Preschoolers are developing their fine motor skills. Fine motor movements include the coordinated movements of muscles in the hands and fingers. Activities that encourage gripping, pinching, and manipulating small objects develop these skills; these skills are important for writing, buttoning, zipping, tying, cutting, and using tools. Recently our Facebook video reviewed some activities using clothespins that help develop fine motor skills.
Fine Motor Activities
Five Green and Speckled Frogs
One fun activity is to use frog stickers on clothespins and a paint stick. Attach 5 frog stickers to 5 clothespins. Sing the fingerplay “Five Green and Speckled Frogs” (or read a book with the rhyme in it). Use fingers to sing and play out the fingerplay. After you have repeated the rhyme with children several times (or over a couple of days), use the clothespins and paint stick. Sing the rhyme and invite a child to remove a frog from the stick each time.
Skills: fine motor, number sense, retelling
Fill a bowl with pom-poms. Set the full bowl on the left side of a table or tray. Set an empty bowl on the right side of the table or tray. Invite children to use the clothespins to transfer pom-poms from one bowl to the other.
Skills: fine motor, pincer grasp, crossing midline, reinforcing left to right
Add a numbered cube. Children can roll the cube and transfer the quantity rolled.
Skills: number sense, counting
Clothespin Counting Activity for Preschool
Create this fun alligator counting game. Make alligators by coloring clothespins with a green permanent marker; add eyes at the end of the clothespin with a black marker. Print dot formations in the middle of paper plates; make a different quantity of dots on each plate. (Purchase plates at the dollar store.) Lay a stack of plates and a basket of alligators in a center or on a table. Invite children to clip the same quantity of alligators as dots to the plates.
Skills: fine motor, number sense, one-to-one correspondence, counting
Hanging Clothes with Clothespins
Cut clothing shapes from colored paper. I used this Clothing Clip Art. Tie yarn between two chairs (or create a clothesline in another way). Use mini clothespins to clip the clothing to the clothesline.
Write a letter on each piece of clothing. Invite a child to hang the letters of her name in order on the clothesline. For older children, spell sight words. Here’s another name clothesline activity: Clothesline Names (Pre-K Pages).
Skills: fine motor, literacy, letter recognition, understanding letters make words
Make clothing of different types and colors. Invite children to make patterns with the clothing.
Skills: math, patterning skills, classifying and sorting
Print 4-6 letters around the edge of a paper plate; space the letters around the plate. Print the same letters on the clip end of a clothespin. Lay plates and clothespins in a center. Invite a child to find the matching letters and clip the letters on the plates at the appropriate places.
Skills: fine motor, letter recognition, visual discrimination
Use clothespins and paint sticks for sequencing.
Procedures and Routines
Introduce procedures and routines using clothespins and paint stick. Use hot glue to attach pictures of each step on clothespins. Print numerals on the paint stick to designate steps. Talk about which step comes first and clip on the paint stick. Discuss each step in the process and clip the picture to the stick. Use the clips and paint stick to reinforce new procedures before doing them in the classroom. If a child needs reminders, review the steps with the child. Or give him his own stick with pictures that he can use for reference when needed.
Skills: self regulation, life care skills
The pictures I used for the handwashing routine are part of my Bathroom Visual Routine.
Glue to clothespins pictures related to the book or story. Read the book or tell the story over the course of a couple of days. Pull out the paint stick and hand out the clips with pictures. Invite children to attach the appropriate pictures to the stick as you retell the story.
Place the book, paint stick, and pictures with clips in a retelling center. Children can use them independently to retell and read the book.
Skills: fine motor, listening skills, left to right reading, self regulation, sequencing, recall and comprehension skills
Other books mentioned that could be great candidates for this sequencing activity: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Napping House, Brown Bear Brown Bear, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and the I Know an Old Lady series.
Watch the Video
See these activities in action on the video plus a few more.
(Bonus: Here’s the 5 Green Frogs Printable.)
Follow my Fine Motor board on Pinterest for more great ideas!