My kiddos have always loved playing with the plastic tools and accessories that accompanied our little play workbench, so when I was stuck at the hardware store a few days ago, I couldn’t resist grabbing a few bucks’ worth of nuts, bolts, washers, and other fun silvery-shiny things to bring back for Maddy, Owen, and Cora.
I’m always on the lookout for ways of honing the fine motor skills of my little ones, and I know they love to play with anything that is usually off-limits, like cell phones, remote controls, batteries, and their Dad’s tools. Now that Cora, at 2, is beyond the point of putting every little thing in her mouth, I thought it might be interesting and fun to see how they choose to play with these things, while they were secretly learning a bit along the way. . .
- Nuts, Bolts, & Washer Fun: For the last few days, I’ve brought out a tray with several sizes of bolts (or are they screws? I’m not even really sure. . . ), several sizes of washers, and several sizes of nuts. I also picked up a bunch of ‘S’ shaped hooks. I put all of this shiny, silver, beautiful, tantalizing equipment on a tray along with the coveted tape measure, and I let Maddy, Owen, and Cora play freely. They looked nervous at first and wondered if I’d lost my mind or if their dad would be upset, but then they got rolling.
Maddy worked on patterns and then asked Owen or me to guess what they were; sometimes they included the S-hook, and sometimes they only involved nuts and washers. We would talk about the patterns, and then Owen and I together would try to copy them.
Owen used the tape measure to see which bolt was longer, which nut was the biggest, or whose foot was the shortest. Then he tried to take all of the nuts and put them on his bolt to make it the heaviest. And gosh, it got heavy.
Cora entertained herself by putting washers on bolts repeatedly. It was easiest for her to put the large washer on the most thin screw, and I wish I would have picked up some more large washers for her to use. She had a tough time putting the nuts on, but once I got them started and showed her how, she did fine.
After a good, long hand washing and some tired muscles, my three kiddos went off to play happily, bragging that Mommy let them play with Daddy’s tools.
Anything (pop-beads, regular beads, scissor work, crayon bits, or grip practice) that we can do to help improve our children’s fine motor skills is super-helpful in teaching them the tripod grip. It really is a skill that must be taught, and for some kiddos, it is far from natural. Sure, our children will probably be blogging their way through high school and typing assignments by grade three, but they’ll need to write their way through Kindergarten. And we want to make sure they’re ready to do it.
And that–on top of getting adjusted to swim team mornings and (finally!) some summer sun–is how we’ve passed just a teeny bit of time for the past few days.