Archive for March, 2012

Fine Motor Activities- Tips on how to teach kids to get dressed/ undressed!!

      Skills in the areas of
patience, sense of humor and bags full of ways to distract little people are

      Role modeling the task, praising effort,
talking about the steps of the activity all benefit the learning process.

      Don’t choose to challenge your
little one when either of you are tired!!!!

      Pulling off loose fitting
clothes/ PJ’s is a good starting point, shorts, skirts, summer PJ’s (might
mean you have a regular little nudey- because of course they learn to undress so
much quicker than they learn to dress!!!)

     Summer clothes with elastic waists and no
fasteners are easiest to learn

    Like a lot of new tasks for children- give yourself a long
time frame to achieve the goal and expect up’s and downs. Our 2 year old loves
to put on her own underware, however gets upset if she can’t figure out the way
it goes on- each and everytime we lay the underware on the carpet so she can sit and
poke her legs through and pull it up her legs.(We say ‘tag at the bottom’. Always the same routine!!!

–     Life is busy, but making some time to practice the task daily will make it
more meaningful and more likely achievable.

–     It is so useful if your little one can help put on their shoes, or even just
take them off !

–    Slowly the skills will improve and T-shirts can be laid face down flat on
the floor and your child can be shown how to pull this over their head. More
difficult to take off but lots of kids manage at quite a young age themselves.

– Undoing press studs and undoing Velcro straps are a couple of the first
fasteners that can be introduced for your child, plus zippers and eventually
buttons and laces down the track.

– The skills practiced doing all these tasks described are fine motor
skills- skills using the small movements and muscles of the hand and life
skills – skills that will be required for ever!!

Fine Motor Activities- Teaching Kids to Write their Names

Your child is starting to be ready to form a letter
when they can draw a stripe vertically, horizontally and a circle and cross.

Demonstrate /role model stripes or circles or dots,
these are all the ‘parts’ that make up letters, use big pieces of paper

Try not to worry about time frame. Our approach with our 3 year old was that
we wanted  to achieve this ‘skill’ of writing name- by school (you will likely find it actually
happened heaps faster- but try not to put too much pressure on the task!)

Some kids love to trace over dots or try to draw a line
between parallel lines we have made for them, some kids- like our daughter
responded well to “up, down,up down” for the letter ‘M’, you can make stencils
with letter shapes cut out of cardboard, you can cut out the letters from
magazines and talk about them….

Choose one letter to start practising and complete the
others for your child, praising any effort on their behalf, such as putting a
dot on an i

         Initially don’t worry if they don’t place the letters anywhere
near each other etc, or if one is as big as a house and another tiny – all
these details can be improved upon over time

As we write our child’s name we say the sound of the

You can practice on the beach, writing with fingers, in
the paddock in the dirt with a stick, you can make the letters with play dough
snakes and trace over with finger. On a foggy window, on the shopping list, on
cards for Nan’s and Pop’s, using a paint brush dipped in water on the pavers, even
one letter or one stripe is a great achievement initially. Anything you can think of to write on…..

Having a name card with the letters all written in a
large clear style, (that is used in kindergarten,) is invaluable for tracing and
referring too- especially as some kids have lots of letters to learn.

Letters with angled lines in them are the most
difficult for kids to learn and I use dots as cues ie for a capital K draw a
stick then a dot in the middle of this line and two dots for the line to be
drawn out too

Practice, repetition, praise and patience- all great
ingredients!!!! …

Fine Motor Activities– When and how to start with scissors!!

Sometime after 2 years with supervision kids can start
to use scissors

There are many styles on the market, I really love
“bounce backs” which make the opening action really easy for kids learning.

To start- role model some cutting for your child to
gain their interest. Maybe snipping a ‘fringe’ into some paper or snipping strips
of a colourful piece of paper for a collage for your little one.

Help position your child’s fingers in the scissors (thumb
in the top hole and next three fingers in the bottom hole) and if they can tolerate the hands on help, snip a 1cm wide piece of paper, to demonstrate the cutting action. Prompt with-  “open,
close, open, close”

It is a similar action to a water sprayer and using
tongs- two activities that could be used to practice for scissors skills.

Hopefully, with close supervision, your little one
won’t pinch or snip their fingers.

          Many kids tend to tip their hand upside down
when cutting, talking about having ‘thumb on top’ or try putting a sticker on the
thumb nail, as a reminder -may also be useful

Old greeting cards can be cut into 1cm strips and these
are great fine motor activity for “first cutting activities” -you will need to be very patient and
hold the paper for you child for some time.

Snipping away at junk mail can be very rewarding for
little ones- our 2 Year old gets a lot of satisfaction from snipping madly at
the junk mail and mixing it up with some tearing and glueing and generally
having piles of paper around her!

As the scissors action improves, cutting across 3cm strips
of card or paper can be introduced requiring more than one snip.

To help kids cut around, or cut things out-  drawing a
heavy line as a guide can be very helpful.

Once children can manage to cut along say a 10cm line
they are ready to start practicing, curves and shapes with.  


–       Holding the paper while cutting is another skill that will have to be practised and learnt in time.

Practice, practice, practice!!!!!