Fine Motor Skills


My students with special needs are notorious for having poor fine motor skills.  BUT, many of the young children that enter school now also have fine motor deficits of one kind or another.  The best exercise for them is having them try and do for themselves rather than automatically doing it for them .. which is what most kids with fine motor problems want you to do because it's hard for them.  So take the time to work with them on the skill that they "can't do" and have them practice doing it.  Cathie shared the push pinning activity below that's an excellent activity for increasing fine motor skills.  In my search for just the right place to share her idea at The Virtual Vine, I decided to just create a new page with tips for teachers or parents who are looking for activities or strategies to help their children in this area.  I'll be collecting ideas and adding them here as I go along.


New additions to the page will be indicated below the "What's New?" icon at the bottom of the page.

Push Pinning Activity: Have you ever heard of push pinning? It is a work that is done in the Montessori classroom that I think is incredibly helpful for every child.  They also love it!

You create a push pinning pad made of the padding from under a carpet or a piece of indoor/outdoor carpeting with the edges taped with plastic tape so it does not fray. I make mine 5 1/2 inches square. Then create for the child a piece of construction paper the same size as the pad with a simple outline drawn on it in regular or white pencil. The child chooses the one he want to do from the generic supply, places the construction paper on the pad and using a push pin, pokes along the line making the pokes very close together. The end result is a perforated shape that can be pushed out, pasted onto a piece of  picture story paper, draw the rest of the picture around it and write about it. Or,,, just held it up to the light to see the effect. Some teacher have a tree branch in the classroom hanging from the ceiling and they hang the push pinned shapes on the tree for the month.

The child can only hold the push pin using a correct three finger grasp so it is excellent motor control. It also builds concentration as well as fine motor control. You can do shapes, countries, seasonal shapes etc. The variety is endless.

I have them available for all seasons. September we do the leaf shapes in the real colors that they turn in the fall. October is a black bat or an orange jack-o-lantern, or a white ghost. I use the shapes in the shape stencil box made by Trend and sold at Staples I think. They are a bit bigger than my paper but fit fine.  Usually I have parents trace them. I have two set ups for this work so two children can do it together. It is very popular work and I really think it helps!  ~ contributed by Cathie Perolman

Use of:

* playdough

* tweezers

* lacing cards

* small manipulatives

* small blocks

* puzzles

* scissors

* writing & coloring utensils

* sewing cards

* tongs

* clothespins

* plastic jars with screw-on lids

* glue tops are great because they're small

* folding and tearing paper

* keyboard

* stringing beads

* glitter

* glue

* buttoning/unbuttoning different size buttons

* snapping

* cutting different textures .. felt, cloth, posterboard, paper, etc.

* writing on textured surfaces, not slick.  Sidewalk chalk is great as well as chalkboards as opposed to whiteboards



To increase motor strength in writing: Place a sheet of paper on top of a piece of plastic canvas. (That is the material that is sold in every color in craft store that has a bunch of little holes. It is really for sewing.) A child needs to press harder with a crayon to get a solid mark. This was taught to me by an occupational therapist and works well with tracing shapes/numbers/letters etc. as well as coloring. ~ contributed by Cathie Perolman

Lacing: Purchase cheap vinyl placemats and cut into shapes if desired.  Punch holes around the edges using a holepunch.  Provide appropriate length shoelaces to lace through the holes.




last updated 3.17.05


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