In my last post, Tips for Teachers for Virtual Learning, I gave tips that teachers could use to help with virtual learning. The tips help both teachers and students. However, I feel that there are tips that parents can do at home to help as well. I am sharing these tips as both a teacher and a parent who is participating in virtual learning right now. In my district, we have been back to school with fully virtual learning for a week and a half. Here are some tips for you, as parents, that I think you will find helpful:
1. Have a designated space for your child to learn. In school, students have their own space at their desk or table. I'm not saying you should go out and buy a desk, but if you already have one or want to purchase one, by all means use it. There are some great options available for desks too. They even make folding desks that you can put away (like the foldable tables) when you're done using them. Otherwise, find a space for your child to use that is set up for him or her and that they know it is "their school space". I think you'll find that this is helpful because it will be the place they know to go "for school". Here's a folding desk that looks nice and is easily stored:
2. Print your child's teacher's schedule. Have it next to your child. Having a schedule is something that I recommended for teachers. Having it available for your child will benefit both you and your child. Children thrive off of predictable routines. When they have their schedule visible, it helps them know how their day will go and what comes next. It provides structure. I would also recommend laminating it if you have access to a laminator. If not, Amazon has some inexpensive options that are great. I personally have an Amazon brand laminator at home and love it. Here it is:
3. Provide opportunities for your child to release some energy. Even while your child is working, there are some great products out there to help them maintain focus. For starters, fidgets. There are a HUGE variety of fidgets out there. Not every kind works for every kid. They are usually relatively inexpensive, so get a few and find the one that works for your child. Here are a few ideas that I use with both my own children and with the students that I support.
This is such a fun and simple craft for children (and adults!) that also incorporates fine motor skills.
All you need is:
1. Pony Beads in any variety of colors (the clear colored ones make good sun catchers)
2. Small Cake Pans (4 inch diameter for coasters)
Here are links to products like I used on Amazon:
Here's the steps. They're simple to follow.
First, place beads inside the mini cake pans. You can either place them in a pattern, or just put them all in and fill the bottom. Either way will work just fine.
I love using toys, games and other fun activities to incorporate fine motor skills. You will find that when you use the "fun stuff" that your students (or your own children) will love it too! I've gathered together a few of my favorite things to work on fine motor skills. I don't have them in a particular order, but I love them all! I've also included things that would work well for a variety of ages.
Here's a little info for everything. They're in no particular order...I like them all equally lol. You can click the link/pictures to read more info or to purchase on Amazon.
1. Super Duper, Inc. Fine Motor Box - has ideas and activities for fine motor work.
2. Therapy Putty is GREAT for all ages. It's like play dough and slime combined and comes in a variety of firmness levels.
3. Cat's Cradle Kit - Great for your older kiddos that need some fine motor work. I remember playing with this as a kid and it is sooo much fun! Who knew I'd grow up and use it as a tool to help children!
4. Mosaic Pegs- These are reusable. Great for younger students. The pegs pop into the matching color and you can pop them out when you're done.
5. String and Beads - Great for younger children. Students lace the beads onto the string. This one is also reusable. If you want to adapt this for older students, you can get string and pony beads from the craft store and have them make bracelets. My daughter loves doing this!
6. Magnetic Puzzles - They come with a magnetic wand/pend that is attached to a string. They also come in a variety of learning activities, such as the alphabet, numbers, color sorting, etc. Great for younger students.
7. Sensory and Fine Motor Combined!! - Water beads with scissor style scoopers. Fun for most ages!
8. Lite Brite - Fun fine motor activities created by making pictures that light up! Fun for most ages, but the pieces are very small so younger children will require supervision.
9. Elephant Stretchy - This cute little elephant stretches and strengthens hand muscles.
10. Sticker Mosaics - Similar to the peg mosaics above, but these aren't reusable. However, they make a cute little craft to keep! Fun for most ages, but better for a little older students vs. the pegs which are best for younger kiddos.
11. Loom Bands - These are super popular with my 9-year old daughter and her friends. They make bracelets like crazy! They best part is that they're working on fine motor as they create!
12. Learning Resources Tweezers - I love these! I like to use them in sensory bins and when having students count objects. They are great for most ages.
Thanks for reading all the way through! I know it was a longer post than usual, but I wanted to be thorough! I hope you've learned a little more about fine motor skills and some fun activities that you can do with your students or your own children to build these important skills.
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