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Straw Game

 

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Here is a no cost, low prep fine motor activity for you to try with your little ones!

All you need is an empty box; jumbo straws; a skewer or sharp object to poke initial holes; scissors.

Simply poke holes all over the box with the tip of the skewer (make sure little hands don’t get in the way). Each straw should be cut in half so children can have better grip(but I did not cut as I needed to re-use the straws for other activities and My daughter Layla could handle long straws!) I love the size of these jumbo straws. The colours are attractive to little ones as well. Next, I used scissors to make a small cut inside each hole.

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Get your toddler(s) to explore the holes and try to push the straws in the holes on their own. You might notice that your toddler  uses a variety of grasps on the straws while manoeuvring them into the holes. That’s totally fine! This age is all about using the hands to explore and learn through trial-and-error.

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Layla was a little too young to successfully get the straws into the holes, so once she was done pulling, I quickly put the straws back in and she went back to taking them out.

This particular straw-and-cereal box fine motor activity can be used to practice and promote a wide range of fine motor skill

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Pipe Cleaner Fun !

 

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I was so excited to do this fine motor again again with Layla! Rayes did this activity when he was just barely three. Layla seems to enjoy this at 14 months !!

This is a very simple activity. One of the most basic fine motor activities actually. All you need is pipe cleaners and a colander!

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This activity is an ideal challenge for the child who is able to grasp objects with their whole hand or with thumb and index finger, but isn’t quite ready for more refined fine motor activities such as lacing beads on a string. As with many activities, taking the pipe cleaners out is easier than putting them back in, so it provides a natural grading of challenge for kids at a variety of skill levels. However, you might be surprised at how interested your little one may be at trying to place them back in the holes after they have been quickly ripped out.

Putting the pipe cleaners in encourages precise hand movements and higher level hand-eye coordination than lower level play skills such as stacking two blocks or placing pegs in a board.

Have fun trying  with your toddler.

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Fine Motor skills – Marble Transferring activity

One of our favourite activities is this simple marble transferring activity which helps develop hand eye coordination, concentration, fine motor control, and the ability to be persistent when presented with a difficult task.

This activity helps to build the following skills:

  • focus/concentration
  • hand-eye coordination
  • working from left to right (like when we read)
  • doing things in order
  • one-to-one counting
 
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First, set up your activity.  Place marbles  in a dish that is easy for your child to get his hand in and out of.
Make sure the dish with the marbles in it is on the left and the ice cube tray is on the right.   (Remember, we’re working on working from left to right. My little one eventually moved the dish to the right and nothing much i could do about it.!)

 
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Choose one marble and place it in the hole at the top left corner.

Sometimes Rayes tries to sneak two or three marbles in his hand but I don’t let him do that because it usually causes him to lose his concentration and he forgets where the next one goes.

Place the next marble in the hole just to the right of the first marble. The third marble goes in the top right hole.

The fourth marble will go in the second hole down on the left (just under where you put the first marble).

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Continue placing marbles in the holes, one at a time, left to right, until the ice cube tray is full!!

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Then, starting at the top left hole, place the marbles back in the dish, one at a time.  Work in the same pattern  (left to right) as you did when you put the marbles in the holes.

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It is also fun for your kid to count each object as he places it in/takes it out to get in some good one-to-one counting practice.

You can also try this activity with:

  • different ice cube trays
  • different objects (beads, coins, cheerios, small erasers, pom poms etc.)
  • an egg carton instead of an ice cube tray
It may seem a little stingy to have a “right” way to put the objects in the holes, but I’m of the opinion that kids do better when there’s a “right” way to complete an activity. 

Kids (even little kids) know when they’re doing something “right” and they will be more proud of themselves upon completion of the activity and more focused during the activity when following specific guidelines (i.e. left to right, one at a time, etc.). 

I thought Rayes would have a much harder time with this at first but he caught on right away and he was pretty proud of himself when he finally got all the marbles into the trays. !!

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Little Scientist – Pouring with Funnel

Pouring with a funnel!! This is really simple and Rayes loves it. He could do it all day.
This activity promotes the development of motor skills and encourages children to make scientific investigations.

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little scientist

little scientist

Materials needed :- Provide children with a bowl filled with water, an empty bowl/jar/jug, a funnel, a jug with a spout or any other objects such as pipette or eye dropper to transfer the water.

Invite children to move the water from one bowl/jug/jar to the other using the items they’ve been provided with. Transporting the water back and forth will develop fine motor skills, dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Encouraging my son to engage in this water play is an easy task because he loves messy activities.

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Animal Matching

Kids are amazing at learning animal names!! If you have a few animals at your house, then this simple activity is perfect for you.

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Materials needed : Animals (Zoo/Farm/Under the Sea) and animal cards.

the Animal Matching tray

Simply put the matching animal on top of each animal card. It took a few practice rounds for Rayes to get the hang of what I wanted him to do and then once he did ,he had a great time matching all of the animals and then clapping in celebration (Yeay !!!) After all the animals were matched to the correct cards, we played a trivia game.  I asked him to find a specific animal, or find an animal with spots/stripes. He kept mentioning his favourite zoo animal, Zeeeeebbbaaaaaaa !! (Zebra!!)

animal matching

animal matching

This activity is fantastic for getting kids to use their observational skills i.e. zebras have stripes… Giraffes are tall. Rayes absolutely loves this game!! So the animal matching tray is kept on our activity shelf for now.

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Will it float ?

Float activities help to teach concepts such as different objects having different properties. These activities are also a good introduction to science and the idea of answering questions and finding out information by testing. Sink and float activities can be varied for different ages, with younger children simply testing which objects float and which sink.

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little scientist experimenting

Will it float....?

Have your children test objects to see if they sink or float. Provide them with a variety of objects and ask them to think about which ones will sink, and which will float. Let them drop the objects in water and see if they were right.!! After they have done experimenting, get them to wipe down each object, and lay it on a towel to dry (include practical life skills in your fun activity!)

Some of the objects we’ve used include:

  • bath toys
  • rocks
  • coins
  • bath crayons
  • paper and stickers
  • spoons
  • toys (cars, trains,blocks)
  • soaps
It was fun to see Rayes plopping each object into the water, first predicting whether the object would sink or float. He was thrilled the entire time, shrieking, “It ssssinks!”(it sinks) or, “It floooots!” (it floats). This has become a favorite activity now, and it’s been so interesting to see what new objects he wants to experiment with.!!
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Counting candles on play dough cupcakes

Who doesn’t love a birthday cake? Use this fun idea to help your little one work on addition and quantity.

Happy Birthday to you.... Blow !!!

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counting candles

Materials needed : give your little one playdough, some candles and  silicone cupcake cases.

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Begin by making a cake/cupcakes out of playdough with your child. Let your child put candles on the cake, count them and ask your child to place numbers next to each cupcake.

He had great fun plunging the candles into the playdough. We sang the Happy Birthday song and he blew out the candles on the cake. Rayes enjoyed doing this and did lots of blowing, something which is great for developing the muscles around the mouth needed for speech development.