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Friday, February 1, 2013

Fine Motor Friday

This is for all my teacher friends.  If you really want a good activity to help kids improve their fine motor strength go buy some beads. I don't mean those plastic pony beads or the ones with the hole that fits a pencil these are real glass beads.

You can find them at Michael's, by pass those plastic beads. Yes, the glitter may be eye catching but believe me, if you really want to get the boys involved and they will, get the glass beads.  First, the holes are smaller to you really have to use wire or fishing line. Second, kids love touching these. I've seen them just reaching into the container and feel the beads as they talk to me.  Very therapeutic. The wire I buy is located is the beading aisle.  I think it's about a 22 or 24 gauge and can be cut with scissors. 

My class begins with children age 3 1/2- 4, we start with pipe cleaners and pony beads, then move to wire and last fishing wire.  If you are seeing this post in the middle of a school year by pass the pipe cleaners and go straight to the wire.  If your kids are older bring out the fishing wire.  Remember to tie a "stopper" bead at the end so the beads don't fall off.  It might be a fun challenge to older kids to not have the stopper bead but you know your class better.  Here's the documentation that I sent out to parents the other day.  Feel free to use and Enjoy!

Fine Motor Skills:

Grasping: Various sizes of beads promote different grasps. Larger beads often promote the "3-jaw chuck" grasp, similar to holding a large pencil or marker. Smaller beads encourage children to use their pincer grasp, thus strengthening the small muscles of their hands.

In-hand manipulation skills: Many components of making a beaded craft increase strength and coordination in the small hand and finger muscles. For example, picking a bead up from the beading tray, and then manipulating it in one's hand until it is pinched between your thumb and finger, involves translation, shift and rotation movements of the bead within the hand.

Visual Perceptual Skills:

Visual Discrimination, Scanning, Visual Memory: The child must be able to remember the beading pattern to determine the bead they want to use. Once they know what bead they want, visual discrimination assists them in selecting the bead that fits their mental image of the desired bead. Finally, the child must scan across many different beads before finding the desired bead.

Visual Motor Skills:

Eye-Hand coordination: Threading beads onto a string involves bilateral coordination of the child's hands, and requires their eyes and hands to work together.

Cognitive Skills:

Planning: What style of necklace does the child want to make? What pattern will they choose? Where are all the materials needed to complete this beading activity? By answering these questions, the child develops his/her planning and problem-solving skills.

Math Skills: How long will my necklace, bracelet, or keychain need to be? How many beads do I need to complete this project? How can I create and maintain this beading pattern? Encouraging children to think through these functional math problems is a motivating way to improve academic skills in this area.
Social Skills:
Beading promotes sharing and cooperation, as children choose beads and complete their projects in a group setting. 
Overall Developmental Benefits of Beading: 
* Improved fine motor, visual perceptual, visual motor and cognitive skills
* Improved dressing skills (especially clothing fasteners, like buttons and zippers)
* Improved pencil grasp and pencil control during colouring and writing activities
* Improved visual perception and better planning often help a child to become more organized (e.g. Where is that sock? Where did I put my pencil case or favourite toy? Do I have everything I need to complete my homework?)
* And last but not least, Beading can provide a sense of accomplishment in completing a project that offers freedom of self-expression and camaraderie. 
(information found on beading

 Stay tuned for more fine motor activities that are real winners :)

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