One of the easiest ways to encourage skill development with toddlers and preschoolers is to attach it to things they are already excited about. I try to create activities for the girls that build on their individual interests. Lasso a Letter evolved out of Lil’ M’s (age 2) latest fascination with Woody from Toy Story and Big M’s (age 4) latest obsession with scissors. This activity uses simple materials, with a Western twist, to encourage letter formation, while also strengthening little hands for fine motor skills.
Hand Strength and Muscle Memory
In preschool, it is important to equip children with the physical capabilities they will require to meet more rigorous standards once they reach kindergarten. When it comes to letter formation, and ultimately handwriting, it is all about building hand strength and establishing muscle memory. Muscle memory develops from repeating a motion so many times that it becomes innate. Forming letters with all different media is a great way for kids to develop muscle memory.
Crafts are great for building strength in little hands. Whether balling play dough, or in this case, squeezing glue and using scissors, the various components of craft activities all help strengthen fine motor muscles that children need for handwriting.
Lasso a Letter Supply List
To play Lasso a Letter, you need only a few simple supplies.
- White craft paper
How to Play Lasso a Letter
Pull a length of craft paper across your table. Write an assortment of large letters across the page in dark marker. If you are working on a specific letter, you can write the same one over and over – this would make the perfect L activity! Next, let the children use twine to line the letters, the first time they will make the motion of forming the letter, and cut the string to fit.
Then, outline the letter with glue. Squeezing glue is great for strengthening little hands, and this is the second time they will make the motion of forming the letter.
Last, lay the cut string along the glue to Lasso a Letter, making the third time they form the same letter, helping to create muscle memory.
Modifications for Various Ages, Skill Levels
My preschooler, Big M (age 4) wanted to take over from start to finish – writing her own letters to trace, cutting her own string. My toddler, Lil’ M (age 2), wanted to do it all, but was easily frustrated by the scissors. Pre-cutting the string for her made the activity more achievable for her, and she still used the scissors to trim it along the way. Scissors and cutting twine were definitely the main attraction for them both!
BIO: Meghan is a former hedge fund professional turned SAHM to Big M (4), Lil’ M (2), and Baby M (4 months). She writes at Playground Parkbench, where she shares kids activities and parenting tips. Check out her first book: Green, Crafty & Creative, 70 eco- and family-friendly crafts, activities and tips and the perfect resource for Earth Day! When she’s not busy changing diapers or scrubbing glue off the craft table, you can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!
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