Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beat the Heat: Fine Motor Fun

Given the recent scorching temperatures, we haven't been able to spend a lot of time outside during the day.  My kids have been getting a little stir crazy, so I decided to revert back to "teacher mode" and bust out some fine motor activities to keep them busy.  After all, you can only color, paint, and play with Play-dough so long before the troops get restless.  Most of these activities are inexpensive and can be used over and over again!

Colander and Pipe Cleaners

I have a friend who was a former early childhood teacher as well.  She has a great website full of ideas. You can view her site here.  One day, I saw that she had busted out her colander and some basic pipe cleaners and let her girls have fun.  I thought my younger two might really enjoy this activity and it turns out I was right!  Once they had moved on from putting them into the holes to decorating the bedroom with them, we did a little extension activity.  I asked the princess to gather all of the pink pipe cleaners, red pipe cleaners, etc. until she had picked them all up.  She thought it was a lot of fun and took her "job" very seriously.  Even the little guy got in on the action.  Turns out it was a great imaginative activity as well.  The little guy must have thought they looked like candles on a cake, as we spent a considerable amount of time blowing them out.

Pipe cleaner fun

Sun Catchers 
One of my favorite craft supplies is tissue paper.  It can be used for a wide variety of projects and I always have some on hand.  This week we made some ice cream cone sun catchers.  I cut out an ice cream cone shape from construction paper leaving the outside edges in tact and covered one side with contact paper.  I had the kids place some cut up tissue paper (you can also let them rip it) on the sticky side of the contact paper.  Once they filled the picture all in, we hung it up on our patio door.  Beautiful summer art!


Working hard

The finished product (excuse our outside toys!)

Sticker Names
We have an abundance of stickers in our craft cabinet.  Our kids have created beautiful "sticker pictures" over the years, but this time I decided to give the princess a pre-writing activity to work on.  I wrote her name on a piece of construction paper and asked her to put stickers on the lines.  She worked very hard peeling her stickers off and putting them on the lines for a good twenty minutes, her tongue sticking out as she concentrated so hard on her task.  I was impressed with her attention span on this project, as it's usually quite short!   

The concentration!

All done!

Poms and Tins

My little guy loves to be in the kitchen, especially when I am trying to make dinner.  I have begun to give him activities to keep him busy and give him the opportunity to "cook" while I am busy doing the same.  We are using poms to fill up our Kindness Jar and as luck would have it we had just filled it up.  That meant I had a lot of poms sitting around to keep him busy!  I got out my cupcake tins and told him to go to work making his own cupcakes.  He worked hard on this for awhile, but had to be stopped when he tried to put his cupcakes into my oven.  Yikes!  If your kids are a bit older, you could make this activity more challenging by having them pick up the poms with tongs.

Making some dessert!

Easy Letter Practice

My oldest son is getting ready for kindergarten and loves to practice his letters.  A wonderful activity for all three of my kids is the Aquadoodle.  He loves to practice his letters on it, as it is a big workspace and pretty forgiving!  After all, if he makes a mistake, it will disappear in a few minutes.  I love that it folds up and can be easily stored.  I learned from a friend that they sell extra pens for it as well.  I need to pick some of those up so all of the kids can play together.

Practicing his "kindergarten" name

While it may be hot outside, there are plenty of activities you can do to keep those kiddos busy and engaged!  Use your imaginations, as most any safe household item can be turned into some kind of art!

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