Fall is around the corner and while the weather certainly is not reflecting that where I am, it is time to break out the fall themed art projects. You know what I mean. You've got your pumpkins, your scarecrows, your leaves and apple trees, the good ole cornucopia, etc. I figured it would be fun to mix up the fine motor skills involved so my daughter could work on cutting and pasting as well as using paper punches.
Play Based Fine Motor Skills Development
But wait, let's back up. Where did all this Fine Motor Skills stuff come from all of a sudden on Lalymom? You may have seen my recent posts with playful cutting practice activities in conjunction with a blog study that Deborah Stewart organized for her new book Ready for Kindergarten. A group of bloggers each selected a topic from the book to focus on and we are all sharing play-based ways to develop the various skills needed for Kindergarten. I selected cutting with scissors from the section on Fine Motor Skills.
Shortly before becoming involved in the blog study, I happened to see a great open ended art project on Artchoo that used circle paper punches. My 3 year old LOVED this activity…I did it with her at first but she just wanted to keep going so I let her at it while I got a couple things done around the house. Super easy and could be done in so many ways. The end result the first time she did it was a DIY board game for her Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse figures. I came into the room and she was moving Minnie around the circles. “Genius!” I thought! So now we're taking this show on the road and using it in themed activities.
I started a list of “art projects,” as we call them, that we could make using scissors, paper punches and paste. All of these could be adjusted up or down depending on your child's current abilities.
Fall Themed Fine Motor Skills Activities
The first sign that fall is upon us in the Midwest is when people start talking about Apple Picking. Apples are not only plentiful this time of year but of course they are also a symbol associated with the Back to School season. Here are two Cut, Punch, Paste activities featuring apples.
The first one is a simple trunk and tree leaves body that your child can help cut, then she uses the paper punch to punch red circles for the apples. A green strip of paper for the grass offered my daughter great cutting practice as she is not quite at a level to follow the long lines of the trunk or the curvy ones on the tree leaves. All that's left is to paste the tree together and then paste the apples onto the tree. I've also seen people tracing the child's hand in brown for the trunk, which my daughter would have enjoyed if I had thought of it!
The second apple activity we actually turned into a basic but fun counting game when we were done. We had a red paper plate in our party supply stash, so we used that as our apple but you could also cut one from paper. We cut out the stem, leaf and a wavy worm. We punched out 12 black holes and pasted them onto the apple, along with the stem and leaf. To play the game we simply rolled two dice, counted the dots and then moved the worm around to pretend to eat that many holes in the apple.
The next symbol of fall for us is a colored leaf…the very first yellow leaf is all it takes for people to start thinking of crisp, cool air and shooshing leaves on the ground. We did a couple different fall leaf art projects using our new fine motor skills system of Cut, Punch, Paste.
The first one was completely inspired by a post about paper punching on leaves, which I found on Pinterest. The weather isn't cool just yet here and the leaves are mostly still green. I used a small leaf punch I picked up at Michael's for $1.50. My daughter cut strips of brown paper and we used one for the trunk. Then we punched leaves out of actual leaves, but you could easily do paper and you could also easily use a circle punch. The punch we used is small, so we made this tree mini. It was pretty tricky with our fingers getting gluey and trying to pick up and place the tiny leaves. Also the next day some of the leaves crumpled, dried and/or fell off, so just note that this is not a project to be displayed for a long time.
When we were punching out shapes for one of the above projects I noticed my daughter putting the punched paper back in the holes they came from and I thought, wow, she just invented a puzzled! So we made a couple easy straight lines to cut out an L, then punched out leaves from the L. I left the resulting leaves on the table and Ladybug got to placing them. She was a little tired of crafting at this point and she requested no more pictures of her. Fair enough!
No one in my neighborhood really had gardens when I was growing up but everyone always had goofy, crafty looking scarecrows in their yard. I realize now that this is probably because they had kids and that's what we learn about in the fall. My daughter kept saying we were making a snowman as we made this one, until we added the hair of course. I like this kind of project because using just two straight lines of cutting in a piece of paper folded in half, my daughter can see how a new shape is made (the hat). I knew I wanted us to make a scarecrow with our Cut, Punch Paste projects and saw one on pinterest from No Time For Flashcards and thought it would be fun to use the paper plate. You could also just use paper and make that part of the cutting.
Next we went for the obvious Halloween symbol, had to turn a pumpkin into a Jack-o-lantern. This was also a fun opportunity for my daughter to draw on paper with chalk, which is just a little different from the norm, so that was fun.
Last but not least we made a cornucopia. I showed Ladybug how you could cut half circles and they look just like bananas, which she seemed to be very excited about. We had a bunch of scrap colors so I just asked her what kinds of food we could make to put in it, so that was fun too.
I hope you liked these easy, fun art projects that help develop those ever-important fine motor skills. If you are looking for more cutting practice ideas, check out my cutting practice shrinky dink doll and this itsy bitsy spider web cutting activity. If you need still more, check out my Fine Motor Fun Pinterest board.