All in Fine Motor

Rethink Your Playdough

Ah, Playdough.

We've all been here, right?

Mixed colors being stuffed back into containers, texture hardening because it was left out from the night before, and little fingers forcing endless amounts of Playdough into the cracks of our kitchen table. 

"Do we really want to take out the Playdough again?" 

Consider this.

What is a childhood without Playdough?

In my opinion, it is the foundation of every young blooming mind. I am not here begging you to mix your colors. To each their own on that. But what I am asking you to do is to break out your playdough and consider integrating some every day items to the mix.

Perhaps playdough needs a makeover.

Here's how to use it to boost creativity.

Build Your Name

Here is a fun, sorting activity that will also help your preschooler better understand which letters belong in their name. 

Why Practice Name Construction with your Preschooler?

  • By Kindergarten, children will be asked to write their own name, recognizing that it must begin with a capital letter.

  • They will also be asked to recognize (and print) upper- and lower case letters.

This is a great game that you can use to work with your preschooler when recognizing the letters, and order of letters, in their name. 

Begin to practice name recognition with this DIY Name Construction Game. 

Hot Lava Game for Kids

What do you do when your children love hot lava as much as they love snacks?

You make fine motor hot lava games, of course.

My boys love hot lava.

I find that it can sneak up into our living room, and also make it’s way into the cracks of the parking lot. Hot lava seems to be everywhere. And who knew? I am thinking that hot lava and kids seem to be this unspoken language that unites them all. Apparently, it’s a thing and I am determined to run with it.

Find Your Name; A Simple Breakfast Invitation

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! I’ve got your Breakfast Invitation secret weapon.

Kids love seeing their name. Like, loooooooooove seeing their name.

And so do we. We use our names to mark our success at workouts, sign off on an email, and to simply identify which Starbucks frappacchino is ours. We find it especially funny when it gets written incorrectly.

Names are a beautiful representation of who we are.

Let’s use names to help our children grasp a marker, identify letters, and hold their hand steady to design a circle as they find their name.

Fine Motor Game for One-Year-Olds

This toddler activity helped me multiple times this week!

I used it to prepare dinner, vacuum the living room floor, and take a shower. - You know, all normal activities that are a wee bit harder to do with someone pulling on your pant leg.

Under two-years-old can be a tricky age to entertain. They are typically in the I want to be older, yet I don’t have the momentum to play independently for long periods of time phase.

But no worries, I am happy to help.

Quick and easy toddler activities to help you make breakfast and blow dry your hair. #momlife

Light the Strand; a fun Winter Breakfast Invitation

Looking for an indoor activity this winter break?

Dot the lights is where it’s at.

We already know that dot stickers make crazy fun Breakfast Invitations.

Spider Webs crawled throughout the 7 continents on Instagram.

Christmas Trees raved on Busy Toddler.

And DIY board game helped keep us all going over Thanksgiving Break.

Bring out the dot sticker packs for the brightest Breakfast Invitation yet!

Gingerbread Man Sticker Match - a fun winter activity

Looking to introduce some key math concepts?

You know me. I am always thinking of ways to introduce those Common Core Math Standards now so when we all enter Kindergarten, it is a lot more head nodding than confusion.

I’ve been there. I’ve taught these standards. I assure you, they move FAST.

Here, I know that Kindergarteners will be asked to understand the terms match and pair. They are also asked to, directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common.

“You have a pair of socks. They are both the same.”

“These two stickers are alike because they both have 2 candy canes and a snowflake.”

“These objects are different because one of them roll and the other will stack. They are not the same.”

We can begin to introduce Kindergarten topics in an age appropriate way that is enjoyable.

Holiday Sticker Cups

Pick the ONE thing you want to improve, and focus on that ONE skill.

What I mean, is if you want to focus on fine motor skills, stay focused on task at hand.

Here, it is to strengthen the little muscles so that down the line your child can correctly cut and hold a pencil.

You want to stay focused with your goal.

If the goal is fine motor grip, try not to also throw in letter recognition and sequencing. You can keep the brain power to a minimum so that your reluctant toddler or preschooler can really zone in on what they need to work on.

Here, it is fine motor.

Indoor Play Using Washi Tape

Need a quick indoor activity? Try this Breakfast Invitation!

This Breakfast Invitation is super simple to set up that’s packed with a punch of foundational skills.

One of the best ways to learn is through exploration.

Taking pieces, and moving them around for intentional, hands on learning.

This indoor game was great for my five-year-old, and also perfect for my 3.5 year-old.

Different ages, and different personalities will extend in different ways. This is exactly what you are looking for.

Baby Block Box Breakfast Invitation

Okay, here we go!

A Baby in a Box Breakfast Invitation.

Wait, what? A Breakfast Invitation? What is that? READ HERE.

If you are over there nodding your head like, “Yes!, Yes! I need this! Give me all the baby Breakfast Invitations!”, You are going to LOVE this.

Providing your one-year-old (this includes all babies under two) a border may just buy you a little more time. I say may, because they are under two. They just learned to walk. Chances are, they don’t want to sit still. - and they shouldn’t.

But sometimes, mom needs a minute and Baby Block Box will do the trick.

A FUN Breakfast Invitation

We are grabbing October by the skeleton bones.

Apparently, mom needed a change of seasons to recharge creativity.

This fall we have created pumpkin faces, counted ghost eyes, stuck sticky squares on a pumpkin, and grasped little erasers . We even created a memory game using little pumpkins. The best part of all of these activities is that they can all be tossed into a giant bin to make the Ultimate Halloween sensory exploration.

October, you have been anything but boring.

So now, let’s time to take out all the Halloween stickers (thank you Target Dollar spot and Amazon) for a simple, yet SUPER engaging Breakfast Invitation.

Easy Toddler Activity

So what’s the BIG idea?

Here, your taby, toddler, or preschooler is working on a vertical surface. This is strengthening his core and arm muscles for future skills such as throwing and swinging.

Your child is also discovering new textures.

According to, Loose Parts 2 , “Touching is the most fundamental means of contact with the world.”

The book continues to state, “Since our skin is one of the most sensitive parts of our body and provides much information about the world and it’s messages, it makes sense that young children spend so much time exploring how touch feels to their bodies”

Isn’t that powerful?!

Sounds like touch and texture needs to be integrated into more daily preschool activities.

Make this easy taby, toddler, preschool activity for fall today!

Fine Motor Game for Pencil Grip

Save the pumpkins with this super easy fine motor activity.

Alright, Target Dollar Spot. I came. I saw. I conquered. These little erasers screamed my name all the way from the diaper aisle.

Last week we shared some tips about pencil grip. One of the most important ways to help how your child holds a pencil is to strengthen hand muscles by using tongs, scissors and movements with pliable textures such as playdough.

Save the Pumpkins forces your child in a playful way to use a pencil grip to save the pumpkins from hot lava.

Of course, right? Please tell me everything your child does also revolves around not stepping on the hot lava?!? Remember, speak their language. What makes your preschooler tic?

For us, it was hot lava and they were ALL OVER this game. My almost five year old wanted to count how many he grabbed, and my three-year-old wanted to make sure none of them fell into the gooey mess.

It was easy, and it was awesome.

25+ Activities to Improve Pencil Grip

“Help! How can I help my child hold a pencil?”

This can be one of the trickiest habits to correct.

WHY?

Because children do not always want to be helped.

Go figure. Here we are, teaching them to be independent thinkers, and then swooping in to correct everything.

My three-year-old is full of independence and absolutely does not want mom to rearrange his marker. GASP! Doesn’t he know I am a preschool mommy blogger?!

So what do I do? I find subtle ways to have him practice. These activities suggest he rearrange his grip to create lines and movements in order to complete the task.

And you can do this as well.

Here’s How.

You will Love this New Bedtime Routine Idea

My 4.5 year old was a reluctant writer.

So I took a step back.

I knew my preschooler would write when he was ready.

I also knew that I could begin to teach him letter formations and important prewriting skills using using magnets, going outside, and using highlighters. I didn’t push the pen and paper and you don’t have to either.

You know the saying, "Your preschooler won’t go to college in diapers?

Allow this to apply with learning.

Slow and steady, keeping in mind that preschool is not a race. Your job as the parent or educator is to integrate smart opportunities to play and learn which will act as building blocks to the final goal.

Your child will use the potty and your child will also learn to write.

Bring the Bears Home - Simply the best Breakfast Invitation

Inside: Left to right progression activities for children. 

These color counting/sorting bears are a hot commodity. 

Sorting? Grab the bears. 

Counting? Yup, bears again. 

Left to right progression? Boom. Bears again.

Bring those little guys home. 

My point is, these bears are in our top ten supplies for kids. 

And that doesn't surprise me. When I was a teacher, these counting bears were also a power play when it came to learning. Counting and sorting is just a little more fun when these bears are included. 

So here it is. Our most popular Breakfast Invitation for left to right progression.

Breakfast Invitation for fall

Here's WHY this game is so valuable. 

There is a difference between counting and understanding what the numbers stand for.

COUNTING is one of the first concepts to master. You will notice that your preschooler can count fairly early on and that counting has to do with memorization. 

BUT WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON IN THIS PICTURE IS QUANTITY. 

QUANTITY is the concept of understanding how many. 

It may also include concepts such as more than, bigger than, less than, and same as. 

By Kindergarten, children will be asked to understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.

This visual allows your preschooler to touch the objects as they count and add one more.


Not only will you get a new Breakfast Invitation here, but you will also better understand how to handle when things go a new direction.