From our School-Based Occupational Therapist at Ascend, Christina Pandolfo, MS, OTR/L
April is Occupational Therapy Month, and to celebrate I want to share a few of my favorite activities for preschoolers.
As an OT, I love working on foundational fine motor skills. Foundational fine motor skills are a big focus in our OT work with preschool students.
Foundational fine motor skills include working on a functional grasp when using crayons or markers, scissor skills, bilateral coordination activities (using both hands together for an activity such as stringing beads, or using pop blocks), pre-writing (imitating vertical lines, horizontal lines, and circles); and for some students beginning to trace their name and working on letters.
Fine motor art crafts are my favorite way to work on foundational fine motor skills, and depending on the type of craft that is chosen, you can work on many skills at once (disguised as a fun activity!). You do not need any fancy materials and can use what you have at home. The ‘Fun Shapes Collage’ is an easy craft to make!
Fun Shapes Collage
Step 1: Have your child trace shapes, such as squares, triangles, and circles.
Step 2: Have your child color in the shapes.
Step 3: Have your child cut out the shapes, helping as needed to make sure they are using their helper hand to hold the paper while cutting, and making sure their thumb is in the ‘thumbs up’ position.
Step 4: Glue the shapes to a piece of paper.
This simple craft works on pre-writing lines, bilateral coordination, visual motor skills, and following directions!
Playing with playdough is not only fun, but is great for working on hand strength, bilateral coordination (using both hands together) and fine motor skills in general. There is also a sensory component to playdough as well. When playing with playdough you can help your child pinch, pull, squeeze, and find small hidden objects inside, such as beans or beads.
Sensory/Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers
Here is a list of some of my favorite sensory/fine motor activities for preschoolers!
- Finger painting activities; sponge painting activities
- Shaving cream activity: Spread some shaving cream on a cookie sheet or on the table- and show your children how to use their index finger (the “pointer finger”) to draw lines in the shaving cream.
- Rice activity: place safe smaller toys and objects in a container of dry rice and have your children find them. (You can also use sand or dry beans).
- Help plant a flower in a flower pot by scooping dirt into the pot
- Pop bubbles