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Fine Motor Development

It is early to start thinking about the next school year, right?  But I know a lot of you are already thinking about it and gathering ideas!  Seems our teacher brains have a hard time shutting off and truly relaxing sometimes.  I am always on the look out for ideas I can use to help my students.

We have some students coming in this next year that we know will need some fine motor development to help them get ready to use that pencil and to be able to write.  Always seems that we have a few, don't we?  

Here are some ideas that you can use to help those incoming students that need a little extra help with this.  First, we like to use colorful scarves!  We practice holding them in our fingers similar to a pencil grip and using big movements.  We practiced up and down lines, swirling and curves, and completing big circles.

 We also practice these basic movements on paper.  Some students aren't quite ready for writing letters yet.  They may not have had experience with writing and the movements needed for that.   The thought is to practice them in large movement first then move to smaller movements on big paper then scale down to regular paper and writing their names.  Here is an example of just basic lines on big paper.

Another tried and true way to build up fine motor strength is to use lacing cards.  These are easy and fun for the students to do.  

A really fun way for students to build their fine motor strength while working on their name is to use tongs to pick up pom pom balls.  It is important to me that as they do this, they lay the pom poms on their letters in a way that follows the correct path of movement for letter formation.  

Have you seen the gel bags on Pinterest?  Gel bags are another good way for students to practice fine motor skills.  They are very easy to make.  Just take a baggie and fill with hair gel- the cheapest you can find.  Then you can mix in food coloring and/or glitter.  I just put in a couple colors of glitter in this one as I didn't want it very dark.  Students can practice shapes, lines, letters, etc... as they move their finger over the top of the sealed baggie.  I went a step further in mine and put in a couple of smooth buttons.  I want my students to practice manipulating the buttons around.  I also slip a paper with their name under the baggie so they can practice moving the button with their finger over their name for another way to practice fine motor and learn their letters in their name all at the same time.


  1. Hi Lori,

    I love these ideas! All of them are so engaging. I can see my first graders thoroughly enjoying these. Thank you!

    First Grade Schoolhouse

  2. I like these ideas, I will try them and let you know how it comes out.

  3. It's great that you give those little fingers some hands-on help.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  4. What great ideas! I will have to use these this year as I start out with my kindergarteners. The K teachers want me to just dive right in, but these are so much better for them. I LOVE the hair gel idea!

    Reading Toward the Stars

  5. Very cool ideas, Lori! I'm going to pin them.
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  6. Thank you, Mona! You leave such kind comments!

  7. Leisha, thank you for commenting! Hope they work out well for you! :)

  8. Thank you Tammy! Some little fingers need a bit more prep before they are ready. :)

  9. Thank you so much, Andrea! Some kinders come in just not quite ready for all of the writing. :)

  10. Thank you, Barbara, for doing that!! I appreciate it!

  11. Lori I love your fine motor activities right in one place.....I've never thought of putting a button in the gelly bags - how awesome!!
    Kindergarten Lifestyle

  12. Thanks for the kind comments, Jeannie, and for coming by!!

  13. Love these ideas, and I plan to use them with those kiddos who need the extra fine motor practice. I made the gel bags with quart-size bags, but they don't look large enough. What size did you use? And, where did you get the tongs used to pick up the pom-poms?

  14. Lee Ann, I used the gallon sized baggie for the gel bags. The quart size would probably be okay unless you are putting their name under them- then they might be a little small. I found the tongs in Walmart kitchen utensils. They are appetizer tongs. You could also use large tweezers. Thanks for stopping by!


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