Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finger Strength Activities for Preparing for Kindergarten

My little Buddy will be entering Kindergarten next year and with an April birthday, he will be one of the youngest.  I've never been a huge fan of drilling them with flashcards, as I believe they learn much more valuable skills through playing, but with Kindergarten around the corner I have decided I need to make sure he at least knows his letters and can hold a pencil correctly.

When I finally sat down to assess what he knew, I was a bit dismayed to realized that he didn't quite know all his letters and his pencil grip was a little lacking as well.  I decided to start working on his finger strength.  Kids can't hold the pencil correctly unless their fingers are strong enough.

First, we used push pins to improve strength.  Make sure you supervise this activity, as these pins are sharp, but I find at ages 4 and 5 they are perfectly capable of handling this.

First, start out with a pin cushion and be sure to place the pins on the left and the cushion on the right to simulate reading and writing from left to right.  Then instruct your child to make a pattern with the pins.


Just look at that great pinching grasp!  That's exactly what I've been wanting him to do with his pencil!


He had a great time with the pins and once we finished that I got out the tweezers and our colored poms.  Again, I organized this activity to go from left to right and he had to pinch the tweezers and move all the poms from the left tin to the right one.





Again that correct pinching motion was at work!

A few days later, we did a coin drop into a coffee cup.  An empty salt container works great for this too.



I hadn't planned to have him work on writing at that point, but he really wanted to (probably since we were getting ready to go to bed and this was delaying it), so I worked on letters with him for a few minutes and I could already see him grip improving.  Still not perfect, but much better!



For more ideas on working on finger strength and preparing for Kindergarten, please check out my book The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn



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