Hello, my fellow educators; today, we are looking at a simple yet effective activity that helps with your toddlers’ and preschoolers’ finger strengths (fine motor skills).
Here we recycled packaging foam and incorporated some elastic bands and golf tees. If you have never used golf tees with your children, please preface the activity by discussing your safety requirements. I like these tees because they are not as long as the typical golfer tees and have a barrier preventing them from piercing through and through. This foam was about two inches thick, and the tee tip did not go to the other side.
What are children learning with this activity?
- Threading the elastic band around the pegs requires eye and hand coordination. She follows the elastic band with her eyes to its landing spot and then releases it gently with her hands.2. Without stiff fingers, she controls the elastic band by pulling it taut to where it rests – notice her hand position. Practice helps mastery – the ease of her hand also indicates the value of integrating many fine motor skill activities into the early years.
3. Another child stretches the elastic band using both hands. Manipulating the elastic band requires finger strength, positioning, coordination, grasping, pinching, moving, and releasing the elastic band.
4. This activity also helps with finger isolation. Notice how one child uses her thumb to hold the elastic band. The pincher grasp is also used to press the tees into the foam and to extend the elastic band, a skill needed for writing.
5. Think mathematics – the children incorporated mathematical concepts. How spaced were the tees to hold the elastic bands? How far did they need to stretch the bands? How many elastic bands were placed on the tees?
6. Engineering – Structurally, how many elastic bands could be supported on the tees before they were uprooted from the foam? How soft or hard did they need to push the tees into the foam?
7. Social-Emotional learning – the children worked together on a small piece of foam, either by taking turns or collaborating,
8. Elastic bands are excellent tools that can be used to help children with fine motor exercises. We’ve used elastic bands to wrap blocks, tins, dolls, and other materials. We’ve also used elastic bands to make musical instruments.
May you never overlook the learning that happens with elastic bands, aka rubber bands.
Until next time, I am Suzette Salmon, your home childcare educator walking alongside you on this path to educating young children.
XoXo Miss Sue