hands on : as we grow http://handsonaswegrow.com Hands on kids activities for hands on moms. Focusing on kids activities perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:55:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 30 Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers! Pinch! Thread! Trace! http://handsonaswegrow.com/30-fine-motor-activities-toddlers/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/30-fine-motor-activities-toddlers/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 01:00:30 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=54701 Fine motor activities for toddlers that are simple enough for 1-3 year olds, include threading, poking, pinching, tracing and hand-eye coordination!

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These fine motor activities for toddlers to do are simple and fun!

As I’ve been working on the new eBooks (they’re coming out April 19, 2015), I’ve included a section of printables that showcase a slew of simple activities that cover the different types of activities we do (fine motor, gross motor, etc).

The fine motor Go-To List is jam packed with ideas and I realized that so many of them can done with toddlers! They are perfect! They’re simple, easy to set up and can keep a toddler occupied for more than 10 minutes (maybe! ha ha!).

Remember my tips for doing activities with toddlers? Here they are again:

  • Allow your toddler to explore whatever it is that you give them.
  • Don’t do an activity with an intentional plan, it never works out with this age range.
  • Expect a toddler to be interested, leave it out for them to come back to later, or even the next day.
  • Plan for them to put it in their mouth if you have a mouther.

When it comes to fine motor activities for toddlers in particular, don’t think these should just be easy for toddlers to do right away. These really take quite a bit of concentration and coordination to do. Toddlers will pick it up eventually, just don’t force it. And they need to really work on their big muscles first with gross motor activities before they start work on the little muscles.

Simple fine motor activities for toddlers

30 fantastic and fun fine motor activities for toddlers:

These fine motor activities for toddlers include threading, poking, pinching, tracing and focusing on hand and eye coordination! And they’re all easy enough for toddlers in the 1-3 year old range to do! Have fun!

  1. Pom Pom Drop
  2. Pipe Cleaners and a Colander
  3. Beginner Tracing with Objects
  4. Thread a Fruit Loop Necklace
  5. Peel Tape
  6. BIG Beginner Weaving
  7. Hammering Tees
  8. Ribbons and a Bottle
  9. Crafts Sticks and a Bottle
  10. Painting With Water
  11. Make a Rattle
  12. Thread a Bird Feeder
  13. Squirt and Fizz with Colored Vinegar
  14. Trace Lines of Chalk
  15. Pick up Blocks with Tongs
  16. Nuts & Bolts
  17. Clothespins on a Bucket
  18. Pouring Water
  19. Play Dough and Tees
  20. Thread a Straw Necklace
  21. Pipe Cleaner Sprinkles
  22. Egg Carton Train
  23. Sort Pom Poms
  24. Stack Canned Foods as Blocks
  25. Bucket and a Clothesline
  26. Snip Straws
  27. Thread Dry Spaghetti
  28. Thread Dandelions in a Basket
  29. Make a Spring Tree Craft (or an Apple Tree for Fall)
  30. Write ‘Letters’ and Mail Them

Want more activities to work on fine motor skills?

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Pipe Cleaner Activity to Keep Kids Busy http://handsonaswegrow.com/fine-motor-activity-pipe-cleaners/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/fine-motor-activity-pipe-cleaners/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:16:00 +0000 http://66.147.244.106/~handsoo6/2011/09/14/fine-motor-activity-pipe-cleaners/ Just pipe cleaners and a colander - such a simple fine motor activity to keep toddlers busy for a bit!

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I was so excited to do this fine motor activity again with Louis! See down below when Henry did this activity back when he was just barely three.

Which brings up a point that I often forget myself. There is so much opportunity in going back and doing activities you already have tried. Whether its with the same kid (different age, different circumstances, it’ll end up different!) or with a younger sibling. I often forget to do this (I think its a blogger problem really since I try to come up with new ideas to try. A reason why I’m not the Oprah of Motherhood.)

This is a very simple activity. One of the most basic fine motor activities actually. All you need is pipe cleaners and a colander!

Is it one of our Simplest Activities Yet? Find out!

Set the two supplies out to explore, and you’re all set up! Nothing to do otherwise.

pipe cleaners and a colander!!

Louis poked the pipe cleaners through the holes. Instead of threading from the outside in and then through the other side of the colander and out again, he threaded the pipe cleaners from the inside.

From the inside of the colander, Louis stuck a pipe cleaner through a hole and then poked the other side of the pipe cleaner through another hole in the colander (not really threading).

Just pipe cleaners and a colander - such a simple fine motor activity for toddlers to try.

Louis is big into recognizing colors right now. We talked about the colors of the pipe cleaners as he chose one to poke in.

Just pipe cleaners and a colander - such a simple fine motor activity for toddlers to try.

He’d tell me the color he was looking for and grab it, or I’d suggest a color for him to find.

Just pipe cleaners and a colander - such a simple fine motor activity for toddlers to try.

He didn’t poke nearly as many pipe cleaners in as Henry had (see below), but he pulled them all out and started again instead.

Just pipe cleaners and a colander - such a simple fine motor activity to keep toddlers busy for a bit

Here’s Henry version from a few years ago.

I know Henry’s fine motor skills have never been his strongest trait. So, I do sneak in some fun here and there that works his fingers, such as the Dandelion Hat and Colored Vinegar and Baking Soda Experiment.

But this activity was not intended for Henry at all.

I set out this colander and some pipe cleaners for George to explore.

I did have Tinkerlab’s Colander Sculpture and The Imagination Tree’s Pipe Cleaner Discovery Box in the back of my mind. But I completely intended for this activity to be about George exploring the pipe cleaners. Thinking that a pipe cleaner sculpture could be for another day.

pipe-cleaner-activity-setup

I received a free box of craft goodies from Craftprojectideas.com the other day and this Ultimate Fuzzy Kit was part of it. Basically a lot of pipe cleaners in various forms (regular ones, glittery shiny ones, and super fuzzy tiger-like ones) as well as pom poms and even some googly eyes.

George explored them a little bit at first. Mainly just feeling them out and swinging them around. A few went in his mouth here and there to check them out completely.

fine motor pipe cleaner activity

But that was the extent of it that morning.

Later at night, Henry found the stash of pipe cleaners! He thought it was cool that he could bend them into happy and sad faces. (Acting out each one as he made them.)

fine motor pipe cleaner activity

He struggled with making an angry face, he said he couldn’t. (Not sure what his intention was.)

Henry soon saw that he could stick the pipe cleaners into the colander and they’d stay put.

pushing-pipe-cleaner-activity

George did pop by to check out what big brother was up to.

fine motor pipe cleaner activity

George continued his exploration when he got a hold of one of the fuzzy pipe cleaners.

fine motor pipe cleaner activity

He liked how it felt on his neck. He kept wrapping it around and around.

Henry kept at his pipe cleaners. I was amazed at his concentration to stick those pipe cleaners in the holes.

pipe-cleaner-threading-activity

I had only set a few pipe cleaners out for George. Henry quickly used all of them up and asked for more. By the time he was done, he had used the entire bag of pipe cleaners!

He told me he was making a ‘decoration’. Later he told me it was for Grandpa, too.

pipe-cleaner-activity-decoration

Some accidental fine motor practice happened without me even trying. Shows how play should be the center of a child’s life and learning just happens around it.

Henry really wanted to fill every single hole of the colander. (I didn’t have enough pipe cleaners for that though.)

fine motor pipe cleaner activity

The next day, Grandpa stopped by and Henry presented him with his ‘decoration’.

pipe-cleaner-activity-busy

Grandpa was thrilled. Henry really wanted him to take it home with him.

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How To Cook Dinner Without Your Kids Driving You Crazy http://handsonaswegrow.com/cook-dinner-without-kids-crazy/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/cook-dinner-without-kids-crazy/#respond Mon, 13 Apr 2015 01:00:48 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=52977 Four tips to get dinner on the table, without the craziness and no fights! Michelle, of Moms are Frugal, has four kids and manages it! Here’s her tips. Making dinner can be a challenge for any mom, and for me it doesn’t matter if I have four children or one. They all seem to demand my […]

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Four tips to get dinner on the table, without the craziness and no fights! Michelle, of Moms are Frugal, has four kids and manages it! Here’s her tips.

Making dinner can be a challenge for any mom, and for me it doesn’t matter if I have four children or one. They all seem to demand my attention when I get dinner started. The other time is when I am on the phone, but that is a whole different subject.

This hour of the day brings together a tired mom, tired children, daddy coming home from work and all are hungry.

As a mom I have to have a plan. Nothing in a mom’s world exists without a plan. If I have to do Sunday School for both of our church services the night before I put together a plan.

After many frustrated days, and a husband that recommended we eat in more than we eat out, I researched what other moms were doing and came up with a plan.

A plan that suits our family.

how to cook dinner-20150402-8

Start dinner at the same time everyday.

Consistency helps to calm kids and lets them know what is going to happen at the same time each day. Everyday my kids know at 5:00 pm I will start my dinner routine. A copy of my schedule is on my fridge for everyone to see, and the kids all know what to do when I say it is time to start dinner.

If we have a night where dinner is later than usual it is a lot more scattered and less likely to be a meal well put together.

See why routines are so important for kids here.

Give Each Child Something To Do

The age of the child does not matter. Find something for them to do at the same time each day in the same place. Do not change it until you see they age out of it.

On my schedule each child has a “place” to be with a “job” to be done. *wink* Even my one year old. His job is to sit in his table chair and either eat puffs or read his books.

My six year old is allowed 30-45 minutes of tech time. The four year old is my kitchen helper so he helps me with dinner and setting the table, yes he even cooks with me. It does take a little longer but it is worth it to see him enjoying himself. Of course I do the hot jobs.

See our busy play activities that are so simple to keep kids busy with.

Utilize Only Favorite Toys

This one is super important. This toy CANNOT be used at any other time no matter what the case. If you need 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted time then you can only use the toy that will hold their attention until you are done.

For each child his favorite activity is held until this time of day, and when boredom strikes I insert another activity into this time slot that they love. Such as, if I see the three year old needs to be switched with the six year old on kitchen duty then I will let the three year old have tech time (see our best learning apps for preschoolers). At that time he will watch one of his favorite shows that he loves.

Divide And Conquer

My children play great together at times, but then at other times if they are in the same room together nothing but disagreements break out. It all depends on the day. I do have a lot of training ahead of me in this area. *smirk*

Each child stays on his task, but they are all in the same room with me. This helps me to know that they are safe and not secluded. I want the dinner hour to be fun and cozy, not chaotic and stressful.

Also see how to keep the baby busy while you make dinner!

Maybe some of these tips will help the dinner hour at your home to be a little less crazy!

how to cook dinner-20150402-8-2

Now the challenge is to get them to eat healthy! Use these secrets!

My name is Michelle Knight and I am a home schooling mom to four very busy boys, ages 16 to 1. Wife to a wonderful husband who owns his own construction business. When I am not helping kids with school or playing with the baby I blog at www.momsarefrugal.com and work as a representative for my Avon business.

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Beginner Object Line Tracing for Toddlers http://handsonaswegrow.com/beginner-object-line-tracing-for-toddlers/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/beginner-object-line-tracing-for-toddlers/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 01:00:10 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=54577 To me, tracing for toddlers shouldn't be on worksheets. They should be interacting! Tracing lines with objects. Toddler style.

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To me, tracing for toddlers shouldn’t be on worksheets.

I understand the reasoning for it, and applaud those of you that attempt it. As for my kids, they’re not going to sit and do a worksheet. Its just not gonna happen. Henry’s excited to do them now (he actually asks for worksheets at bedtime to practice spelling words) at age 6. But, as a toddler, there’s no reason for it.

My kids love to move, and I believe they should be! They should also be involved in what they’re doing, their whole body!

That’s what kind of tracing this is. Tracing lines with objects. Toddler style.

Tracing lines with objects. Toddler style.

I taped lines on the floor using painter’s tape.

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s article, if you don’t have painter’s tape (shame on you, its the best!) you can take this outside and use sidewalk chalk instead. Simple and easy solution.

I actually taped out Louis’ name. But this activity has nothing to do with his name. He’s too young to learn the letters of his name, but its never too early to work on letters and name recognition. I just used it as a starting point for that, but never made this tracing activity about the letters or his name. They were just lines.

Beginner tracing for toddlers -- with objects

The boys had blocks out, so that was my first suggestion to use to trace the lines of his name.

Louis lined the blocks up, one by one, side by side to cover the letter L.

Beginner tracing for toddlers -- with objects

The L used up all the blocks we had out! Uh oh!

What other objects could we trace lines with?

George joined us then and found pieces of our Build It Bits & Bobs Set (affiliate link) to trace the letter O with.

Lining objects along the line to trace

The boys then grabbed the train engines and cars that we had to trace the letter U.

I love how they worked together!

Lining objects along the line to trace

And by that time, they were starting to lose interest. Maybe because the trains distracted them and they started playing with them instead. George went on to trace the I with the Build It Set again, but that was it and they were done.

More Activities with Tracing for Toddlers:

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Substitutions for 3 Supplies You Don’t Have http://handsonaswegrow.com/substitutions-supplies-dont-have/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/substitutions-supplies-dont-have/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 01:14:41 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=54553 I have recently surveyed my newsletter subscribers about why they don’t end up doing an activity with their kids. I asked what the main reason was. By far, the majority answer: I don’t have the right supplies. Yes. That’s my main reason too. I don’t go out and buy something just with the idea of doing one special […]

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I have recently surveyed my newsletter subscribers about why they don’t end up doing an activity with their kids. I asked what the main reason was.

By far, the majority answer:

I don’t have the right supplies.

Yes. That’s my main reason too.

I don’t go out and buy something just with the idea of doing one special activity with my kids. I just can’t justify that. There’s two types of supplies I use in our activities that I justify:

  1. Supplies I’m going to have around the house, no matter what, whether or not I have kids around.
  2. Supplies that I’m going to use over and over (and over) again. For many different types of activities.

I once made a list of all the supplies I use. Its very true to my house. But I also asked you what supplies you don’t have from that list… and I found there’s a few that you don’t have. Which bums me out because I love those supplies!

Instead of trying to adjust what I love using, I wanted to inform you of what you could use instead if you don’t happen to have a supply on hand. And maybe I could convince you to stock up on these supplies too, I mean, I buy them… I use them constantly… I think they’re definitely worth it! But if you don’t think so, I understand… you can substitute them.

supply substitution-20150204-8

What you don’t have on hand, and what to substitute it with:

There’s three main supplies I use that are somewhat out of the ordinary. And I understand that they are actually something special that you wouldn’t normally just happen to have on hand. However, these three supplies are ones that I use over and over (and over) again that make them well worth it to just get them.

But, in the case that happen to not have them on hand yet (I understand! I haven’t convinced you yet, give me time), you can try substituting these supplies with something you may more likely have on hand.

Contact Paper: When making contact paper collages, substitute with wax paper and glue. Activities this would work well for:

supply substitution-20150407-8

What activities this doesn’t work for: Sensory activities that use the stickiness of the contact paper.

Buy a roll of contact paper, it lasts a long time! (affiliate link)

Painter’s Tape: When using painter’s tape as an outline or a line to follow, take the activity outside and use sidewalk chalk. Activities this would work well for:

supply substitution-20150407-8-3

When doing tape resist, or other activities that call for painter’s tape that doesn’t matter if it sticks to the surface, use any other type of tape that you do have: Scotch tape, masking tape, electrical tape, etc. Activities this would work well for:

Or simple draw lines on butcher paper instead of using tape on the floor. Make it a little smaller to fit the paper you have.

Or just stock up on painter’s tape, because I swear its the best supply to have! (affiliate link)

Butcher (or Art) Paper: Instead of butcher paper, you can substitute for whatever size paper you do have. It might just take a few pieces of paper. Or just make everything smaller. Many times I prefer to enlarge the activity just to intrigue my kids more, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done smaller. It might actually be better for fine motor skills! Activities this would work well for:

supply substitution-20130829-8

Butcher paper gets used over and over in our house! Get a roll! It lasts a long time! (affiliate link)

Challenge me!

I challenge you to ask me in the comments about an activity you want to do but you don’t have the right supplies. I’ll do my best to come up with a substitution that works with what you do have (I bet there’s something)!

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Gross Motor Activity for a Rainy Day: Walking on Pillows http://handsonaswegrow.com/gross-motor-activity-walking-pillows/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/gross-motor-activity-walking-pillows/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 02:53:01 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=21691 I’m almost embarrassed to post this gross motor activity…. it seems too simple to warrant a post. But with that said, it was super duper fun and had George moving all morning long! And its perfect for those days you’re stuck indoors, when its cold or rainy. (Hey, its Iowa here and spring has taken a long […]

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I’m almost embarrassed to post this gross motor activity…. it seems too simple to warrant a post. But with that said, it was super duper fun and had George moving all morning long! And its perfect for those days you’re stuck indoors, when its cold or rainy. (Hey, its Iowa here and spring has taken a long time to really show itself!)

You have everything it takes to do this activity, I promise.

What can couch cushions become? We’ve done a few things in the past, and forts are always made with the couch cushions.

This time… we got moving!

Gather all the pillows and cushions you have. The more the merrier!

Gross Motor Activity for a Rainy Day: Walking on Pillows

Then line them all up in a row.

And that’s it.

Walking on Pillows

Now… I had George try to get from one end of the pillows to the other. It seemed so simple and a funny thing for me to ask him to do.

Walking on pillows

But it proved to be a huge challenge!

Walking on pillows was tough to do! I did it with him too (I shared a bunch of activities to do with the kids outside, but this is a good one to do with them inside too!), it was tough to do! But especially tough for a toddler still trying to figure out and strengthen gross motor skills.

Walking on pillows

Up the game by spreading the pillows apart and make it about jumping from island to island!

I admit… It was a little tough to just let go and let him try to do it and not worry about him getting hurt. I guess if you’re worried about that, put down more cushions and pillows! George is pretty tough and doesn’t usually get bothered when he falls down and gets completely bumped up!

Oh… A gross motor activity so funny and fun to do!

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The Secrets to Get Kids to Eat Healthy http://handsonaswegrow.com/secrets-kids-eat-healthy/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/secrets-kids-eat-healthy/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 01:05:42 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=54330 No more ‘one last bite’! Out with the ‘clean plate club’! Secrets that actually get kids to eat healthy. If they don’t want to eat, don’t worry.

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We own and run a bakery and my kids are super picky. So, getting our kids to eat healthy foods is super tough. Luckily, Dr Orlean Kerek of Snotty Noses is sharing her secrets with me today! And you too!

I’m Dr Orlena Kerek. I’m a paediatric doctor and mother of 4 children, aged 6, 4 and twins of 2. Our mealtimes are, how can I put this?… a bit noisy. The twins’ table manners are quite frankly, a disaster. But I know that my children eat healthily. Of course, they ask for sweets and cookies but they also eat lots of vegetables and fruit. They even ask for fruit and I know that they’ll grow up to eat healthily and reap all those benefits of a healthy diet and life style.

Everyone has good intentions. We want our children to eat healthily, but our kids seem to have minds of their own. We offer tasty healthy fruit. They want cookies. We offer vegetables, they want chips. (They count as veggies right?)

It’s so difficult in this busy world to make time to cook, to cook healthily, and to keep our children on the ‘healthy eating track’. Should I even mention introducing new foods? I know! A tricky subject for all of us.

What would you say if I told you it wasn’t really that difficult?

That when you know how, it’s just as easy to feed them a healthy diet as a junk diet. It’s just making a few changes here and there. You just need to be shown the way! You’re welcome to come to my next free webinar where I’ll share heaps of useful advise.

For now, let me tell you a few secrets. Or should I say a few rules that will make your life easier. Surprisingly they’re rules for us parents. If you stick by these rules, your kids will be eating healthy food before you know it. And the best part is that they won’t even know they’re eating healthily. They’ll just be eating tasty food that they like, that just happens to be healthy.

No more ‘one last bite’! Out with the ‘clean plate club’! Secrets that actually get kids to eat healthy.

My Healthy Eating for Children Rules.

Max out on the fruit and veg. Look at your day and see where you can introduce more fruit and veg. Chopped up apple for breakfast? Carrots sticks for lunch? Quick and easy vegetable soup as a first course for dinner? Half of what you eat should be fruit and vegetables (with vegetables a bit more that fruit).

Be patient, especially when introducing new foods. It takes time, 10 -15 times to get to like something new. Before that, it’s rejected as ‘unknown’. When you give your child something new, expect them not to like it. You won’t get upset when they don’t eat it. You’ll know it doesn’t matter and than you need to present it another 14 times before they decide whether they do or not.

Don’t pressure children to eat. No more ‘one last bite’! Out with the ‘clean plate club’! Pressuring children can lead to the opposite. They develop negative emotions towards that food and refuse to eat it. You end up in a spiraling battle that you aren’t going to win. See Dinner Table Battles.

Learn to trust your children. You need to teach them to eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. It’s difficult to trust them. We are a nation of ‘feeders’. I suspect it’s some evolutionary trait left over from when there wasn’t enough food. We live in times of plenty and we have to learn when to stop eating.

Have regular feeding times (for example, breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner.) Present your children with their healthy food. If they don’t want to eat, don’t worry. They can eat at the next healthy eating opportunity.

Present everyone with the same food. If they don’t want it, they can leave it politely at the side of the plate. (They may need to practise that bit!) (P.S. obviously not if your children have allergies.)

Free Healthy Eating for Children Webinar

These are some tips to get you started. I know, it’s easy to say and slightly more difficult to do. Why not come and join me for my next FREE webinar. I’ll be sharing tips on how you can change your life from ‘bad diet and stressed’ to ‘healthy and relaxed’. It’s really easy once you know how.

The Secrets to Get Kids to Eat Healthy on handsonaswegrow.com

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