Spring Cleaning? What Looks Like Garbage Might Build Fine Motor Skills

Trees are budding.  Flowers are blooming.  It’s time to fling open the windows and clean out the clutter.  Finally, young children can spend more time in nature.  It is a perfect time to sort through indoor toys and put them in their place.  Before you toss what seem like useless items in the garbage, consider how you might use them to help your child to develop fine motor muscles:

  • Broken crayons:  In order to strengthen the muscles that allow children to grip pencils properly, we need to encourage children to hold things with their fingers rather than with their fists.  Broken crayons are great for forcing children to use their fingers to grip.  It is not true that thicker, longer writing implements are best.  Save the broken crayons and pencils – the shorter and thinner the writing implement, the more muscles need to be used to hold them. 
  • Puzzle Pieces:  Are your puzzles missing pieces?  Before you toss the remaining pieces, consider their usefulness.  Random puzzle pieces are great for teaching children to trace.  They make beautiful collages as children learn to glue.  A collection of random pieces can be used to play sorting and classifying games as young children learn about size comparisons & colors. 
  • Scraps of Paper:  Most people give children scrap paper for drawing but they don’t encourage children to use it for a motion that is great for brain development – ripping.  Ripping paper requires children to grip with their fingers and move their hands in opposing directions.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds for a very young child.  Have a bin of paper that children are allowed to rip to tiny shreds.
  • Emptied Containers:  Have a box or bin with no contents?  Don’t get rid of it.  Use it for sensory play and beginning letter recognition.  Children love to “draw” in containers of uncooked rice, salt, sand or other child-safe items that they can dig their fingers into.  Use your fingers to create pictures, show your child letters and more.

As you look through your child’s old or discarded items, consider how you might re-purpose them.  Do you have other items that you save to use creatively with your child?  Please comment to share your ideas for using old toys in new ways!
For more information, click on these titles:  "Do Your Rules Make Sense?" and "Before They Can Read and Write.."


Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators on my website - Helping Kids Achieve
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
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  1. Cindy - great suggestions for reusing and repurposing! TY, again, for sharing via FB!

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