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Building Fine Motor Skills with Playdough

Building Fine Motor Skills with Playdough

Fine motor skills activities are important in young children's development. Many educators use playdough activities for fine motor skills development because the material is easy to find (in most early childhood classrooms) and can be transformed for endless creativity. Gryphon House authors have penned hundreds of playdough activities for toddlers that will keep them engaged and learning! Dr. Christy Isbell's award-winning book, Mighty Fine Motor Fun, focuses on fine motor skills development, offering the below activities that utilize playdough.

 

Hide-and-Seek Playdough

Objectives:

  • The children will develop hand strength.
  • The children will improve finger coordination.

Materials:

  • Playdough
  • Small objects, such as marbles, coins, pegs, or plastic animals

Procedure:

  • This is a good activity to do with two more more children.
  • Set out the playdough and small objects for the children to explore.
  • Suggest that one child "hide" some of the objects inside the playdough.
  • Ask another child to "find" the objects that the first child hid.
  • Help the children take turns hiding the objects and finding them.

More ideas:

  • Place small cups at the table. Ask the children to place each object they find inside the playdough into a small cup. Then help the children count how many objects they found.
  • Ask the children to close their eyes and try to find the objects hidden in the playdough using only their fingers.
  • Cutting playdough improves hand strength, so provide child-safe scissors and encourage the children to cut the playdough into pieces.

 

More Peas, Please!

Objectives: 

  • The child will develop effective grasp of utensils.
  • The child will improve finger strength for fine motor skills.

Materials:

  • Green playdough
  • Plastic bowls and spoons

Procedure:

  • Demonstrate how to use your thumb, index, and middle fingers to create "peas" by rolling playdough into small balls.
  • Remind the child that the "peas" are pretend.
  • Encourage the child to make tiny "peas" out of the playdough.
  • Once the child masters the rolling motion, challenge him to use the spoon to fill bowls with "peas."

More ideas:

  • Add plastic forks to the activity. See if the child can catch the peas on his fork.
  • Encourage the child to use his index fingers to "smoosh" the peas.



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