From the moment our little ones pick up that first Cheerio, their fine motor skills start developing. But that first piece of cereal is just the beginning. We have to nurture this important skill by providing tons of opportunities to get those fingers moving! I cannot stress how important this skill is.
We want our children to become independent – to be able to get dressed on their own, feed themselves, brush their own teeth, and more. There’s also the very obvious reason of being able to write without finger muscles getting in the way of a very complex skill. But having fine motor skills can also allow children to build and to express their creativity, which might lead them to discovering their spark, their purpose, and give their life meaning. So don’t forget to incorporate those fine motor skills whenever possible. Here are a few USA activities that help work on those very important fine motor skills.
USA Lesson plans
Red, white, and blue paper chains
Cutting Fine Motor Skills
One decoration that I love adding to almost any dramatic play center is a paper chain. Paper chains are just so easy and inexpensive to make, and they just make everything look so beautiful.
For our voting booth this week, I wanted to add in the ever essential fine motor skill of cutting, but also work on an ABC pattern. I printed out the lined template (which comes with the Voting Booth Dramatic Play) on red, white, and blue paper. Then, the little ones began cutting out the strips of paper. Finally, we sat down as a group to create the pattern, saying red, white, and blue over and over again. My little ones helped loop each strip of paper through to form a circle. Some of my littles even wanted to come up and try to squeeze the stapler, which they could do with help, of course!
Stars & Stripes Pipes
Sorting Sensory Bin
I found this amazing table scatter at Hobby Lobby over the summer (with the Fourth of July decorations), and I was psyched! Oh, the thrill of finding something unexpected and great while shopping! These stars are made of acrylic, which makes them easy to wash and long-lasting. Perfect for preschool!
Then, I set up our PVC pipes, which we’ve used with a sensory bin during our construction theme and nursery rhyme theme. Since the top of the pipes had three shoots, this worked perfectly for sorting by red, white, and blue! We set buckets below to catch the stars and add in that wonderful plinking sound. Fine motor skills and a sensory experience wrapped up all in one with these stars and stripes pipes.
Egg Carton Flag
Is anyone else obsessed with eggs? I eat eggs every single day and never tire of them. It’s the perfect way to start my day. It’s also why I have this giant egg carton. So many benefits.
To make this flag egg carton, I squirted a tiny dot of paint in each of the wells. Then, I used a paintbrush to swirl each color around in a circle. Took me about three minutes. Then, I added red, white, and blue gems to tubs (this was obviously before I found that awesome star table scatter) with some bug catcher tongs. The kids used the tongs to scoop the gems and add them to the colored wells of the egg carton, making a fine motor flag activity. It soon turned into a use-all-the-gems activity, but hey, they were still working on fine motor skills.
Lincoln Hat Stack
As a STEAM challenge this week, we worked on stacking Abraham Lincoln’s hat as high as possible using a pipe insulator as our “blocks.” This insulator is very similar to a pool noodle, so if you can easily find one of those, snatch it up!
First, I taped the challenge question onto a small box from the cupboard. That way, it looked like we were adding to the height of his hat – so cute! As the children stacked, they counted aloud. It was a big deal when the hat stack tipped over, and everyone ended up clapping. Sometimes, you just don’t know what kids are going to do. Love it! Then, the older children wrote the number of pieces they were able to stack before they fell on the recording card. I helped the littlest one write the numbers on the card. Such a fun way to work on fine motor skills and math at the same time. This Lincoln activity also comes with measuring cards to use in the USA math center.
For one of our math activities this week, we went on a ten frame tour of the United States, flying to important landmarks in our country and working on counting ten frames. Each landmark included a beautiful photograph to give the children a better idea of what each location looked like. To extend their learning, we used Magna-Tiles and blocks to build a few of the landmarks. (Really, you could use any building material.) Then, we drew a picture of the landmark on the grid and circled it at the bottom of the page. Love, love, love building activities!
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MORE USA Activities
I hope you got some ideas flowing on how to incorporate those very important fine motor skills with your USA theme! If you need anything to make these activities work for your classroom, just send me an email here, and I’d be happy to help with anything you need. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our USA activities by clicking on the buttons above!