In this week's S.M.A.R.T. Tips for Parents, we’re sharing Fine Motor activities. These activities will focus on using the thumb and index finger and help develop the coordination needed for writing and self care.
Instead of throwing out old parmesan containers, keep your child entertained while you get dinner together by having them put straws in the empty container. Or give them a colander and pipe-cleaners.
Kids love playing with tools and matching nuts and bolts. This activity helps children identify sizes and develop the fine motor skills that lead to writing.
At the end of the school year we usually have quite a few pencil top erasers leftover and we love building towers, use the erasers to stack dice!
When it’s raining outside, go fishing with tweezers or a clothespin. Put small items like buttons or pom-poms in a bowl and “catch” them with tweezers or a clothespin. Once you “catch” a fish, move them into the “boat” (another container).
When you notice your child getting wiggly, distracted, or avoiding their work, we recommend adding a quick movement break. You could use a box to create a movement die, or borrow one from a favorite game. Have your child roll the die to determine the type of movement!
Check out our Pinterest board for more movement break activities!
Build a Tunnel Maze!
Creeping on hands and knees is one of the most important S.M.A.R.T. Activities. Use your shipping boxes to create a fun tunnel maze for your child to creep through!
Plot a Home Course!
Use tape to plot out a course in a small room or even throughout several rooms! We recommend low tack painters tape because it is easy to apply and remove.
Use a sticker chart to help you keep track of your child’s movement activities. Download our Movement Chart to help you remember to include movements each day!
In this week's S.M.A.R.T. Tips for Parents, we take a look at vision activities!
Smooth eye movements are critical for reading, so developing them while children are young is important. The great news is it can be FUN! While working on letters, have your child trace the letter with a car. As they are tracing the letter, their eyes will be following the movement of the car. Check out these links for more ideas!
More Eye Movement Activities!
Bubbles and Spring go together like peanut butter and jelly. Have your child chase the bubbles OR pop them with their nose!
Develop Eye-Hand Coordination!
Grab a paper plate and a plastic fork to make a Badminton racket for a quick game of Balloon Badminton. Developing eye-hand coordination helps with writing.
Check out these links for more ideas:
Make an Eye Movement Maze!
Play Flashlight Tag!
After lights out, play Flashlight Tag by having 1 light “chase” the other around the room. You begin by pointing your light onto a specific object, then have your child “tag” your light with theirs. Next have your child select an object to point and you follow by “tagging” their light. Then just keep the fun going! This is such a fun game to play on rainy days or before bedtime!
Encourage your child to hold onto the rung of the Monkey Bars by wrapping their fingers and thumb around the rungs like when they hold onto the handlebar of a bicycle. Using this grip supports the development of the fine motor muscles used when writing!
Is there any feeling better than the 1st time you made it all the way across the Monkey Bars? Help your child to be successful by guiding them across or, even better, starting 2-3 rungs from the end so they can finish.
When your child begins practicing the Monkey Bars they may form blisters on their hands. It is best to wait until the blisters are healed before doing this activity again. We find limiting the number of times per day or using batting/golf gloves can help. Eventually they will form calluses which prohibit blisters. We love seeing the calluses because it means they are finding success with this wonderful activity!
Once your child is able to make it across the Monkey Bars you can think about other fun things to add as they make their way across. They could practice reciting their telephone number, one number for each bar. You could even get some sight word practice in, outside on a sunny day, by taping small pieces of paper with the words onto the rungs. Use your creativity, your kids will love it!
Keep on Creeping!
This week's S.M.A.R.T. Tips for Parents is all about variations and new ways to do the activities. Change up creeping by creating a carwash made of boxes, or throw a bunch of pillows on the floor to creep over. There's lots of ways to keep the activities engaging and fresh!
Keep on Crawling!
Crawling races are so much fun! If you have multiple children encourage them to race one another! On those beautiful, warm, spring days, children can crawl down a slip ‘n slide, or, on those rainy days, crawl over bubble wrap.
Continue Balance Beam Work!
Changing the Balance Beam can be as easy as having your child hold a pool noodle over their head while walking the “tightrope” or pausing to stand on 1 foot. Maybe ask them to recite a math fact or spelling word while pausing!
Continue Pencil Roll Work!
Pour the pieces of a simple puzzle onto the floor. Then have your child select a piece, roll over to the puzzle board, and insert the selected piece...and repeat! OR have your child imagine they are mashing the potatoes while they roll (you can even give them a potato masher to hold while rolling over a “pile of potatoes”).
We start Hopscotch by hopping on 2 feet (feet together, feet apart). When we master that we move to hopping on 1 foot (1 foot, 2 feet apart)
You can create a Hopscotch for your child by using foam squares, chalk on a sidewalk, or even SOCKS!! Share your inventive Hopscotch grids with us!
Variety is the spice of life so we’re sharing Hopscotch variations from Parents.com and Housing A Forest for you to try!
Check out this demo that pairs dribbling and spelling words for a quick easy learning ladder.
Household Learning Ladders
Use what you have around the house to make a Learning Ladder. Post-it notes and flashcards work well when creating ladders. You could also try taping an index card to a magnet.
Learning Ladders are a great way to address information your child is learning.
Learning Ladders can be created by using dry erase markers on the sliding glass door! Your child can get outside and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine while learning. (If the weather isn't cooperating you can do this activity from inside the house too.)
If you don’t have a lot of space, finding places to Alligator Crawl can seem overwhelming. In smaller classrooms, teachers have students crawl under tables or desks. Crawling under or through things naturally encourages children to stay low.
Having a simple S.M.A.R.T. course at home helps “get the wiggles out” and improves focus.
Take the course outside! Include many fun SMART activities you have learned thus far!
With the majority of playgrounds closed, find a hill to roll down!