Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

Inside: Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love -These are our favorites with our 2 and 3 year olds!

After teaching for as long as I have (almost 2 decades as I write this), I’ve done a lot of observing toddlers and preschoolers at the sensory bin. No matter how we set that bin up, no matter how many hours we’ve thought of ways to add on to it, no matter all the little details we are so excited to add, there is one must.

There must be tools and materials that allow scooping and pouring.

That is what they love most about the sensory bin.

And so, I’m going to share our top 7 fall sensory bins toddlers and preschoolers love.

That all involve scooping and pouring.

That work perfectly with your fall theme.

 

Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

Our favorites, in no particular order.

1. Quick and Easy Fall Sensory Bin

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Once you add the dyed rice, fill the bin with whatever fall materials you have!

LINK: Here’s a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

2. Apple Literacy Sensory Bin

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Add some alphabet pebbles to your apple sensory bin for some letter recognition.

LINK: Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

 

3. Fun Fall Farm Sensory Bin

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Have fun scooping and pouring corn kernels while also playing with the farm animals.

LINK: Fun Fall Farm Sensory Bin

4. Fall Pom Poms and Leaves Sensory Bin

Fine Motor Sensory Bin for Fall

Sort fall colored pom poms and scoop them into the matching-colored containers!

LINK: Fun Fall Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

 

5. Apple Cinnamon Sensory Bin

This fragrant sensory bin can be adapted for toddlers and preschoolers!

LINK: Fall Apple Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

6. Sunflower Sensory Bin

In early fall, while sunflowers are being harvested, invite your toddlers and preschoolers to have fun with this sensory bin.

LINK: Preschool Sensory Bin with Sunflowers

 

7. Halloween Sensory Play

Pumpkins and orange tea lights are part of this fun Halloween sensory bin.

LINK: Halloween Sensory Play for Preschoolers

 

Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

 

I am proud to be a co-author of this awesome book, Learn with Play!

A giant collection of hands-on activities!

The perfect book to have on hand for inspiring you on holidays, weekends, or anytime the kids just need something to do!

More information: Learn with Play

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers (Free Printable)

Inside: You must try this awesome muddy pig sensory art for toddlers! Well, preschoolers, too! And everything is contained in the bag during the process. How cool is that?

My toddlers have been obsessed with farm books this year. Have you found that to happen with your little ones? They get so hooked on one type of book that they want you to read it over and over again?

And it’s not just farm books. Finger plays and songs, too!

So, I came up with what I had hoped would be a fun sensory art activity.

Muddy pigs.

I was inspired by my no-mess pumpkin art that is going crazy right now. I decided to try a similar method, this time using a pig printable (provided for you at the end of this post), paint, and shaving cream.

Huge hit!

Click here to pin.

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

I am always looking for activities that expose our toddlers to different textures. Even better if it gets their little fingers moving. I had already introduced them to pressing tissue paper squares on sticky paper.

 

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

What You Will Need to Make Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

How to Make Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art

I printed the pig on light pink paper and then cut it out.

I had 1 plastic bag for each child, ready to go with names on the bags.

See the details in this video:

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

I then squirted some of the brown tempera paint as well as the shaving cream into the bag.

I sealed each bag after adding the paint and shaving cream.

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

Pat, Pat, Pat!

The room was filled with patting noises as our toddlers patted and mixed the shaving cream on top of their pigs, inside the bag.

Those little hands were so busy!

They just kept on patting the tops of their bags until they decided they were finished and wanted to move on to something else.

Related: Freezer Bag Painting

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

Let Them Dry

As our toddlers finished patting their bags, I tossed them on the counter. I knew I could deal with the next process after I said goodbye to my little friends that day.

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

Once the last child had departed, I opened each bag and pulled the painted pigs out, placing them on trays to dry.

I then rinsed out each bag so that it could be used for another project. Why add to the waste if we can reuse them? (And I already have another activity in mind using the same bags. My mind never stops, I tell you!)

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

One Last Step (Optional)

I decided to place the muddy pigs onto green paper using a glue stick. This made them a bit sturdier for displaying in our classroom, plus the pigs were more visible against the colored paper.

 

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

And there you go! Process art that combines fine motor and sensory – at the art table! We love our awesome muddy pigs!

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

Don’t forget to download your free pig printable!

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers

 

Need some tips for toddler art? Check this out:

Easy Art Tips for Toddlers

PLAY: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

Parents, do you have a busy 2 year old that is getting into just about everything?

You’ve decided to try to do a craft, but what what will it be? And do you have time to get to the store and gather all the ingredients?

We’ve got the perfect solution!

Toddler Play Activities

PLAY: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

These are 35 hand-chosen activities that you can do with your toddler. A simple 15 minutes worth of time that will keep your toddler busy while you are both connecting to each other.

More information: PLAY: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Here’s a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Inside: Here’s a quick way to put together a fall sensory bin so that you aren’t running around at the last minute trying to find all the materials. You will feel much more organized!

Sometimes we have this great idea for the classroom, but end up exhausting ourselves as we rush around trying to gather materials.

You have this idea in your head. You might have thought about it while drinking coffee from your to-go cup as you headed to work. You might have thought about it days before, but forgot to gather everything together beforehand. Or maybe the idea you had in your head simply wasn’t coming together as you had planned.

When this happens, you end up feeling defeated before you’ve even opened your classroom door to greet your toddlers and preschoolers.

After having this happen to me countless times, I decided I needed a plan. And I was going to start this plan with a fall sensory bin that I just knew our children would love.

And it started with dyed rice.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Here’s a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Toddlers and preschoolers love to scoop and pour, so I first think about what the base of our sensory bin will be. I love using rice because we can easily color it to match the theme or season, and we can save it for another use. Since our preschool consists of 4 different classrooms, we share what we use. We have a dedicated shelf in our storage room that contains gallon-size Zip-Lock bags that are filled with different colors of rice. It really makes it easy to plan ahead when the rice is already dyed and ready to go.

But How to Dye Rice?

It’s easy!

  • Grab a gallon sized plastic baggie that can be sealed.
  • Pour about a cup of rice inside the bag.
  • Add about a teaspoon of white vinegar.
  • Add as much coloring as desired. (I love using Wilton icing color!)
  • Seal the bag and shake until the rice is coated well.
  • Open the bag and dump the rice onto a paper towel, spreading it out so it’s a very thin layer.
  • Allow to dry thoroughly.

If you want to have different colors of rice, do the above procedure for each color and then, when dry, mix the colors.

Once you have your main ingredient ready to go, it’s easy to gather whatever other items you want to add.

For this fall sensory bin, I added:

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

When I arrived that morning, all I had to do was dump the dyed rice into the sensory bin and add the other materials.

No racing around at the last minute.

I had time to put a few other activities together before greeting the children.

That’s exactly how I like my mornings to start!

How This Fall Sensory Bin is Used

Toddlers will really be into the scooping and pouring. This is always one of their favorite things to do, and it’s a great way to develop those fine motor muscles.

Related: Fine Motor Squeezing Activities

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

At first they will want to use their hands. The feeling of the rice slipping between their fingers is a great sensory experience.

 

You can see that in this video I took in the classroom:

 

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

We talked about how the rice falling into the container sounded like rain.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

As their hands and fingers strengthen, they will start wanting to use the tools that are provided. In this case, it was small scoops. We also provided tweezers for our preschoolers.

We talked about how the rice falling into the container sounded like rain.

Preschoolers will start noticing the other materials in the bin.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

I wanted to add some color sorting, so I found some colored plastic containers at the dollar store that were the same color as the felt apples.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

How to Alter this Activity for Other Themes and Seasons

Once we pack up this sensory bin, the rice can be used for other themes and seasons. For example, this red and green rice can be used again at Christmas along with some big jingle bells and tongs. Brown rice can be used in a gardening sensory bin and also a forest sensory bin. Yellow rice can be used in a sunflower sensory bin as well as a summer weather sensory bin. See what I’m getting at? Make it easy on yourself!

Related: 15 Quiet Time Activities

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Discover the magic of glorious, calm, and peaceful days with kids!

quiet bins for preschoolers

A Year of Educational Quiet Bins: TELL ME MORE ABOUT THEM!

 

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

 

 


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Here’s a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

Inside: Here’s a quick way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills – and it’s fun and easy, too!

I love those moments when you already have an activity planned, not realizing just how much you’d need it.

Yesterday morning our toddlers were a combination of teary, tired and energetic.

I’m sure anyone with toddlers knows how this combination plays out. It can make for a long 3 hours.

But somehow I had foreseen this (okay, perhaps I just got lucky), because I had put together one of our favorite calming activities that just so happens to tap into the fine motor area.

An activity that saved our last 30 minutes of class.

An activity that is one of my favorite ways to strengthen fine motor skills.

Win-win!

 

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Here’s a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

Contact Paper and tissue paper shapes.

That’s all you need for this easy toddler fine motor skills activity.

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

Setting it up:

I needed an activity that could be set up in seconds, because this was happening as soon as we returned from being outside. Since we are only on week 3 in our toddler classroom, we are still working on the waiting part. (Let’s be realistic – this will be the case for the entire school year. Toddlers aren’t wired to wait.)

So, I had like maybe 2 minutes max where I rolled out the Contact Paper, sticky side up, and taped the edges to the table. I grabbed the tissue paper squares and set them beside the Contact paper.

Thankfully I did this as we were headed outside.

Because when we returned to the classroom, I almost lost everyone. That last 30 minutes can be difficult, as the children are getting tired.

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

When we entered the classroom, I invited the children to join us at the sticky paper table. And I held my breath for just a moment, hoping I could pull our toddlers out of what could have been a downward spiral.

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

It worked! Worked like a charm.

Once they realized the paper was sticky, I could not hand them the tissue paper shapes fast enough.

Their little fingers had to pinch the tissue paper, transport it, and then drop and press it onto the sticky Contact paper.

This fine motor activity was such a hit that some of the children stayed at the table for a good 20 minutes. That’s pretty amazing for this age group!

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

Oh, and this fine motor activity has a nice result, too!

After we were finished placing the tissue paper onto the sticky paper, I removed the entire piece from the table, carried it over to our dramatic play area, and pressed the sticky side onto the glass of our window. No additional tape needed. And it’s easy to remove!

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

 

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

I think it adds some fun color to the area!

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

And there you have it. A quick way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills. Easy peasy fun!

 

Watch the video on You Tube:

Here's a Quick Way to Strengthen Toddler Fine Motor Skills

More toddler activities to try:

Easy Art Tips for Toddlers

The Best Books for Busy Toddlers

Playful Toddler Alphabet Activities

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

Inside: 20 learning activities for toddlers that are hands-on and easy to set up!

You are a teacher who is putting together a curriculum for your toddler classroom. Or you are a parent that wants to add some learning to your toddler’s day.

But how?

It’s really much easier than you probably think. You don’t need flashcards. You don’t need fancy materials.

I’ve put together a collection of learning activities that your toddlers will love! And they are learning at the same time!

Activities that are age-appropriate and engage as many senses as possible. These learning activities involve concepts such as shapes, colors, numbers and letters in a fun, playful way. They can be done at home or in a classroom environment, with one child or a group of children.

Easy hands-on fun.

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

 

More fun for toddlers:

Toddler Play Activities

Play: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

These are 35 hand-chosen activities that you can actually do with your toddler. You’ll be guided on how to find that extra 15 minutes (that you don’t have) to make time for the most important part of your life: your family.

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Fine Motor Squeezing Activities for Preschoolers

Parents are concerned if their preschoolers cannot write.  Their preschoolers might get frustrated when given writing tools. Hold on! Their little hands and fingers need to be strengthened. Good news! I have a collection of fine motor squeezing activities for preschoolers that can do just that.

We start working on strengthening fine motor skills in with our toddlers. You know those puzzles with the knobs? And play dough? Yep, that’s a start! But even as they transition from a toddler to a preschooler, their hands and fingers continue to need strengthening.

We work on fine motor activities every day, in playful ways. Our children have no idea the reason behind it, of course. They just know it’s fun!

 Ready to introduce some squeezing activities into your children’s day?

17 squeezing activities to strengthen hands

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Fine Motor Squeezing Activities for Preschoolers

 

 

  1. Preschoolers (toddlers, too) love to transfer water with turkey basters.

  2. Squeeze playdough using a citrus squeezer.

  3. As fingers get stronger, squeeze water using pipettes.

  4. Squeeze and release paint on top of pine cones.

  5. Drip watercolors down a vertical surface.

  6. Press Do-a-Dots with palms of hands on a dry erase board.

  7. Set up a tongs and pom poms activity. (B-Inspired Mama)

  8. Squeeze glitter glue to make calming bottles. (Mess for Less)

  9. Use paint with sponges. (No Time for Flash Cards)

  10. Transfer foam blocks in bowls of water. (Mummy Musings and Mayhem)

  11. Squeeze lemons and make lemonade. (Two-daloo)

  12. Use a sponge to clean the table. (An Everyday Story)

  13. Drop watercolors on coffee filters.

  14. Grab some clothespins to make these dinosaurs. (Teaching Mama)

  15. Squeeze play dough. (Fun at Home With Kids)

  16. Using icing gel pens to decorate cookies. (Craftulate)

  17. Invite your child to wash windows. (Montessori Life as We Know It)

 

17 Squeezing Activities for Strengthening Hands



More hand-strengthening ideas for young children:

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!      Fine Motor with Sunflowers      Fine Motor Threading Activity

 

And here’s more ways to build fine motor skills!

fine motor for preschoolers

Your go-to-guide for everything fine motor related, it’s the perfect resource for parents, teachers, and therapists.

More information: Basics of Fine Motor Skills

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




How to Develop Fine Motor Skills with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Inside this post: How to Develop Fine Motor Skills with Toddlers and Preschoolers

You are a parent wondering why your child isn’t writing his name yet. Or you are a teacher who is looking for ways to strengthen your young students’ hands and fingers in the classroom.

I understand your concern, because I’ve been there. And over the years I’ve found age-appropriate activities that help develop fine motor skills. These can be done in a classroom or at home.

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite toddler and preschool fine motor activities.

how to strengthen fine motor skills toddlers preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

How to Develop Fine Motor Skills with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Here are 6 of our favorite ways to work on fine motor skills:

Play Dough

Playdough is one of the easiest fine motor activities to put together, even for young toddlers. We use playdough with every age group in our preschool, as those little hands and fingers are continuing to develop at every stage.

If you don’t already have a favorite recipe, you can find ours in this post.

fine motor strengthening with play dough

More to read: Fine Motor Squeezing Activity Using Play dough

 

Basters

Squeezing works the smaller muscles in the palm of the hand, as well and the thumb and fingers. We use basters with our toddlers who have less control than our preschoolers.

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

More to read: Toddler Fine Motor Water Activity

 

Pipettes and Eye Droppers

As our toddlers transition to preschoolers, their fine motor control is a bit stronger. Most can begin using pipettes or eye droppers with water or watercolors. A lot of concentration is needed while using these tools, and it can be a nice calming activity for busy children.

Preschool Fine Motor Activity

More to read: Preschool Fine Motor Transferring Activity

fine motor art in preschool

More to read: Fine Motor Watercolor Activity

 

Tongs and Tweezers

Using tongs and tweezers is another wonderful way to work those hands and fingers! We start with tongs because they are easier to squeeze open. As those little hands and fingers get stronger, we switch to tweezers.

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

More to read: Fine Motor Tweezing Activity

 

Threading

Threading beads and using lacing cards also strengthen fine motor development. We start with large stringing beads and eventually switch to cut straws and then pony beads.

Fine Motor Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers

More to read:  Motor Rainbow Craft

 

The Basics of Fine Motor Skills

Because I know how important it is to strengthen those hands and fingers, I’ve partnered with Heather from Growing Hands-On Kids as she launches her brand new book called Basics of Fine Motor Skills.

In Basics of Fine Motor Skills, you’ll learn which skills are important for fine motor development. You will also learn what fine motor development looks in children at all age levels.

 

Preschool Fine Motor Development

This is the perfect resource for parents, teachers, and therapists.

A 70 page PDF/digital download or 90 page paperback option is available. The paperback version is available on Amazon, so if you choose this option you will be redirected to Amazon to purchase.

 

 Click here for more information!


 

how to strengthen fine motor skills toddlers preschoolers

 

More fine motor activities:

Fine Motor Activities That Can Be Done at Home      fine motor activities all year long      preschool writing

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




55+ Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine motor development is an important part of the toddler and early childhood years. In order to learn how to draw and write, the hands must be strong enough to hold writing tools. Fine motor is also necessary for independence. Think about zipping a coat, buttoning pants, opening a door, getting a glass of water. These all require fine muscle control. And yet, according to some studies, children are entering kindergarten lacking fine motor skills. And then the question is asked how? How can we help our young children build strong hands? I hear this question often from my own preschool parents. And so I thought I’d put together a list of 55+ fine motor activities for home.

Yep, over 55 easy ways to help your young children strengthen their break from school skills. Simple ideas your children can do at the kitchen table, in the bathtub, or outside. 50+ fine motor ideas that use simple materials, many of which you already have in your home. Activities that are perfect when your children are on break from school, the weekend, a rainy day, any time!

Fine Motor Activities That Can Be Done at Home

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

This collection of fine motor activities is geared for children ages 2-5. Some will be more suitable for younger children, some for older. Choose the activities you feel are best for your children and build on them as they are ready.

 

55+ Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Bonus! Grab your copy of this fun scissor practice packet:

Preschool Scissor practice activities

32 pages total of scissor practice activities in a age appropriate and developmental sequence. For preschool through 1st graders.  For only $2.99 download your PDF digital product now!

 

 

Join me over at Melissa & Doug’s blog to find more fine motor activities that can be done at home!

Related posts:

Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      how to make math fun for preschoolers      Shape Activities for PreschoolersFine Motor Activities That Can Be Done at Home

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

We love preschool name recognition ideas because names are often the first word a young child learns how to read. I’ve shared how we include literacy activities in all areas of the classroom, and our students’ names included. If you were to walk into our classroom, you’d see names on the wall, on furniture, on cards, on photos, even hanging from the ceiling. Halfway through our school year, many of our 3 year olds are pointing out letters from their names or recognizing their entire names.

 

 

 Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Displaying names:

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Coat hooks:

 

Assigning them to their own hooks gives the preschoolers a sense of ownership. When they arrive in the morning, they find their names to hang their own hooks, placed at their level.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Cubbies:

We have cubbies in the hallway for each of our students in our 2 and 3 year old classes. We also have cubbies inside the classroom for our 3 year olds. Any work they do that doesn’t need to dry immediately goes into their classroom cubbies. They learn quickly where to find their cubbies by looking for their names.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Memory Books:

Names are displayed on the spines of our memory books and stored in our classroom all year.
(Read more about our memory books.)

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Artwork:

We display names beside the children’s work on our bulletin boards.

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Small groups:

At the end of each morning in our 3’s class, we have about 10 minutes of small groups. The children are separated into 4 groups, each group being a different color. As we call the children to their tables, they look for their name cards. We do the same for snack as well.
(Read more about our small groups.)
Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Circle Time:

In our 3’s class, the children have their own personalized stools to sit on. We teachers set the stools out before circle time. As the children are invited to come to circle time, they look for their names.

(Read more about our circle time.)

 

preschool classroom design

 

classroom birthday bulletin board

 

Birthday wall:

At the start of the school year there is a crown above each child’s labeled name. As we celebrate a birthday, the crown is removed. The children are always checking to see whose birthday is next.

 

Activities using our names:

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Sign-in sheet:

When our 3 year olds arrive each morning, they find their name on a clipboard and draw a line from left to right. Eventually some will start writing some letters or their entire names.
Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Name puzzles:

Our 3 year olds love this simple name puzzle activity that we do during our small groups.

(Read more about our name puzzles.)

Preschool Name Recognition

 

Name discovery bottles:

The children placed letter beads into a bottle along with colored rice for a fun letter recognition activity.

(Read more about how we made our name discovery bottles.)

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Do-a-Dots on letters:

The children press Do-a-Dots on the first letters of their names. We also will glue small pieces on letters as well as macaroni, or press stickers on them.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Stamping letters:

We offer upper and lower case letters for children to stamp letters that are in their names.

 

Other activities:

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Cooking activities:

 

We will write their names on individual mixing cups or bowls and serving plates. As they arrive to the table, they find their names and get started.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

 

Items brought from home:

Every so often, we will ask the children to contribute something to an activity. In this case, we were comparing apples before making applesauce. The children found their apples by looking for their names.

(Read more about how we make applesauce.)
Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Valentine’s bags:

After the children make their own bags, we hang them in alphabetical order. With their parents’ help, they deliver their Valentine’s cards to each of their classmates’ bags.

 

Bonus! If your preschooler is ready to practice writing letters, here is a 245 page packet you can download. This packet includes printables for all 26 letters of the alphabet! Click on the photo below for details.

 

Preschool Alphabet Packet

 

More teaching ideas:

 

Learning-Activities-for-Preschoolers      preschool transitions while waiting      Creating a Preschool Circle Time

preschool science      Back to school activities for preschool - a collection of activities, books and songs for the first weeks of school.      preschool literacy


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

 




Toddler Fine Motor Water Activity

Long before children can start writing, they need to first develop their pre-writing skills. This means strengthening those muscles that will help them have the ability to hold a writing tool. One of my favorites is this toddler fine motor water activity. We introduce basters in our toddler class because the bulb fits nicely in their hands. We demonstrate how to squeeze and release the bulb, moving the water in and out of the baster. This takes great concentration but is such a great (and fun!) way to build those fine motor skills.

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Toddler Fine Motor Water Activity

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

What we used:

Mini basters (we also used the small squeeze toy from this fine motor set)

Pouring utensils

Water in some sort of bin (we tinted our water with some blue watercolors so it was more visible)

 


Introducing this activity:

 

Let them explore the water with the pouring utensils.

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

After modeling how to squeeze the bulb to suck in the water and then release the water, let them give it a try.

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

Once they get the hang of it, they want to do it over and over again. Another plus to this activity is that it is very soothing, like all of our water table activities. If you are a parent with a toddler, you can easily set this activity up in the bathtub.

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

While these types of activities are building strength for future writing, toddlers are simply having fun exploring how water moves using basters.

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

You will find even more ideas on my fine motor pinboard!

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

Learn with Play post footer

More fun fine motor activities:

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water     fine motor art in preschool    17 Squeezing Activities for Strengthening Hands

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

Toddlers love to be busy, don’t they? Well, you will love these 20 fun and easy toddler activities for home! These can be done independently, or during a play date. You might want to leave them out for awhile, because toddlers have short attention spans and often want to return to the activity several times. If your toddler isn’t interested, no worries! Save it until he or she is a little older.

Make sure to check out my amazing collection of toddler activities on Pinterest, too!

20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

Toddler Play Activities

 

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20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

 

 

 

 

    • Grab your cookie cutters, add a small tray of paint, and invite your toddler to stamp onto paper.
    • Introduce your toddler’s name with an easy tape-resist name art activity. (Learn with Play at Home)
    • Toddlers love to pour! Create a pouring station that is especially fun outdoors. (Busy Toddler)
    • The refrigerator makes a great magnetic board. Make your own pom pom magnets that can be stuck on the fridge, and removed, and stuck on again … and again … and again! (Powerful Mothering)


20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

 

  • If you have a toddler who doesn’t like to get paint on the hands, try this no-touch art activity.
  • You can whip up some flour paint with ingredients you probably already have from your kitchen. (Simple Fun for Kids)
  • Put sticky paper on your window and add tissue paper pieces. This is a favorite of ours! (Mess for Less)
  • Find someone who sews and ask for their empty thread spools. Stamping with spools is so much fun for toddlers!

 

20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

  • Fill a water tub with warm soapy water. Our toddlers loved it when we filled our table with rubber ducks!
  • Another tub idea is to clean rocks with shaving cream and warm water. (Learn with Play at Home)
  • Young toddlers would love playing with a tugging box. A great way to use that empty box sitting in your garage. (Laughing Kids Learn)
  • Draw colored shapes on large pieces of paper taped to the floor. Play a simple shape game to build shape recognition. (Toddler Approved)

 

Looking for ideas your toddlers can do at home? Check out this collection from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds!

  • Toddlers love to be helpful in the kitchen. You can add some simple counting while making vegetable soup.
  • If you have some bubble wrap leftover from a package, you can make a bubble wrap runway. Toddlers love to run and jump on this stuff! (Hands On As We Grow)
  • If your toddler loves cars, this car parking lot numbers game will be a hit. All you need is a shallow box and some cars, and the fun will begin. (B-Inspired Mama)
  • Paint with balls! We used small nubby balls for extra texture, but any small balls will work.

20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

 

 

 

PLAY: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

35 hand-chosen activities that you can do with your toddler!

More information: Play: Playful Activity Plans

 

 

 More ideas for toddlers:

Color Sorting Water Bin      25 activities for busy toddlers     Toddler Alphabet Ideas

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

Little kids love to work with water. I’ve shared how they enjoy our favorite water table activities. So, it’s no surprise that when we put together a preschool fine motor activity, it involves transferring water. Seriously! Even our most active preschoolers will stop and work on this for quite awhile! The beauty of this fine motor activity is that it is super simple and can be done at home or in a classroom.

Now, I will not claim this as my own original idea. It’s been shared on so many different websites for quite awhile. I can’t even recall how I discovered it, to be honest.

 Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

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Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

After looking at the book A Drop of Water, we invited our preschoolers to transfer water at our fine motor table. We set out 6 ice cube trays, our favorite pipettes, containers of water, and we cut sponges into small sections to wipe up spills.

It might not come natural at first. We show our preschoolers how to dip the pipette into the water.

preschool fine motor squeezing activitypreschool fine motor squeezing activity 2

Then, transfer the pipette to the ice tray and squeeze to release the water.

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

And keep on going!

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

This activity is also strengthens hand-eye coordination.

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

And that’s it! Super simple! Show them how to wipe spills with the small sponges and you are set!

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

More fine motor activities for preschoolers:

 

Fine Motor with Sunflowers    Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers    fine motor activities all year long




Fine Motor Fun with Sunflowers

We love to explore sunflowers for science, then creating large sunflower art for our classroom wall. We ask our preschool families if they have any homegrown sunflowers that they’d like to donate. We then add some fine motor fun to our day with the sunflowers. We place the plants on a flat surface and invite our toddlers and preschoolers to remove the seeds with tongs. This is a much-loved activity!

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

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What you will need:

Sunflower plants, the bigger the better

Tweezers

Cups to put the seeds

 

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

 

Setting up the activity:

Place the plants on a flat surface. Show the children how to hold the tweezers so that they can remove the seeds from the plant.

 

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

 

How this activity strengthens fine motor skills:

 

 

Before children can be asked to hold a pencil, they need to have strength and dexterity in their hands and fingers. It’s important to provide activities that strengthen the hands and fingers during the toddler and early preschool years. Using tweezers is an excellent fine motor activity that builds fine motor development.

 

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

 

We’ve used this set of tweezers for fine motor activities throughout the year, in all areas of the classroom. These types of activities also build hand-eye coordination.

Some of our children put down the tweezers and used the tips of their thumbs and fingers to pull the seeds from the plant.

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

 

Once the seeds are removed from the plant, they can be used in artwork, in the sensory table, and removed from the shell to be tasted.

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

Books to go with the sunflower theme:

       

 

More activities for young children:

Fun Activities Using Sponges      preschool math

 




Fine Motor Skill Activities for Every Season

 

One of my favorite learning domains to write about is fine motor, so I decided to put together a post with fine motor skill  activities for every season of the year. There are so many ways to strengthen the shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers before actual writing takes place. I prefer to use a variety of activities that allow plenty of exploration and open-ended play. While these activities are intended for preschoolers, some can be used with toddlers as well, perhaps adapting them a bit.

 

fine motor activities all year long

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Are you following my fine motor board on Pinterest?

 

No matter what season you are in right now, you can find ways to add fine motor to your children’s activities. I’ve categorized them by seasons for your convenience.

winter fine motor activities

Winter Fine Motor Activities

Christmas Fine Motor Activities

Yarn-Wrapped Christmas Trees

Simple Snowflake Ornaments

Watercolor Snowflakes

Threading with Jingle Bells (And Next Comes L)

Snowball Pick-Up Game (Stir the Wonder)

Build a Snowman (Happy Hooligans)

Lacing Mittens (Frugal Fun for Boys)

spring fine motor ideas

Spring Fine Motor Activities

Fine Motor Butterfly Craft

Yarn-Wrapped Tulips (School Time Snippets)

Cherry Blossom Trees (Sugar Aunts)

Rainbow Necklace (Hands On As We Grow)

Sticky Ladybug Fine Motor Craft (Blog Me Mom)

Sorting the Rainbow (Housing a Forest)

Eat Like a Bird (My Nearest and Dearest)

Liquid Watercolor Decorated Eggs (Mess for Less)

summer fine motor activities

Summer Fine Motor Activities

Chalk Activities for Kids

Fine Motor Octopus Craft (Buggy and Buddy)

Shell Sorting (No Time for Flash Cards)

Paint with Water (Still Playing School)

Spray Chalk (Growing a Jeweled Rose)

Melon Balling (Carrots are Orange)

Stringing Stars (Toddler Approved)

Watermelon Structures (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

 

fall fine motor ideas

 

Fall Fine Motor Activities

A Collection of Fine Motor Ideas for Fall

Hammering Pumpkins

Pine Cone Painting

Feather Beading (Sugar Aunts)

Bobbing for Apples (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Fine Motor Turkeys (Teach Preschool)

preschool fine motor activities

Fine Motor Any Time of the Year

Colored Waterfalls

Fine Motor Squeezing Activities

Fine Motor Activities that Help Develop Color Recognition Skills

Fine Motor Fun on the Dry Erase Board

 

Some of our favorite fine motor tools:

 

Learn with Play post footer

More ideas for young children:

Process Art for Preschoolers Using Watercolors long      Fine Motor Threading Activity      Preschool Color Game Using Legos

 




18 Christmas Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers

My regular readers know how much I love any fine motor activities, all year long! But for a good reason, of course. So many parents want to know when their children can write. My answer is always once their arms, hands, and fingers are strong enough. There is so much that happens before a child  has the strength to hold a pencil correctly. I am thinking about this with every theme, every activity that we put together. Large groups, small groups, art, sensory….all over the classroom, indoors and out!  I was so happy to find these 18 Christmas fine motor activities for preschoolers. I hope you enjoy them, too!

 

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

18 Christmas Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers

Wrap yarn around paper Christmas trees.

Transfer jingle bells while handling a magnetic wand.

Move your entire arm while creating spin art trees.

 

Christmas fine motor activities

Move jingle bells from paint to paper for a fun fine motor experience.

Transfer small pom poms and other pieces to make a gingerbread man. (Living Montessori Now)

Practice fine motor skills by making a foam geoboard tree. (Fun-a-Day)

fine motor Christmas activities

Download free Christmas mats to use with play dough. (This Reading Mama)

Slice strawberries and bananas to make santa snacks. (Smart School House)

Turn a shoe box into a Christmas tree pom pom push box. (Free printable from The Activity Mom)

Sort green and red M&M’s and make a Christmas wreath using a free template. (Toddler Approved)

 

fine motor Christmas activities

Paint egg carton cups green and create a fine motor Christmas tree. (Sugar Aunts)

Transfer and sort jingle bells using tweezers. (I Can Teach My Child)

Create a sticky tree and make a mural with small pieces. (No Time for Flash Cards)

Push Christmas party picks into styrofoam to make a winter village. (And Next Comes L)

fine motor Christmas activities

Paint with pom poms on Christmas trees to work those little fingers. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Keep kids busy with a Christmas cutting tray and strengthen those scissor skills. (Mama, Papa, Bubba)

Teach your children how to thread with homemade Christmas lacing cards that can be used as ornaments. (Happy Hooligans)

Use the fingers to press green paper onto sticky paper to make a mosaic Christmas tree for your window. (House of Burke)

fine motor Christmas activities

 

You will find hundreds of Christmas ideas on my Pinterest board!

 

18 preschool christmas fine motor activities


 

More fun activities for kids:

Keep kids busy during winter break with these fun activities! - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      Winter Math Ideas for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     literacy games for preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




How to Use a Pumpkin to Strengthen Fine Motor Skills

Inside: Grab your wooden hammers because today you are going to learn how to use a pumpkin to strengthen fine motor skills!

When was the last time you handed a hammer to a preschooler? Hmm?

Now, I’m not talking about a real hammer, one that adults would use. I’m talking about wooden hammers that are the perfect size for small hands. You know those children who love to move, move, move? This is the activity for them.

They will actually stop and focus.

And stay there for quite awhile.

In fact, you might need to let them know when it’s time to move on, if necessary.

My point is that this is THE go-to activity every fall that our busy kids love, with a bonus that it also strengthens fine motor development (getting those hands ready for writing) and hand-eye coordination.

 

HOW TO USE A PUMPKIN TO STRENGTHEN FINE MOTOR SKILLS

 

 

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Watch this activity in action with our 2 year olds!

How to Use a Pumpkin to Strengthen Fine Motor Skills

Disclaimer: This is not an original idea. It’s been tried and loved by preschoolers for years.

However, it’s always a new experience for our preschoolers. Many have never hammered anything, let alone hammering tees into pumpkins!

We also love this activity because it is very meaningful. Our preschoolers had recently gone on a field trip to a local farm, picking out pumpkins to take home. We also had our pumpkin carving Dad’s Night, where the children were able to experience cleaning out and carving pumpkins. They have explored pumpkins inside and out. Now, they get to hammer into them!

 

What you will need first: pumpkins!

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

We went on a class field trip to a local farm where we learned about different kinds of pumpkins. We were able to choose one to take home.

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

What else you will need:

 

  • Hammers –

    In the past we’ve used kid plastic hammers, but this year my co-teacher got the idea to order crab and lobster wood mallets. Wow! What a difference! The preschoolers could handle these much easier!

  • Golf tees

And that’s all you need! Don’t you love activities that require just a few items?

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

The process:

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

Show your children how to use their helper (non-dominant) hand to hold the tee on top of the pumpkin. Show them how to hold the hammer with their dominant hand.

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

It takes a few tries to get the coordination going, but once they do, they keep going!

If you do have a child who is having a hard time getting the hole started, you might want to hammer a few holes in the pumpkin first, and then have the child push the tee into that hole and start hammering. It gives them a little “head start”.

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

 

The other nice thing about this activity is that it can be done for multiple days. Simply pull the tees out and start again!

 

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

 

 

Looking for more fall kids activities?

 

 


HOW TO USE A PUMPKIN TO STRENGTHEN FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds