Activity 1: My Little Muscles

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Help your child to develop dexterity by using pencils, crayons, scissors, and play-dough, and playing with objects such as connecting blocks, peg boards, zippers, buttons, stickers, or fruit. Doing this requires using the small muscles in the hands and fingers and develops what is called small motor control and dexterity.

Health & Safety: Activity 1

mylittleBenefits for Your Child:

  • Develops dexterity in the hand and wrist
  • Develops control in the hand and wrist

Help your child to develop dexterity by using pencils, crayons, scissors, and play-dough, and by playing with objects such as connecting blocks, peg boards, zippers, buttons, stickers, or fruit. Doing this requires using the small muscles in the hands and fingers and develops what is called small motor control and dexterity.

Kindergarten Connection tooltip

Children in kindergarten will use their hands to do things like writing and cutting.

Activity: My Little Muscles

This activity is designed to help your child develop fine motor (small muscle) skills. Allow your child to choose what he/she would like to do and support the choice. Explain to your child that today you are going to be artists and make sculptures or statues together. Before you begin working, you may want to consider some objects that you might mold. Look at pictures in books and magazines, pictures on your wall, household items, or pets. Ask your child what he/she would like to make, and guide him/her by asking questions such as “What part do you want to make first? How much of your dough will you need to make that? How can you make it that shape?”

Prepare the play-dough with your child or use store-bought play-dough. If using the recipe, make sure that the play-dough has cooled completely before having your child handle it.
Play-dough recipe:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1½ teaspoons cream of tartar

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until the mixture rolls into a ball. Remove from the saucepan and knead for a few minutes, and it is ready! To make different colors, simply stir in a few drops of food coloring or dry Kool-Aid mix before placing the mixture on the stove. Store the play-dough in an airtight container or plastic bag.

More Ideas

  • You can also use other materials to create parts of the objects (buttons for eyes, paper clips for arms).
  • Teach your child how to pinch the dough to make indentations, roll the dough to make vines, and pinch off pieces and roll to make small balls. Use household items such as a pencil, spoon, or fork to mark the dough.
  • Encourage your child to use pencils, crayons, scissors, connecting blocks, peg boards, zippers, buttons, and stickers to help develop and strengthen his/her fine motor (small muscle) skills.

Tips:

  • Your child may not want to make a specific object, but may simply enjoy using the tools to experiment. If this is the case, you may want to repeat this activity so that your child has several opportunities to use the dough and the tools.
  • Your child may only want to make one object and keep it, or he/she may want to begin over and over, making many objects.

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Books: My Little Muscles

The Little Hands Art Book: Exploring Arts & Crafts With 2- to 6-Year-Olds by Judy Press. A collection of fun activities to do with young children.

Finger Rhymes by Marc Brown. A collection of finger rhymes with hand movement illustrations.

Piggies by Don and Audrey Wood. A child’s fingers become “piggies” and go through a variety of scenes ending in bedtime.

Complete Book List