Sometimes the best activities are the ones that are done using household items.
This week, we honed in one Mariam’s fine motor skills with a simple and inexpensive activity. This activity is also great for encouraging focus and hand-eye coordination.
The only two materials that you need for this activity are kabob sticks and an old, clean spice jar (we used a small jar that used to have cumin inside). You can use any jar or can of your choice (an empty salt shaker would work too). The idea here is to create a simple way for your toddler to put the sticks through individual holes on the lid of the jar or can.
Kabob Stick Fine Motor Activity
– 2 wooden kabob sticks cut in half (pointed sides also cut off) – you’ll end up with 4 short sticks to use for the activity.
– an old and clean spice jar (with a lid that has small holes-either already there or poked through by hand)
How to do this activity:
1 – You’ll first want to allow your toddler the opportunity to explore both materials. Don’t expect them to just jump into the activity without feeding their curiosity first.
**Take care not to let your child walk away/run around with the sticks. This activity needs to be done with your close supervision and the child safely seated.
2 – Talk to your child about the materials and use adjectives as you describe each material. For example, say similar to the following:
“Feel the smooth glass jar.”
“Feel how rough the sticks feel.”
“Look at the clear lid on the jar.”
“Let’s count the holes together.”
The point here isn’t that your child understands everything you’re saying. You’re focusing on language and giving them a chance to explore the materials.
3 – After your child is given ample time to explore and study the objects freely (with your supervision and while being safely seated), show them how to do the activity while talking them through each step. For example, as you insert one kabob stick into the jar, you describe what you did. Show them the jar and point to where the stick is after it’s been put inside.
You’re going to want to show them how to do this activity multiple times.
4 – After your child watches how you do the activity, allow them the opportunity to try it out for him/her self while providing support. Here you can take turns inserting a stick in the jar, indicating when it’s ‘your turn’ and his/her ‘turn’.
5 – After you’ve given them clear support, allow them the time to do this activity on their own while you watch.
This activity isn’t something you should expect your toddler to do successfully the first few times. My daughter took her time in exploring the steps of the activity, pulling the sticks out and putting them back in, in the way that she felt she wanted to.
Do not be discouraged if this doesn’t seem successful for you and your child. You can proceed with one of the two options below IF you don’t feel confident in this activity:
1 – Get this activity out once or twice a day for a week. During this week, take mental notes and observations about whether or not you see your toddler ‘getting the hang’ of the activity.
2 – If you feel that your toddler isn’t ready for this activity, that’s okay! Just put the jar and kabob sticks in storage until your toddler shows signs of being ready later on. Remember, every child is different and develops at their own pace.
Let me know in the comments below if you plan on trying this activity with your child! I’d love to hear from you!