Activities to develop upper body strength, gross motor movements, hand-eye co-ordination, fine motor control, pencil grip and handwriting
Use meal times, snack times and baking as an opportunity to use physical skills
• Offer opportunities for children to prepare simple snacks….snack table as part of daily routine, or plan for specific food preparation…..spreading on crackers/bread with different food textures (jam, spreading cheese, peanut butter, etc.); cutting soft fruits (bananas, strawberries, etc.
• Make a simple sandwich using a knife to spread butter/topping and to cut into squares or triangle shapes • Make toast (with an adult) using a knife to spread butter and topping of choice.
• Make simple buns / cookies/biscuits/tarts using wooden spoon to stir a mix, scoop mixture a whisk/ fork, a rolling pin for biscuits or pastry.
• Help to prepare pizza using a readymade base - spread tomato paste /sauce with a knife and add toppings of own choice – sprinkle grated cheese. Cook and cut with a pizza cutter or knife.
• Use chopsticks to eat noodles or spaghetti --- have a go with other foods.
• Activities using different tools such as a masher, a hand whisk, a garlic press, sieve, grater, etc. N.B safety using tools, equipment including knives
(This can be commercially bought dough or homemade dough- see www.imaginationtree for recipe)
• Explore dough using hands – roll in a ball, roll into a sausage using two hands/using one or two hands on a flat surface, squash into a pancake, squeeze dough in palm of hand, etc.
• Explore the dough using finger to press or poke, pincer movement to pinch, squash dough using your knuckle or side of hand, etc.
• Offer simple challenges for children to make ‘silly characters’ using different skills – roll, squash, squeeze, pinch…..etc.
• Make ‘crazy creatures’ – make dough creatures using a range of small objects to press into the dough – googly eyes, pipe cleaners, small gems, stones, pebbles, beads, pasta, straws (make the dough exciting colours/smelly and sparkly)
• Make a dinosaur, dog, cat or other creature /animal using one piece of dough.
• Make an animal/creature using more than one piece of dough.
• Use different tools to explore dough – pastry cutters, garlic press, knife, fork, rolling pin, etc.
• Use objects from around the house/outside to explore patterns in the dough – sticks, bubble wrap, leaves, pan scrub, key, brush, shell, stones, etc. N.B safety and allergies
• Washing day – washing clothes in a bucket or baby bath or washing up bowl. Scrubbing clothes, wringing them out and using pegs to hang on a washing line.
• Washing cars, bikes, and other items outdoors.
• Using a bucket of water and different sized paint brushes paint walls and fences…and watch the water disappear – write letters, words, numbers, shapes, pictures.
• Simple races – hopping, skipping, jumping, walking sideways, dribbling a ball, bouncing a ball – use a timer.
• Throw balls, (tennis, ping pong,) into different sized containers – plant pot, bucket, yoghurt cartons, plastic cups – make it more difficult by moving further away or using smaller containers.
• Draw lines with chalk on the floor– straight, wavy, zigzag – walk along the line / walk with something balanced on their head/ walk along and pick up an object…who can be the fastest?
• Using a timer set simple challenges – balance on one leg /other leg/opposite hand and foot/stand still/jump on spot/ star jumps, etc.
• Make simple models using junk, (cardboard boxes /tubes, plastic containers, foil, paper) and join with string, tape, glue – whatever is available.
• Threading – beads, dried pasta, ‘Cheerios’ Hula Hoops onto string/wool/pipe cleaners to make chains, bracelets, etc. – make different patterns and lengths.
• Games with tweezers and small objects – pasta, pom-poms, beads / egg cartons, yoghurt pots – how many in 30 seconds /1 minute.
• Make models from construction kits – Lego, Duplo, or any other kits available.
• Set challenges building towers with different objects – bricks, cardboard boxes /tubes, who can build the tallest tower?
• Using crayons/pencils/chalks draw pictures. Draw favourite animal, food, TV or story character. Write about the picture – what it is, what it does, what it looks like, etc. Use the back of old wallpaper rolls/used envelopes, note pads, etc.
• Jigsaw puzzles, board games which involve manipulation small objects – tiddly winks, marble run, connect 4, etc.
• If supervised – cutting with scissors – cooked spaghetti, paper, leaves, shapes pictures, simple drawings, etc.