Developing fine motor skills doesn’t have to be tedious. Something as simple as play dough is a great way to incorporate more fine motor activities into your day. Plus it helps keep little ones occupied at the table while you work with older children.
Play Dough Mats
There are a variety of play dough mats online that you can print and laminate and give to your child to use with their play dough.
You can use play dough mats to give your child an objective to work towards, such as:
- Put tentacles on the octopus.
- Make a happy face.
- Put apples on the tree.
- Give the shark teeth.
Play dough mats can also be used to teach the shapes of letters. Your child will roll the play dough into ropes and then place them on the letter to form the shape. Eventually you can challenge your child to make the letter without the help of the play dough mat.
As an alternate letter activity with play dough, show your child how to make their name using play dough.
You can also use play dough mats to teach number recognition and counting. On these particular mats your child counts the number of objects and rolls up the play dough into enough balls to represent the number of objects.
Make a Hedgehog
When we studied forest animals one of the fine motor activities was making a hedgehog. We made a ball of play dough and my son inserted toothpicks into the play dough. He enjoyed this activity so much that he did it multiple times.
Pretend to Cook
Give your child some real kitchen tools:
- rolling pin
- butter knife
- plastic dishes
- cookie cutters
Then they can pretend to make various kinds of food:
- spaghetti & meatballs
This form of play is sometimes referred to as an “invitation to play,” because you set out various items with the play dough inviting your child to engage in creative play.
Some things you might consider setting out with the play dough could be:
- plastic toys
- toy cars
- cookie cutters
Use play dough as the base in sensory bins. Similar to an invitation to play add items to go along with the theme of your sensory bin.
- Construction Sensory Bin – Put brown or black play dough in the bottom of the bin. Add pebbles and toy construction vehicles.
- Animal Themed Sensory Bin – Put green play dough in the bottom of the bin. Add toy animals and trees.
- Pond Themed Sensory Bin – Put blue play dough in the bottom of the bin. Add river rocks, toy ducks and other pond animal toys.
For more fun ideas to develop your child’s fine motor skills check out:
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