In last week’s Teaching Tuesday, I listed some fun ways to begin developing our children’s fine motor skills. If you missed that, you can read it here. Today we continue talking about fine motor skills, but zero in on those skills we more commonly relate to school tasks.
Cutting. I have been a huge fan of the Fiskars blunt tip scissors for children who are just learning to cut. To have them get the feel of holding scissors correctly, something such as cutting playdough or snipping pieces of yarn may be helpful. One of the first things I taught my girls to do with scissors was cut paper. (Money saving tip: I often used junk mail, especially letters that had printing only on one side, as practice paper for them). I began by just drawing a straight line down the center of the paper and having my child attempt to cut the paper in half. You can progress to cutting wavy and curved lines and cutting off corners of the paper. From there, it’s on to cutting out large shapes and, very importantly, teaching the responsibility of using scissors. Not sure I accomplished this early on as both girls cut their own hair at least once!
Gluing. I believe one of the hardest parts of teaching our kids to glue is controlling how much glue is needed for a project. It is easiest to use glue sticks, but I also tried to get my girls accustomed to using white glue. It’s fun to draw the large outline of a shape, have them trace it with the glue, and let them paste cereal, cotton, buttons or yarn along the line. As they get more advanced, you can find cut and paste worksheets in which they cut out a shape and glue it onto the corresponding space on the paper.
Pre-writing skills. You can begin teaching this skill by tracing. Start by using their finger to trace letters on paper, in sand, or with finger paint. They can even use their finger to “write” the letter in the air. When you’re ready to progress to pencils or crayons (we usually saved markers for more of a special treat when mine were younger), you can start with the largest size and move to a smaller one as they gain more control. There are many printable worksheets available online or you can purchase workbooks that have shapes, letters and numbers to trace. Large dot-to-dot pictures are a fun way to work on pencil control.
Do you have others ways to teach children these skills? If so, please share in the comments section. Coming up next Tuesday: working with our children on self-care skills. Please join us!