i love this line art that happened during church a few weeks ago.
asher's fine motor control has improved by leaps and bounds in the last several months. at the beginning of the school year, he was just barely making scribbles, and now we have safari animals and cowboys on (vampire?) horses.
i know there are lots of ways to encourage fine motor development (important for pre-writing and eventually writing) in preschool-aged children, but today i want to talk about a couple of favorites:
dot-to-dots and mazes.
we like the ones from dover. but any book of mazes or dot-to-dots will do. the key is to start with really easy activities and slowly graduate to more complicated ones. if in doubt, err on the side of too simple rather than too complicated. the purpose of the exercise is for the child to learn how to hold a pencil, apply the proper amount of pressure, and move it up, down, and across the page easily; the critical thinking skills needed to solve increasingly complex puzzles are (for the purposes of this exercise anyway) secondary.
here's what a typical pre-writing "lesson" might look like at our house:
--complete a simple dot-to-dot picture of a giraffe.
--color the giraffe.
--read about giraffes in a library book, children's encyclopedia, or science magazine.
simple. but a lot can be accomplished in just those three steps: fine motor development, yes. but also math (number recognition and sequencing), art, reading, and science.
a lesson like this might take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on his mood and the day. i try to pick a time when we're both in the right frame of mind, and if we miss a day (or a week) i don't sweat it. there are times when he gets so engrossed in solving mazes, that he does 3 in one sitting and then spends the next hour coloring them. the next day he might look at books for less than 2 minutes and never pick up a pencil. and then there are the days when i think, "we should really work on fine motor skills today" and i find him in his bedroom, already engaged in his latest lego creation, and i realize--
anyway. is any of this interesting to you? i wrote this whole post and now i think it might be like, "duh. dot-to-dots and mazes. brilliant. next she's going to tell us about these amazing new things called pencils."
i should probably just stop talking and ask you: what fun things do you do with your pre-schoolers to encourage fine motor and pre-writing skills?