Inside: This preschool hand strengthening activity involves dropping watercolors onto paper towels. Easy to set up at home or in the classroom!
I have a list of favorite fine motor tools, and pipettes is right up there.
Every single time we use these nifty tools with our preschoolers, the activity is loved.
Preschool Hand Strengthening Activity Using Droppers
I learned about pipettes about two years into my teaching career, when I went to a Bev Bos workshop. She demonstrated how to set a gelatin mold, put it on a tray, and the inject liquid watercolors into the gelatin using pipettes. I shared this post and photo on my Facebook page year later, in fact.
I bought some pipettes that day at her workshop and have been using them ever since.
Note: This activity can also be done with older toddlers who have strong fine motor skills. However, you’ll first want to try this fine motor activity that uses basters instead of pipettes and are more toddler friendly.
What we used for this fine motor skills activity:
How to set up this activity:
Pour some liquid watercolors into each paint container. Add desired amount of water.
Place a pipette in each paint container.
Line a tray with paper towels.
Learning how to use the pipettes:
If this is your children’s first time using pipettes, they might use something that looks like a cylindrical grasp, as shown below.
Eventually they will start to use a modified tripod grasp.
Once they get the hang of it, they will have better control pinching the top of the pipette and understand when to squeeze and release the watercolors.
It was amazing how focused these children were, considering the high energy level a bit earlier. They worked so hard moving the paint from the containers to the paper towels!
Note: We started out with the watercolors matching the colored rims, but eventually the colors started getting mixed. This is something we are always working on with our young preschoolers and I try not to make a big deal about it.
Once the paper towels became saturated, we removed them and put down a fresh layer.
But wow, aren’t these colors vibrant? You could save them for another activity. Perhaps cut them into squares to be glued onto paper for a collage, or into shapes, or who knows? I need to give it some more thought, but I’m thinking some sort of flower craft could be made from them, too.
If you have any ideas, please share in the comments! I’d love to hear!
Adapting This Activity for Toddlers
For our 2 year olds, I use droppers with a larger bulb, such as this set.
I start by adding them to a water sensory bin, showing the children how to squeeze and release the liquid.
You can even add small containers, like we did in our Valentine’s Day fine motor activity.
For those of you at home, this can easily be done in the bathtub or a wading pool!