Yes, today is another day involving random household objects in mixing bowls. But, this is different. Today’s activity is about fine motor skills, not sensory development. See. Different. Even if it is just some cotton balls in some mixing bowls.
All kids focus on different skills at different times and excel at certain skills above others. Zach is a kid who has mastered his gross motor skills. He can jump using two feet, instead of hopping from one, and gets some good air. He can run, and run FAST. He climbs up everything. His verbal skills are OK. He’s certainly talking more and more these days (it’s kind of amazing actually). The area we have never really spent much focus has been fine motor skills, like writing. Or using utensils better, I have never really given him the chance to eat something like soup, for instance. I always feed him foods that have the option of using his hands if he wants. Or foods that stick to the spoon without running off of it, like yogurt.
The other reason, besides being necessary, to work on fine motor skills is that we’re doing a lot more crafts these days. If I’m going to have him help me more with these, he’s going to need to learn to use scissors. Right now he just can’t. So today’s activity helps with this skill. It will also eventually help his hand dexterity and he’ll have an easier time learning to do things like hold a pencil properly. I learned about this super simple activity HERE.
Here are today’s supplies:
The directions are simple. I put 10 cotton balls in one bowl. I showed Zach how to hold the tongs like scissors. And then I told him to pick up one cotton ball at a time and move it from the small bowl to the big bowl (bonus lesson on sizes and opposites there, oh and counting too!). I demonstrated first, then asked him if he wanted to try. He was very into it.
We quickly learned though that he is not quite ready for the one-handed, scissor-style tong actions yet. So I did a few with him. And then we just focused on using both hands. Even using two hands required a lot of concentration and coordination on his part to get each cotton ball individually, pinch it and move it over. At times he got quite frustrated (but lots of cheers and encouragement helped).
Eventually, once he got pretty good at getting the cotton balls back and forth between the two bowls, he started getting fancy. He spaced the bowls out and sat in the middle of them. He’d pick up a cotton ball from one bowl, do a spin move, and then put the cotton ball into the other bowl. Kind of like a cotton ball dance. Silly kid.
I was actually quite surprised at how into this activity he was. He jumped right in and moved cotton balls for a good 20 minutes. We’ll have to do this one again and see if we can master the tongs with just one hand. But for now I am quite pleased with the results we achieved today.
What did Zach learn today? He worked on some fine motor skills. Hopefully someday soon he’ll be able to cut paper when making his own crafts. He also got a little lesson in patience. He’d get frustrated with the tongs when he would “forget” how to get them to close. He’d start getting angry and I would have to say, “Think about it. Do you push out or push in to close the tongs?” and he would calm down and think, and then get it right. That is a big step for a 2-year-old.
What did Mommy learn? That again, stuff in bowls is fun. And that Zach does have a desire to learn. He showed me a lot of determination today.