20 February 2011

indoor sandbox (fine-motor skills for wee ones)

A few years ago, there was a promo on PBS for their Ready To Learn program with Bert and Ernie. Something about a missing crayon? I can't remember exactly. (And I tried to find the video for you, but it is nowhere to be found on Ye Olde You Tube.) What I do remember is the message: Coloring is good for kids; even scribbles help to prepare kids for writing.

As a parent of young children, that has always stuck with me. Sweetpea spent a tremendous amount of time coloring as a preschooler. She still spends a tremendous amount of time coloring. My Little Mister, on the other hand, would much rather play with trucks than hold a crayon. To paraphrase what my mom says, "He's a gross-motor kind of guy."

But he's three and a half, and it's time he starts honing his fine-motor skills to get ready for kindergarten. (And no, I'm not doing multiplication tables with him. I'm not crazy.) So I turned to Sweetpea's kindergarten teacher from last year, also known as The Best Kindergarten Teacher In The World. We'll call her "Mrs. T," for short.

She had several ideas for me—lots of hand and finger exercises ("games," I'll call them for Little Mister) and this simply genius idea:
It's just cornmeal in a baking dish, but he loved it. Mrs. T suggested using fingers to write letters. (I write, he traces.) We did that, plus used a chopstick (held like a pencil), and fork and spoon "diggers" to make it fun for my truck lover. He had so much fun, and asked if we could do it again sometime. 

Why, yes, of course we can. :)

I saved the cornmeal in a baggie and put it in his Project Box.

He thinks it's tremendously fun. He gets the fine-motor practice, but it's nothing like coloring. I'm a thankful mama. Thank goodness for good teachers.


Anonymous said...

I showed your post to Noah and he kept asking to see the pictures over and over again. We're gonna try this activity together soon. Thanks for the idea!

Lauralee said...

what a great idea! I've had the same problem with the little buddy not being too interested in coloring. Occasionally, but this sounds like something he might go for!

Cathy said...

I love it! Glad I'm not the only mom of a little boy who doesn't really care about coloring!

Marisa said...

Abby and Lauralee, good luck with it!

Boys are such different creatures. They sure make life challenging. . . but it's a good challenge. :)

Grandpa Bill said...

Does he park the tip of his tongue between his lips like his old man? Seems to be a genetic marker...like 'the knack.'

Mrs BC said...

I too have truck loving boys, so this idea is super impressive. Thanks for sharing! What else did Mrs T have to say?
Mrs BC

Janell said...

What a great idea!

Jennifer said...

I've used salt, shaving cream, even pudding, but not corn meal. Thanks for another fun idea.

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