Bordentown Regional School District

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Activities that Help Develop Motor Skills

Activities that Help Develop Bilateral Coordination:

  • Bopping a balloon back and forth or popping bubbles with both hands
  • Tearing/ crumpling tissue paper, cotton balls (create a craft, etc.)
  • Connecting/ separating construction toys; magnetic blocks, Mega blocks, pop-beads, Legos
  • Playing catch/ throw games to encourage coordinating both hands
  • Pinching, pulling, squeezing, play-doh (finding hidden objects, etc.); as well as using the play-doh “tools”
  • Playing with a Zoom Ball
  • Stringing uncooked pasta on yarn or beads on pipe cleaners/ string
  • Snipping/ cutting with scissors- yarn, string licorice, play-doh, construction paper (thicker), coupons, etc.
  • Lacing activities/ games- i.e. use hole punchers with craft projects and have the child lace string/ yarn through the holes
  • Mr. Potato Head
  • Frosting cookies with a butter knife, spreading peanut butter on crackers/ toast
  • Stirring batter/ mixture for baking (one hand holds while other hand stirs)

Activities that Help Develop Fine Motor Skills:

  • Tennis balls with a 2-inch slit in it. Hold the ball between thumb and fingers and squeeze the ball to open the mouth. Place bingo chips or coins in, one at a time. After all chips/coins are in hold the mouth open and shake out the chips/coins.
  • Playing with play-doh (squash it, squeeze it, roll it, pound it)
  • Painting, coloring, and drawing at an easel or paper taped to the wall, or have them lie on their stomach when completing these tasks.
  • Use a spray bottle to water plants
  • Hold three coins in your palm. Move one coin from palm to fingertips and place in a container without dropping the other coins.
  • Make an "OK" sign with your thumb and index finger. Link your fingers with a partner and play tug-of-war games.
  • Do arts and crafts (ripping and crumpling paper into tiny pieces or gluing small objects such as beans is a great way to develop finger control/strength).
  • Use tweezers to pick up small items (you can practice counting with this activity too).
  • Place clothespins on a box or rope. You can work on simple words by writing a word on the box and placing the matching picture on the clothes pin.
  • Use a hole-puncher to punch holes around a paper plate then thread with yarn.
  • Place buttons/beads on a pipe cleaner
  • Peeling off stickers
  • Placing/removing rubber bands on/off a ball, doorknob or cone.
  • Mint tin magnets – write a sight word on a slip of paper and place it on the inside of the lid. Using small magnetic letters use your thumb and index finger to build the word inside the box.
  • Spooning marbles, beans, or rice (place items in a box/bowl on the left. Have your child spoon the items into a box/bowl on the right)
  • Baking – Have your child assist you with pouring ingredients into the mixing bowl. This helps with wrist control and hand-eye coordination.
  • Sand art – Have your child paint a picture with glue. Using the pincer grasp, pinch colored sand and sprinkle over the picture covered in glue.
  • Card games
  • Wet coin game – Place wet coins on a smooth surface. Name a coin (i.e., quarter, dime, nickel, and penny) and have your child pick that coin up using thumb and index finger.
  • Water a coin – Using an eyedropper have your child see how many drops of water they can fit onto each coin.
  • Sign language – Practice the alphabet using the American Sign Language manual alphabet to help develop finger isolation
  • Pencil gymnastics – hold the pencil and scoot your fingers up and down the pencil shaft. Turn the pencil over from point to eraser and back using only one hand.
  • Insert toothpicks into a strainer (turned upside down) to create designs

Activities that Help Develop Scissor Skills:

  • Roll out play-doh into long hot dog/snake and snip them into small pieces.
  • Cut pipe cleaners into small pieces (can be used in a craft later).
  • Cut straws into small piece (you can thread them with yarn later to make a necklace or use in a craft)
  • Practice cutting out thick straight, curved, wavy lines.
  • Hold a small ball in the non-dominant hand and turn it using only one hand. This will help develop in-hand manipulation skills needed for your child to turn the paper when cutting out shapes/ pictures.
  • Make snips around a paper plate. Hold the scissors with dominant hand. Make snips around the plate while the non-dominant hand turns the plate (remember…always keep a thumbs up position).

Activities that Help Develop Visual Motor/Perceptual Skills

  • Puzzles
  • Hidden Pictures
  • Mazes
  • Flashlight tag (Sit/ lie on floor. Have your child try to catch your flashlight light with their own flashlight)
  • Coloring
  • Tangrams