Lately, you might have noticed that we have had a few posts about light table activities. Experimenting with Ice and Pony Bead Puppets have been great activities with our “light table.” It’s in quotes because it’s not really a table, it’s more like a small, flimsy box that lights up! I made it from a cardboard box and an old picture frame. But, despite the size, my daughter is in love with that Charlie Brown Christmas tree of a light table. I set up this little fine motor station for her on the light table, but it could be done anywhere!
- Beads (I used pony beads – we received some of these for free from Craft Project Ideas.)
- Scissors (for cutting straws if your child is ready)
- Light Table <— aff link to our favorite light panel!
L enjoyed putting the skewers into the Styrofoam which takes a lot of patience and effort. Then, she carefully thread pony beads onto the skewers. I was surprised with how accurate she was as she placed the pony beads on top of the skewers. In order to put the beads on, you have to have the bead at the right angle otherwise, it won’t thread down to the bottom. It was great to see her “work” as she thread bead after bead. What a great opportunity for fine motor work, hand-eye-coordination, and perseverance!
I also had scissors available in case she wanted to cut smaller pieces from the large straws. I was not surprised when she picked up the scissors immediately. But, prepare for flying straws if you let your child cut them – as she cut the straws, they shot around the room like popping pop corn! I was glad she had the opportunity for this extra fine motor practice because it allowed her to make some more elaborate patterns and combinations on the skewers.
L surprised me again when she started to estimate how many beads and straws she had on each skewer. She placed a finger on each bead as she counted with a one-to-one correspondence. I thought this would be great for fine motor work and fun for my daughter, but she turned into a lesson in math as well!
The best part about open-ended materials is that children get to use the materials in a way that supports their own learning. They get to focus on the areas that they want to explore and to learn about instead of being told what to learn. Did you happen to notice that the Styrofoam was colored? I had big plans of L sorting the beads and straws by colors onto skewers, but she didn’t even notice the colors on the Styrofoam and that was OKAY! She was too busy threading and counting. For me, it was perfect because she took the activity where she needed it to go!
Does your child have a favorite fine motor activity?