1. Scooping and Pouring
This can be as easy as putting something small in one bowl and having your child scooping and pouring it into another bowl. Any plastic storage container would work well. (Hint: one with a lid would allow youth store it in a closet for future use.)
2. Using Paint Brushes
Small children love to brush anything on paper.Tempera paint, watercolors, even glue! When my children were small, I often provided them with tinted glue (glue mixed with food coloring or paint) and any objects that they could stick to glue. Our kitchen table doubled as an art table and they loved it!
3. Cookie Cutter Stamping
Grab your cookie cutters and a tray of paint and watch your child enjoy stamping! Don’t be surprised if the cookie cutter slides back and forth on the paper, too. That’s part of the fun!
4. Drawing with Markers
There are so many different colors of makers out there and kids love them! They are portable, too, so you can pull these out with a pad of paper at a restaurant, while waiting for an appointment, and while traveling in the car.
Sprinkling small items is great exercise for the fingertips! One of our toddler and preschool favorites is sprinkling rice onto glue. You don’t even need the glue and paper, though. Provide a tub of rice or other small materials and watch as the finger sprinkle them.
If you have medicine droppers handy, clean them out and use them for transferring water from one container to another! You can also use clear plastic pipettes.
7. Stamps and Ink Pads
This was another favorite of my own children, and all of my preschoolers have enjoyed it as well. Provide children’s washable ink pads and small stamps with paper.
Threading is such an easy way to encourage fine motor development, and very relaxing as well. Keep a box of lacing beads or straws available with lacing yarn for some quiet time.
9. Brushing with Q-Tips
Holding a Q-Tip (cotton swab) is a wonderful way to develop that pincer grasp. We love to use them with glue and watercolors and even on the easel!
10. Wadding Paper
Provide small pieces of tissue paper and encourage your child to wad it into a ball with the thumb and fingers. Our preschoolers then like to press them into glue.
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