 150 daily quick-lessons! The packet also includes 150 response sheets. These sheets can be used loose, placed into a 3-ring binder/folder, printed 2-to-1 page for a composition notebook, or printed at 90% and placed in a spiral notebook. Simply print the lesson rings and corresponding sheets.
This packet is designed to offer an engaging and FUN way to explore fine motor! This packet can be used to supplement your morning work, centers, intervention, or as a whole-group fine motor curriculum. Each week the students will work on activities that are divided into 5 categories:
- wrist and hand
- hand and finger
Snag this packet ON SALE by clicking HERE or the image below!
Get a look of all 150 activities below! Snag these activities HERE.
BONUS Freebie [dough task cards]
This is an exclusive freebie to my blog! This is a set of dough task cards + the matching dough quick tasks poster. Use these task cards to offer students a guided approach to fine motor work using dough. There are 12 dough task cards included in the free download.
Students will complete the tasks using dough. Students will get the opportunity to roll dough balls, roll dough snakes, squish the dough, cut the dough, and more. Download the free dough task cards HERE.
Have an amazing week! Reach out anytime with questions!
Tara West – – LITTLEMINDSATWORKLLC@GMAIL.COM