Hello Powerful Mothering readers, my name is Katie and I’m the mom of two curious 5-year-olds. I blog at Gift of Curiosity, where I share hands-on learning ideas, Montessori activities, as well as loads of educational printables for kids ages 2 to 7. I want to thank Nicolette for the opportunity to guest post here at Powerful Mothering so I can share some seasonal fine motor skills activities.
Pumpkins are ubiquitous this time of year. Every store I walk in to is selling pumpkins of one size or another! Today I’m going to share three ways your kids can get practice their fine motor skills using pumpkins.
Decorate a pumpkin using pins and buttons
I’ve always loved the mini pumpkins that appear in stores this time of year, usually costing just $1 or so. You can use these mini pumpkins to promote the development of fine motor skills by allowing your kids to decorate them using pins and buttons.
To do this activity, I put some fabric pins and buttons on a tray along with a mini pumpkin. I demonstrated for my kids how to stick the buttons on the pumpkin by pushing the pins through the button holes into the flesh of the pumpkin. And then I let them get creative with their decorating. Their little fingers had to really work to get the pins in, but they had so much fun and were so proud of their decorated pumpkins when they were through.
Polish a pumpkin with water
I love the Montessori approach to education, and I feature many Montessori activities on my blog. This pumpkin polishing activity is a typical Montessori practical life activity that develops children’s fine motor skills. It was amazing to see how much fun my kids had polishing a pumpkin!
For this activity, I put a pumpkin and a spray bottle filled with water on a tray. I also included a washcloth and a Q-tip. I showed my kids how to spray water on their pumpkins. Using a spray bottle is a great way to strengthen little fingers!
I then showed my kids how to use the washcloth and Q-tip to polish their pumpkins. My kids really got into this activity and had their pumpkins squeaky clean by the time they were done. And best of all, along the way they got in some great fine motor practice.
Smash a pumpkin with a hammer
Smashing a pumpkin with a hammer is a great activity to do with your leftover Halloween pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns. My son went crazy for this activity!
Safety is paramount with this activity, of course. You need to ensure that the hammer is not too heavy for your child to use safely. We used a real hammer, but a very light weight one that he could easily manage on his own. I recommend a lightweight hammer like this one from Montessori services. We also showed my son how to use the hammer so he would hit the pumpkin rather than miss and end up hitting himself in the leg or foot.
And although my son is not wearing goggles in the picture below, some sort of protective eye gear would be an excellent idea. I also recommend doing this activity in open space where no one will get hurt and nothing will get broken. We did this activity in the middle of our backyard lawn.
Once you’ve taken care of the safety issues, the idea is to let your child use the hammer to smash the pumpkin to smithereens. This activity is highly motivating for many kids, so it should give them plenty of fine motor practice as they work.
By sharing these fine motor practice ideas, I hope I’ve inspired you to use seasonal items to present fine motor skills activities to your children. If you enjoyed these ideas, I invite you to check out the many other fine motor activities I share at Gift of Curiosity.
Katie SG is the proud mom of two curious kids, a 5-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. She shares hands-on learning activities and educational printables at Gift of Curiosity. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter.