Fine Motor Skills

Parent Wishes #13 – Support Children’s Physcial Development

Continuing with the posts on parent wishes for early programs and kids with special needs, one parent’s wish is to support children’s physical development. This post gives some suggestions on play and movement activities for all kids.

physical development activities

Kids are all unique with their own strengths and challenges. Some will be constantly on the move and hands touch everything like walls and fences when walking. They bump into things just for the extra sensory stimulation. When talking to a grandparent on the phone, they pace back and forth or go round in circles. Other children do not have such high mobility needs, but they still need to strengthen their muscles and learn to coordinate their bodies. Some large muscle activities might be:

  • Have a space and time for kids to run, jump, hop, roll, climb, tip toe, kick, throw, and more. Containing kids’ energy in a house isn’t possible. Sometimes, a backyard isn’t big enough either. Hopefully, there are some parks and playgrounds in your area.
  • Sing some action songs, like Hokey Pokey or Shake Your Sillies Out.
  • Put on some dance music and enjoy it together. Do some exercises or yoga for kids

Small muscles are still developing in young children so fine motor activities can be particularly challenging.

  • Play dough involves squishing, patting, rolling, pulling, smooshing, smoothing, and more.
  • Puzzles, blocks, puppets, paints, and other art materials are toys that exercise the muscles in the hands and wrists.
  • Playing in water, sand, dirt, and mud appeal to kids and support children’s physical development.
  • When cooking, kids can stir and mix.
  • Doing up buttons and zippers may take more time when kids do it than when we do, but it is important kids have the opportunity to practice.fine motor activities

Sensory activities are a part of physical development. Messy play is more than fun, it gives children a chance to learn and discover thru their senses.

If you had wish for programs and places for young children, such as daycare, preschool, and kindergarten, would it be to support children’s physical development and play?


Dinovember Dragon Activities: Play Dough Dragons and Treasure

Since dragons are imaginary creatures—as far as we know, kids can create any kind of play dough dragons and play treasure with them too. Fiery breath is optional.

play dough dragons

Play dough is available pre-made and is reasonably priced. There are several different recipes for homemade play dough using basic ingredients that you likely already have at home. It’s simple and really inexpensive. (Here are directions for making a batch.) Plasticine is another possibility.

Earlier this month, we read lots of books about dragons. The kids also made up some of their own stories. There are a few children’s tv shows and movies about dragons. For the most part, dragons are big, look similar to a dinosaur, and have wings. After that, anything dough dragon treasure

Since the kids play with play dough often, we usually have a batch or two ready to go in the fridge. The only adult intervention was suggesting making some play dough dragons or burying some dragon treasure. The kids liked the idea and directed their own play. Little Sister mostly just liked burying and finding treasure in the play dough. We had some small colored rocks, plastic spheres, and a clear plastic heart that were easy to clean off later.

Play dough isn’t messy but it is still sensory. Besides the texture of the play dough, kids feel all the different shapes and designs they create. Big pieces of play dough have a heavier weight than smaller ones. Their sense of touch helps them make smooth parts and bumpy ones on their dragons. There’s lots of stimulation for seeing with color, shapes, designs, and sizes. The same goes for hearing as kids slap, tap, pound, squish, and more.  Hopefully, kids aren’t tasting it, but there might be some smell. For our homemade batches, we often add a drop or two of peppermint or lavender.

play dough dragon fun

Just think of all the time and effort it took an adult to make these dragons. Kids aren’t the only ones that like play dough dragons. The small or fine muscles in the body are very active in the squeezing, rolling, squishing, pinching, and whatever else kids need to do to shape their dragons. Brains are busy too organizing, solving problems, imagining, figuring out, and thinking. Creating combines both the thinking and the actions. Could making play dough dragons and playing with treasure spark your child’s play?

Geo Pumpkin Craft Fun with Pins, Elastics, Yarn, and Buttons

Today’s geo pumpkin craft fun was inspired by the photos on several sites for Halloween activities.  This gives us another day for pumpkin play and learning.

geo pumpkin craft fun

What is a geo pumpkin? The name geo pumpkin comes from the math resource known as a geo board. This is a square board with pins or nails placed in evenly-spaced rows. Kids wrap elastic bands around the pins to make geometric shapes and other designs. You may remember playing with them at school. Now, they are a more common learning toy.


Geo pumpkins can be decorated with a variety of materials, like pins, golf tees, nails, elastic bands, ribbon, yarn, and buttons. To make our geo pumpkins we started with push pins. These were easier for Little Sister to hold. Because I sew quite often, I have a couple of pin cushions that the kids like to touch. They take out the pins and rearrange them. Big Sister used both push and straight pins.

Once the pumpkin had a few pins stuck in, with repetitions of owie, owie, the kids began adding the yarn, elastic bands, ribbon, and buttons. Mostly these were scraps that live in the bottom drawer in the sewing desk. They weren’t limited by any preconceived ideas of what they should look like. They were able to create as they wanted. On one point, Little Sister asked for a different elastic band because one was too big. I showed her how to attach the elastic to a different pin farther away. She looked for a minute and then noticed it now made a triangle.

geo pumpkin craft fun

Fingers and fine motor skills got a work out manipulating all these little pieces but so did brains. Just a few thinking skills included are problem-solving, planning, predicting, visualizing, and creating. As they played, there was a great deal of talking and explaining. Little Sister used self-talk, whispering, “Push it in, push it in.” Big Sister who goes to school used several bits of fabric and stretched the elastic around pins to make a jack-o-lantern mouth.

geo pumpkin craft fun

The season for pumpkin play is relatively short. Geo pumpkin craft fun was a great way to play with one before we carve it into a jack-o-lantern. Another time, we made faces on one with play dough. What ways does your child play with pumpkins?

Button Bead Fall Twig Tree – Autumn Activities for Kids #7

This button bead fall twig tree is as much fun for adult hands as it is for kid ones. Plus, it’s bright and colorful for a holiday centerpiece. Our weather has turned cold, wet, windy, and grey so we didn’t spend very much time outside. Only long enough to gather a few twigs. Sticks were … Continue reading Button Bead Fall Twig Tree – Autumn Activities for Kids #7

Space Activities for Kids #17: Moon Rocks Bottle Activity

Space activities do not have to be elaborate to be fun for kids. This moon rocks bottle activity was engaging and simple, full of learning and play. It appeals to any child who likes rocks, and that’s most, if not all of them. Finding a pile of small rocks is usually easy. Rocks have a … Continue reading Space Activities for Kids #17: Moon Rocks Bottle Activity

October Alphabet: F is for Fine Motor Halloween Fun

The muscles in the hands and wrists are still developing at this age. Here is a great craft for some fine motor Halloween fun to strengthen small muscles. First of all, thank you to Lalymom for this mummy yarn wrap . Her tag line is “home with two, creativity will brew.” With two kidlets, it’s … Continue reading October Alphabet: F is for Fine Motor Halloween Fun

From Sticks to Scissors and Other Learning Tools

Every occupation and career has its own set of tools and play is children’s work; for kids early learning tools include sticks, rocks, mud, and toys, as well as crayons, chalk, glue, and scissors. Letting your child play and experiment with these tools is not just fun, it’s also helpful before starting kindergarten or preschool. … Continue reading From Sticks to Scissors and Other Learning Tools

Kindergarten Readiness: Pre-printing That Really is Fun!

“What about if my child just isn’t interested in printing or anything like that; ” asked a parent at a kindergarten readiness evening, “so what can I do?” The answer to that is easy: Make it Fun!! Printing activities can be appealing to children, just check all the walls that have been decorated by children’s … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Pre-printing That Really is Fun!