For this week's Fine Motor Fridays post, I'm taking all those odds and ends left after a birthday party and using them for some fun fine motor activities for my three year old and one year old! Having had four kids birthday parties in our house, we have oodles of decorations, goody bag treats and other accessories that will sit around and collect dust. I thought they would be great to engage my little ones since- who doesn't love a birthday!?
Baby Gate Streamer Weaving
We like to put up streamers on the front door and in the dining room for our parties and my daughter has always loved playing with them. This time, instead of chuck them right away, we brought them over to our baby gate and tried weaving with it- what great fine motor development and hand eye coordination work!
At first we each sat on one side of the gate, passing the streamers back and forth. Once she got the hang of it, I just tied it on and let her try. She asked for help some times but she really enjoyed it. I think her favorite part was calling out the color pattern. Next time we should do a more complex pattern! You can see baby brother got a hold of the yellow roll when I wasn't looking. I let him have it for a bit though, he loved pulling little pieces off and rubbing them between his fingers. Bonus! Fine motor practice for him too!
CUT-Punch-PASTE Birthday Card Station
We have all made birthday cards before, I don't think this is re-inventing the wheel or anything, but I think it is good to think about finding opportunities for fine motor skills practice in simple activities. And hey- it saves you a trip to the store for a card!
Just drawing a birthday card is great for little hands to do. If you have more time and materials, why not set out some construction paper, glue, scissors and a paper punches? They are great open ended materials that offer loads of opportunities to work various grips. Ladybug said she wanted to make her cousin a cake for her card, so we talked about what shapes we need to make and what colors to use. I marked some lines on a small strip of paper so she could cut candles, she punched stars out of orange paper for the flame, and decorated with some purple icing. She really enjoys the cut punch paste projects that we do.
Balloon String Cutting Practice
We buy Mylar balloons at Dollar Tree occasionally and they are so fun for my daughter because after the occasion that we need them for, we like to get out her scissors and let her cut the string…over and over and over. We did this first for Halloween during our Halloween Cutting Activities. We had some left from baby brother's first birthday so when we were doing our birthday themed fine motor activities, she knew just what to do with her scissors! Of course you need to know your child's capabilities and supervise them with balloons, strings and scissors. We police the area pretty well before baby brother comes back on the scene.
Mylar Toothpick Hole Punching
The Mylar balloons are so shiny and such a cool material that I always think there must be something we can do with them before throwing them away. One fine motor activity I had been planning was letting ladybug poke holes in foil with a toothpick. When we were doing the balloon string cutting it occurred to me that the mylar balloons would be great for this! They usually have fun shapes and letters on them which are great for punching around, tracing them.
I cut around the seam of one Mylar balloon so that we only had one layer. I put it on a cookie rack and set it on our light box, although you don't need the light box. Hard to tell from the pictures but the light shines right through the holes, like a constellation! Ladybug honestly did not want to do this activity for very long but in case your child likes it, I decided to share it!
We had several mylar balloons so I tried offering Ladybug on that had been cut in half, around the seam, and I snipped several snips along one side so she could peel strips of mylar. Some pieces came off in long strips, some came off in large odd shapes and occasionally she tore off a small snippet. Mostly she just liked crinkling and un-crinkling it! Again we scoured the area for any scraps before baby brother woke up from his nap.
Party Blower Cutting Practice
Okay…this one was GIGGLY! I don't know if it is for everyone. Obviously you need to supervise your child and know if this is something that is at his or her skill level. All I did was suggest that Ladybug try to cut the end off the blower…but she had to keep it inflated in order to do it! It was pretty funny because once she would get it all the way inflated, she'd try to work the scissors and then she'd need to inhale! Again, I am sorry for the pictures, it was pretty hard to capture but hopefully you can tell from that last glance that it was pretty funny!
Birthday Themed Cutting Practice
We are generally pretty big into cutting these days. Anything and everything. Here is a list of birthday related materials that we have used our scissors on- most of which were already used for a real birthday:
Bubble wrap (which some gifts had come packaged in)
Birthday Play Dough
This is pretty obvious to most people but we don't honestly use play dough that often. We actually made our first batch of dough using the basic homemade play dough recipe from our friendly play dough experts over at Craftulate. One difference was that we didn't have Jello on hand so I used a Frosting Creating packet, which we picked up on clearance at Target. One ill-advised decision on my part was choosing the caramel packet. I thought it would be a good birthday cake/cupcake flavor but it turns out…it just looks kind of like well…you can imagine. But we went on with it! It has a terrific texture and smell, and Ladybug even said, without prompting that she thought we were making a birthday cake because of the way it smelled!
We used some of the sparkly bits left from cutting the balloon centerpiece above to decorate it, and we had a Ladybug themed cupcake set left from one of her birthdays. Perfect! She played with it for a while and although she kept smelling it she never tried to eat it. (Although it wouldn't have hurt if she did! Just would have been salty!)
I have to say that of all these, Ladybug's favorite was the Balloon String Cutting, followed by the Blower Cutting. Oh and she has asked to do the weaving again since the first time, so I think that was a hit as well! All in all we really had some fun with these Birthday Themed Fine Motor Skills Activities. Have you done anything that would fit with this list? I'd love to hear about it in the comments or my facebook page!
Fine Motor Fridays
Well guess what?! It is November and we are STILL going! We have had so much fun withe this series that we decided to keep going for another month! Dyan from And Next Comes L already had other commitments this month so she will not be joining us but DO check out what she has going on this month… I've heard a bit about what she will be up to and I am VERY excited!
That said, today we are welcoming to the Fine Motor Fridays group Sarah from Little Bins for Little Hands and next week we will also be joined by Emma from P is for Preschool! Cannot wait to see what these lovely ladies have for us! Still with us this month are Craftulate, Stir the Wonder and School Time Snippets. Conveniently all the links in this paragraph take you to the facebook pages of each blogger so you can follow them there!
Here are this week's links for the other bloggers:
Homemade Affordable Geo Board from Little Bins for Little Hands
We hope to see you next Friday for more Fine Motor Fun! I'll also be sure to pin each of our posts to my Fine Motor Fun Pinterest board and our new Fine Motor Fridays board as well so you can find all our posts in one place!