This past week, I created three different games for us to play together (or even independently) to work on various fine motor skills, critical thinking skills and visual discrimination skills. Helping Liam take the time to slow down and look at what he is doing and try just a little harder and longer is a constant goal for us here. I try to make it fun and different as often as possible so that he can put his own creativity and personality into it. However, sometimes you just have to practice, practice and practice some more before you get it right. Hopefully, this practice was a little bit of fun. I enjoyed it with him and yes, we took turns and made them into games!
Activity #1: Creating Pumpkins & Apples based on visual cue cards.
I whipped up a batch of orange and red play dough for the apples and pumpkins. I used wire cutters to snip pipe cleaners for stems and I gathered our plastic green leaves from the apples and leaves set I purchased from Michaels. (I do enjoy finding lots of uses for my purchases!) I then drew simple pictures of apples and pumpkins with a variety of leaf and stem patterns.
The goal for this activity (game) was to pick a card, roll a play dough ball from the corresponding color, and replicate the leaf and stem pattern pictured. Great hand muscle work and fine motor skills work rolling play dough balls. It was also a great opportunity to look thoroughly at a picture and copy it! I thought the results were beautiful too and we even did some free play at then end. It was nice to use this activity with both structure and free play to show him that we can do both styles with the same activity!
Activity #2 Tonging red and green apples to match cards.
I simply used a mini muffin tin, the green and red plastic apples from the same set as above (separated into two bowls), and a pair of tongs. I made game cards out of index cards by writing a number up top and then drawing how many apples of each color I wanted him to tong into a single muffin tin. Lots of fine motor skills work here!
I asked him to tell me the number and count the apples and then choose the correct number of red and the correct number of green. Lots of playing attention needed to tong the apples and chose the correct amount. Often we recounted a card to make sure we had the right combination of green and red apples.
Activity #3: Tonging "pumpkins" and counting pips on the dice
Again making it a game with dice is always more fun. I found this great pumpkin tray at the dollar store and used orange glass gems for pumpkins! We took turn rolling the dice and tonging the correct number of gems into each unit. He always helps me count mine! I did add more dice to this one for a greater challenge since it seemed a little too easy. If he was willing to do it independently I might have left it with the one but since he wanted me to sit with him, we went for two dice. This is a great way to take transferring and fine motor skills work to the next level if you have an older child who still needs to work on developmental skills but needs an additional challenge to remain interested! (I am not sure what happened to the photos I took of us playing together but I promise you we did it all together! I have a couple that are super blurry and the rest just don't seem to be there!)
Do you make up quick fun games for your kids using odds and ends from around the house. We can easily have a new game by varying the trays, tongs, objects, or type of dice! Add a spinner from a board game or some homemade game cards. You can make it as simple or as challenging as your child needs with small changes! Learn with play. It's a lot of fun!
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