As a former elementary school teacher, I was always amazed at how some of my third graders came to the classroom unable to cut straight or color in the lines. Not to mention their illegible handwriting! It was truly baffling. And it wasn’t until I started teaching my own children that I realized acquiring fine motor skills translates into so many different areas of life, not just third-grade handwriting. Knowing this has made me keenly aware of how important it is to incorporate fine motor practice whenever I can. Here are some farm fine motor activities for preschoolers that encourage learning through play.
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Farm Lesson plans
Fill the Silo
Farm Sensory Bin
Popcorn kernels are one of my absolute favorite sensory bin fillers. The sensation when running your fingers through them, the soft clinking as they move. Plus, popcorn kernels go perfectly with a farm theme!
To make this farm sensory bin, pop some kernels into a bin and (if you have it), add a Lego barn. Then, cut a hole in a small coffee canister using a box cutter to make the perfect silo. Talk about how silos are used to store different grains like wheat, and then set the little ones off to fill up the silo!
Use shovels, fingers, or troughs to scoop the kernels into the silo. Ant then the fun part: dumping the silo out!
Milk the Cow
Fine Motor Dramatic Play
I’m all about providing my kiddos with real experiences, but we’ve never milked a cow. The thought of milking a cow makes me shudder. No pun intended about udders. Maybe I’m scared I will be forced to try hot milk. Yuck! (Deep breath.) It’s okay, we only live once, right?
Until that moment, I’ve created a cow-milking experience right here for my little ones to try.
Use a push pin to poke a hole in each of the fingers of a latex glove and pour milk inside. Tip: Only poke 2-3 holes and make sure they are small. Then, tie the rubber glove at the top. Next, secure it to a chair (or better yet, a bar, knob, or PVC pipe) before taping the cow from the farm dramatic play center on top.
Also, we only tried this one day with real milk. The other days, I just left the cow in the dramatic play center with an empty glove for the kids to pretend to milk the cow. Do what is manageable for you.
Farm Animal Washing
Farm Sensory Bin
Okay, this next farm fine motor activity is a sure winner!
Kids who love messes: check! Children who love to clean: check! Toddlers who love mud: check! Kids who love water: check! Teachers who love when an activity captivates toddlers for longer than 30 seconds: check!
Not to mention, this goes perfectly with one of our farm books this week: Mrs. Wishy Washy.
For this farm animal washing sensory experience, set up two bins side by side – one with mud and one with soapy water. Next, place some farm animal counters in the muddy water just like the animals on Mrs. Wishy Washy’s farm. Add a scrub brush and a bucket (from the story) and this is set to go!
Between the oozing mud, getting to act out the story, and the foamy water, this was such an exciting sensory experience. Plus, the kiddos worked on fine motor skills trying to clean all of the farm animals.
Bubble Wrap Sheep
Farm Fine Motor Activities
My home has never been baby-proofed – no locks on cabinets, no baby gates, no putting away the fragile home decor. I simply taught my kids how to safely and properly accomplish things and respect our home. I know personality can definitely impact the level of these limits, but it’s never too early to start!
This leads me to our next activity: popping the bubble wrap on a sheep using a push pin. Using a push pin is a great way to start learning how to properly handle tools as the risks are fairly low.
First, use a black & white sheep printout and lay some bubble wrap on top of the body. (We used the printout from the Shear the Sheep game). Then, place the sheep on top of the carpet to start popping!
My little one loved checking each bubble with her finger to make sure she popped it! Such a unique way to practice those fine motor skills!
Build a Farm
Play Dough Invitation
Last, but certainly not least, I set out a playdough invitation to create a farm.
Some of the materials laid out were small red cups, mini popsicle sticks, vegetable counters, and farm animal counters.
The red cups transformed into a barn and baskets for collecting vegetables. The mini popsicle sticks became fences for the animals and the garden.
Such an effective and easy way to engage your little learners with fine motor development and creativity during a farm theme!
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Farm fine motor activities are not only fun, they are important to help improve hand strength and dexterity. When children can get dressed by themselves (buttons, zippers, tying laces), take care of themselves (brush teeth, brush hair), and feed themselves without making a mess, their independence and self-esteem will rise. Plus, fine motor development will help with cutting, drawing, and writing at school. So don’t forget to incorporate fine motor skills whenever you can. Which activity will you try first?