You Will Need From Your Kit:
- Thick stock paper
- mini plastic container
- hole puncher
You can purchase this activity as part of Miss Mancy’s Summer Days Activity Kit!
Step 1: Use puzzle included in this kit to measure the size of a square on card stock paper.
Step 2: Cut out the square and then cut it in half to create 2 triangles
Step 3: Use the hole puncher to make 3 holes on the short edge of the triangle
Step 4: Use stickers to decorate the triangle on both sides and weave the dowel in the holes to create a sail
Step 5: Make a small ball with some playdoh
Step 6: Mold the dough at the top of the small container to create a small “mountain” . Make sure it sticks well
Step 7: Create your sailboat by sticking the dowel into the dough!
This activity incorporates many fine motor skills that children use at school.
Cutting works on bilateral coordination skills while using the hole puncher mimics the opening and closing motion of scissors. This helps children that have difficulty with cutting skills. The resistance of the hole puncher also helps strengthen little hands.
The rolling the playdoh helps with finger isolation and peeling stickers works on creating a neat pincer. These fine motor skills help children with dexterity.
Miss Mancy Summer classes at the Social Mind Center have been doing great! The kids are really enjoying everything they are getting their hands on! I wanted to share with you some of the most popular Art projects we did. I like that they can accommodate various skill levels.
1- Cool Self-portraits!
You Will Need:
- Large white paper
- Pencil and eraser
- Black Sharpie marker
- Water colors
This is a really fun group project. Children get to work together on each others projects! (Great social skills building activity!)
I start by pairing up 2 students together.
Place a large piece of paper on the table in front of each child.
Have the children take turns using a PENCIL to trace each others hands towards the top half of the paper. (Works on tracing skills)
You can then put the paper on the floor and have them trace each others feet (with shoes on) at the bottom half of the page.
I like to then use a black marker and go over the traces to make sure they look ok and have children erase the pencil marks. (Erasing is a great way to strengthen little fingers and teach graded finger control, you have to erase firmly but gently otherwise you can tear or crumple paper)
Each child then adds a face and body to the hands/feet.
I like to have children use watercolors to paint their drawings. Kids LOOOOVE the final product!!!!
2- Pollock-inspired Drip Painting!
You Will Need:
- Large black construction paper
- Acrylic Paints
Based on Jackson Pollock’s unique style of drip painting, the kids explored paint in a whole new, liberating way!
This is a wonderful sensory activity. It does get messy so be ready!
Do this activity outdoors.
Place black or white pieces of paper on the ground.
Provide kids with acrilyc paints (water them down a little to syrup consistency if needed)
Give each child a paint brush that they dip in the paint and splash away!!!! Let the fun begin!
By framing these paintings, they make such a great art piece to expose!
I love this activity because it’s great for children with tactile sensitivities (those that don’t like to get dirty) and there’s no right or wrong. No “rules” to follow so this is great for all levels.
We have an Art Exposition at Social Mind Center where all children get a chance to expose their work of art. The Pollock Paintings allow children with lower skills to participate in these Expos.
3- Cloud Painting!
You Will Need:
- White paper
- Shaving cream
- Food coloring
- Paintbrush (or any thin stick)
- Wide popsicle stick
This is a wonderful multi-step sensory activity for kids of all abilities.
Begin by having children spread shaving cream on the table (keep enough thickness)
Squeeze drops of food coloring across the shaving cream.
Use a paintbrush or stick to drag the food coloring across the shaving cream (do not mix all colors together they will become a brown uniform color, we want to see the separation of colors)
Place a white sheet of paper over the shaving cream and press sown firmly
Use the side of a wide popsicle stick to remove by scraping all shaving cream from the paper.
This creates your final product! A beautiful rainbow colored paper!
Note: we used a second piece of paper across the shaving cream a second time and it created a similar but lighter masterpiece!
4- Modern Mosaics
You Will Need:
- Black construction paper and another two of contrasting color
- Washi tape of various colors
- Glue and scissors
This is a great activity to teach cutting skills especially to little ones. The idea here is to cut without following any lines so this makes it easy at various levels.
Begin with a blank piece of black construction paper.
Have children stick tape of various colors to cover the black paper.
Children then cut this into small pieces (to resemble broken glass)
Here we decided to stick the mosaic pieces on each child’s first letter of their name.
I drew the letter (in reverse) on the back of a piece of blue construction paper and roughly cut around the letter, leaving a 1 inch edge.
Flip over the paper (the letter will be on the back of the construction paper) and ask children to glue pieces of mosaics to cover the entire cut out.
Once dry, flip the paper over and now cut out the letter on the lines. When you flip back, you will have a perfect letter with clean edges.
We stuck the letters on a different color construction paper and added a border with washi tape.
So easy and so pretty!
1- Begin with good scissors. i.e the blade is not too long, scissors are easy to open. Use Left-handed scissors for left- handed children (the blade opens up on the opposite side). Personally I like Fiskars with the round thumb opening and oval (wider) opening for other fingers.
2- Position fingers correctly. This means make sure children use a thumbs up approach when cutting. Most children do not pay attention to the positioning of scissors…teach it! I show them the different sized holes and I tell them that the thumb goes in the small opening and other fingers in the larger opening. Teach it, teach it, teach it!!!
3- While cutting, make sure children keep the thumb up (ie the wrist is supinated, never pronated), their arm close to the body and the wrist in neutral (never flexed).
4- Begin with resistive mediums such as playdoh, straws, card stock then graduate to thinner paper.
5- Always start with Prep activities to cutting. Here are some that I use: I like putty for strengthening and finger awareness. I also use tools that mimic the open/ close motion of scissors or mimic the cause and effect of squeezing a tool to get an outcome ex: hole puncher, spray bottle, clothespins, tweezers, egg holder, grabber.
6- For beginners I highlight a thick line where they have to cut.
7- If a child has a hard time cutting during art project and I want him to still be part of the art project, I use a highlighter to draw a square or circle frame around the picture.
8- Teach cutting in the following order: snip, cut across paper, cut on a straight line, zig zag, curve. For shapes I like to teach square, triangle, circle then complex shape.
9- I like to verbally cue children with a little song as they cut…I’ll say open and close open and close and stop, now turn, open and close etc…I will also remind them to stay on the road!!!
10- Kids can become so focused on the “open and close” motion that they don’t always realize where the scissor is cutting… so I teach it! Are you on the road?
11- If the paper is too large, cut around it, to make it easier for children to manipulate.
Here is a list of my Top 10 Fine Motor Tools along with activities you can do with your little ones.
1. Clothes Pins
Therapeutic Benefit: Strengthens muscles used for a pincer grasp which is a precursor to a tripod grasp on writing utensils (the most efficient type of pencil grasp).
- Pin on animal shapes for legs
- Use for color match
- Pick up items to sort
- Use for number match
- Hang up doll clothing on a hanging ribbon
- Make a cute craft
Therapeutic Benefit: Stickers are small and delicate. They require children to use a neat pincer grasp with the tip of their fingers and to be gentle so as not to crumple the sticker (graded finger control)
- Check my post on 8 ways to use stickers
Therapeutic Benefit: the open and close motion of the hand against a resistive medium helps strengthen the same muscles of the hand that are used for handwriting. Cutting is also an excellent bilateral coordination activity because as one hand cuts with the scissors the other holds and moves the paper (active assist). Furthermore, cutting takes motor planning skills as to plan how to cut out a figure.
- Cut straws to make a necklace
- Make long playdoh hot dogs and snip
- Cut along a maze or a road (great motor coordination activity)
Therapeutic Benefit: Great resistive medium to strengthen little fingers.
- Hide items in the dough and have children find them
- Make a hot dog and cut it with a plastic knife or scissors
- Stick golf tees and balance marbles
- Stick dry spaghetti or skewers and string beads on them (you can do a pattern)
- Roll out dough and used cookie cutters, rolling pins and cutting wheel
- Make little balls with fingers and squeeze
Therapeutic Benefit: These can be used to work on various fine motor skills. When holding the tip of the lace, children work on improving neat pincer grasp. This is an important part of dexterity.
- Teach your child to tie shoelaces using 2 DIFFERENT colored laces
- Make holes on card stock paper and use to teach lacing
- Use for beading to make a necklace
Therapeutic Benefit: The small size of beads provides the opportunity to work on many fine motor skills that require neat pincer grasp. They can also be used for in-hand manipulation skills such as nesting and retrieving.
- Create little critters or Valentine’s hearts using pipe cleaners and beads.
- Make bracelets
- Hide beads in playdoh and look for them (strengthens fingers)
- Use for nesting/retrieving games.
7. Push Pins
Therapeutic Benefits: These can help strengthen neat pincer grasp which in turn is a precursor to a tripod grasp with writing utensils.
- Use push pins to poke around a shape
- Use similar colors to match answers on a cork board
- Poke on playdoh to practice making letters
8. Wikki Stix
Therapeutic Benefits: So many ways to meet therapeutic goals using wiki stic. Check out my post 10 Ways to Use Wikki Stix.
Therapeutic Benefits: This is another great way to strengthen muscles involved in neat pincers grasp which are also used to hold a pencil correctly during handwriting.
- Pick up small items to sort
- Pull out items from playdoh
- Use during counting games to pick up items
- Incorporate in an obstacle course ex: pick up item with tweezers, walk across a balance beam without dropping items.
10. Hole Puncher
Therapeutic Benefit: This is a good tool to strengthen muscles of the hand and also a great activity when teaching cutting skills because the hole puncher mimics the open/close motion of scissors.
- Teach cutting complex figures by hole punching along the shape and cut through the holes.
- Punch out holes from different colored construction paper and use the “confetti” to create a picture or write your name
You Will Need:
- Winter Stamps
- Construction Paper
- Markers and Scissors
- Textured (foam) stickers
Here’s another great way to teach little ones how to cut. I use white construction paper and draw basic shapes such as square, triangle etc…
I like cutting along the shape when im teaching cutting as it helps children cut on the lines more easily. i.e I drew a blue square and before asking my child to cut it out, I cut around it in the shape of a square.
I then ask children to peel and stick foam snowflake stickers on each corner. (This is a great way to work on pincer strength and fine motor skills)
Children then use winter themed stamps (i used snowflakes) and stamp along the line.
I then cue the children as follows:
“Cut across the snowflake” and “Turn when you get to a sticker”.
Here, we cut out a square and kept the scraps. We then used the shapes that we cut out, along with the scraps to form a person by sticking pieces on construction paper.
I draw a box at the top of the page and ask children to name their figure. (Little added handwriting practice)
They then use snowflake stamps to make a snowing scene.
Comes included in MissMancy’s Handwriting Starter Kit. Available for purchase on this site.
Cutting on sticker: place stickers on circular shape and instruct your child to cut through each sticker when cutting. This will teach him to turn and cut.
To move hand when cutting: to teach hand placement /movement when cutting. Space out stickers along the edge of a paper and instruct to cut and move non dominant hand to one sticker at a time from bottom to top.
Where to start letter: For little ones as a reminder where to start their letters.
Dot to dot for letters: place small stickers as dots that children have to connect to make letters.
Spacing: great to teach kids spacing between words. Each sticker accumulated can be worth a point or a min on the Ipad.
Placement on crayon: for kids who can hold a pencil with a tripod grasp I use tiny stickers as a visual reminder as to where fingers go.
Place a sticker and write the word: I like finding out what a child likes ex:sea creatures …I buy cute stickers of the theme they love, I have then stick a few on paper and ask then to write the name of this animal in the box.
Neat pincer with art work: removing small stickers is a great way to work on neat pincer.
And of course let’s not forget that stickers are a great reward!
Highlighters and bright markers are a great handwriting tool!
Comes included in MissMancy’s Handwriting Starter Kit. Available for purchase on this site.
I use them often and many different ways:
- Write a word or letter with highlighter and ask ur child to trace with a pencil. Or make a highlighted dot where u want ur child to start his letters
- For children who have difficulty staying in the lines, highlight the lined paper and say: “Stay in the yellow lines!”
- Always make highlighted boxes to delineate where you want your child to write. This gives them a frame within which they can write (otherwise kids tend to make letters all over the place and different sizes!!!)
- Highlight area to cut and say Stay on the yellow road!
You will need:
- Scissors (I like Fiskars best..available for purchase at MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop)
- Heavy stock paper or construction paper
- Markers or crayons
Here is a really fun way to get ANY child to enjoy cutting. First I draw the face of their favorite character at the top of an 8×3 inch piece of construction paper. I then draw 2 long legs and color the middle yellow.
I then ask the child to cut by staying on yellow so as to create 2 legs for their favorite character! Tada! Simple but fun way to teach early cutting skills.
Note: If you are not artistically inclined, find small characters in coloring books to complete this activity.
You will need:
- Little heart containers (I purchased these at Target)
- Different colored heart shaped plates
- Grabber (I purchased these at Target)
- Paper and Pencil
Children love themes. I always try to come up with an activity for the Holiday that we are celebrating. This becomes very motivating to children. For this activity, I purchased mostly all the supplies at Target. Look around their inexpensive items at the front of the store. It is always filled with Holiday gadgets!!
First, have your child write one letter on a small piece of paper for every heart that you have. Then place one letter per heart container. Then place 2 different colored heart shaped plates on either side of the room and spread out all the little heart containers around the room.
Have your child use the grabber to pick up one heart at a time and carry it over to the matching plate. Using the grabber is a great way to improve your child’s hand and finger strength. The open/closing movement of the grabber is a great prep activity for cutting skills!!
Once your child has picked up all the hearts, let him chose one colored plate with hearts and you then get the other one. He must WIN YOUR HEARTs by guessing the letter in each container!
Give him a clue for each letter. For example, letter E is the first letter for an animal that is big, heavy and has a long trunk…an Elelephant…letter E!
You can also have your child practice his handwriting by copying this word or letter on paper. Continue until your child has WON YOUR HEARTs <3