1. The Post Box
Floss and I had a lovely time at a friend’s house this week with another little one around the same age. She’s beginning to show some ability to play alongside others – unless we want exactly the same thing! They’d been given a hand-me-down penguin with shapes that you slot into the top of his head. Floss loved it! She happily sat pushing these shape tokens in for 5 minutes or so and returned to it several times. We don’t have a penguin, so when I got home I cut a hole in the top of a box that was the right size for Floss’s Grapat coins and rings.
I left it out for Floss with a few coins and rings scattered around. For over 30 minutes she sat pushing coins and rings through this slot. I was interested to see that if she held a coin at a different angle – and it wouldn’t fit straight into the slot – she moved the box to match the angle she wanted, rather than move the coin. Soon she began to see what else could fit. Lots of things didn’t, but one of her mini cymbals did and instantly the little box was shook and Floss began dancing – a new instrument was born!
I love no cost ideas like this – any box will do – any items will do. Great fine motor skills being developed, hand eye co-ordination and problem solving. An extension for older children would be for you to drop objects in and get your child to listen for the drops and tell you how many objects they think you put in. Then you can open the box and count the objects.
2. Window of Wonder
I’ve seen pictures of this on Instagram and Pinterest and never given it a go. We used book covering film and masking tape – £1 shop purchases and I’d been given a stack of neon paper from a friend that I chopped randomly up into small pieces. Floss had a fabulous time. I expected it to be a fine motor activity, but at the height I’d put the frame, it was a great gross motor activity too as Floss crouched to get the little pieces of paper and stood up to stick them on. When I repeat this activity I’d put the top a little out of reach to encourage Floss to stretch up on tip toes.
Floss was engrossed in adding these small little pieces of paper to the sticky background for quite a while until she began to just touch the sticky background. She then touched the window and the curtain and back to the sticky background. A small little piece of paper was then placed on the window – ‘oh’ she said when it fell to the floor. She repeated the experiment with the curtain – ‘oh’ again. ‘No, no, no,’ she turned and said to me. Then, turning back to the sticky background, she stuck on the paper and nodded her head to me. I hadn’t expected our crafty, fine motor activity to turn into a science experiment. Wow – little ones are so cool! Floss’s cousin Mr B came over and loved playing alongside Floss with this. He preferred to try and remove the paper, while she was sticking it up – all good fine motor practise!
3. Loose Parts
There has been a stone in each hand for most of this morning. I can’t blame her the simple, smooth, rocks are fabulous. I teamed them up with some old favourites – Grapat coins, nursery rhyme stones and wooden stars. Now you may think they’ve all just been thrown in a pile, but they were carefully placed where they are. If I went over to the construction Floss would say ‘no, no, no’ (I wish I could describe better how she says this – it’s too cute, it’s a soft whisper with an almost French accent), a protective eye over her work. Every home should have loose parts.
4. New New New
We’ve introduced a new puzzle this week. It’s gone down very well. The pieces are a good size for little hands and I love the fact they can be used as small world pieces and not just with the puzzle. The caterpillar has been a particular challenge. Floss can now distinguish between the big and small butterfly and when asked can identify the different insects.
5. Great Resource
When I was teaching I found the book – Finger Gym by Galina Dolya and Judy Holder – incredibly useful for ideas to support fine motor development. There are oodles of ideas that not only support motor development, but I also found them great for language development too. I’ve started to use some of the activities with Floss and she’s really enjoying them.
As always, I would recommend adult supervision with activities and take care to ensure the items you are using are suitable for your child in both age and development. The views expressed are my own.
Floss is 18 months old – Mr B is 13 months old.