Hello There :-0)
I have included some fun ideas to increase fine motor skill development, sensory awareness, literacy skills, and more. On the surface, these activities may look like mere fun. AHHHHHHH but one cannot always tell a book by its cover, can we? Include a high fun factor in the learning and children will maintain the engagement in the project. The more engaged the child is, the more that child will recall and practice what they have learned.
1) Rutti Tutti Water Colors: This is an excellent way to explore colors,sense of smell, and occasionally taste, as an occasional child attempts to “taste” the paint. (do not worry, the paint is totally non toxic sugar-free jello) :-0)
Drop two boxes of sugar-free Jello in a bowl. This project works best when you use four or five flavors in separate bowls. i.e. orange jello for orange cherry jello for the color red, lime jello for the color green, etc. Drop tablespoons of water into the bowl of jello and stir. This must be done slowly as the intent is to create a pasty consistency. If too much water is added the jello will be watery, thus losing its texturized appearence when the children paint with it.
Attempt to include the children by allowing them turns stirring the jello and adding water. This encourages independence and a sense of team work in the kids. This project may be adapted by adding Q. TIPS, sponges, even potato stamps that the children create, as alternate ways to paint. This is an excellent way to explore and think outside the box.
You may want to encourage the children to provide you with their impression of what each flavor of jello smells like, and broach a discussion. i.e. You can talk about the orange jello and display an orange for visual reinforcement, etc.
2) Make Marbles and chopsticks: This game enhances eye hand coordination and fine motor skills. Have the children place colored marbles on a plate. Provide them with straws to use as chopsticks. The chopsticks are the only instrument that can be used to move marbles from one plate to another. This can be made into a team game. You can encourage the children to compete and see who can pick up the most marbles. Use judgment as applying the competitive edge depends on the childs social and emotional development. You can also provide a basic math activity by counting the marbles on the plate.
3) Chalk fun: The children have the opportunity to stand in a line and draw a line with chalk. The next child adds to the first childs line, (or drawing) with the intent of creating a group art project. No scribbles allowed in this one. The intent is to think ahead towards an ultimate creation. This is a fun way to reinforce taking turns, reciprocity, and plain old team work. :-0)
4) Spud Knockers : This is a great game for children who have social emotional challenges, or are merely not developmentally ready for team games. They merely compete against themselves. In this game, they will reinforce coordination, gross motor skills and more.
Two potatoes are placed in a panty hose leg. The pantyhose is lightly tied around the childs leg. Another potato is placed on the ground. The child hits the potato on the ground by swinging their leg that has the other potato in the pantyhose. The ultimate goal is to move the potato that is on the ground across the room with the other potato.
5: Snake Dance: This is played like follow the leader except in a Conga Line style. Children in line imitate the movements of the leader of the line while music plays in the background. This game encourages awareness and listening skill, as the children must stay in line and focus on what the lead child is doing.
I call out the child at the end of the line to go and lead every thirty seconds or so. As the child at the end goes to the front of the line the leader goes to the back. The intent here, is that ALL children get a chance to be the leader. You will have to prompt them to change places.
This game has a high fun factor. The children are welcome to move about anyway they wish when they are the leader. (As long as they stay in the snake line)
Warning be prepared for a high silly and giggle factor:-0)
Most of all, HAVE FUN!! :-0)
Mari N. M.Ed.