Thursday, March 29, 2012

Growing itty bitty muscles.

I'm a handwriting snob.  There, I said it.  I like my handwriting, I notice the handwriting of others.  I push my kids to use their best handwriting (although most think that is yesterday's news because we can all text and type now).  I teach them the proper way to write letters, we learn to print...then we learn cursive...and I insist they write legibly.  (I'm also a spelling snob, but that's another post for another day.)

I can name, off the top of my head, dozens of fun activities, toys and games that help develop the itty bitty muscles within the itty bitty hands of my kiddos.  My kids can even tell you what activities they can do (fun activities) that will help strengthen their FM muscles.  Sunshine's favorite activity is crocheting.  Belle's favorite activity is playing her guitar.  And Punky...well, she will do almost anything I put in front of her, as long as I keep variety.

Today I spent a little while making new toys for Punky to revitalize our stash.  Sometimes you just need a little spice.  I'm fortunate to have quite a collection of craft supplies and materials, and we were able to make several new toys without even hitting the store.

One toy is this new lacing game.  All we needed was a long ribbon, felt squares, a needle, thread & scissors.

To put it together, I snipped a little slit in each piece of felt just wide enough for the ribbon to slide through (and lay flat).  Then, I sewed the ribbon on the back side of one piece of felt, so now it acts like a stopper as she laces the ribbon through the remaining pieces of felt.  I also folded the threading end of the ribbon over to a point and stitched along the frayed edge.  This way the ribbon stays "clean" and keeps a point, which offers a little more help to her as she learns how to manipulate this floppy ribbon thru the floppy felt.  To simplify this activity for younger kids. have them thread a chopstick or other rigid object through the hole.

Another very quick activity is feeding the pipe cleaners to a water bottle.  She loves to twist and bend pipe cleaners (great FM work) and feeding them through the bottle opening is helping develop hand-eye coordination.  This is a great activity that I can throw in my bag to take with us, too.  The lid contains the pipe cleaners until we're ready to play with the toy.  It isn't noisy at all, either.  Win-win-win!!!  (This is just a small, pint-size water bottle, and the pipe cleaners are cut into thirds.  I twisted them around pencils before I gave them to her, but she has since straightened them out and made them her own.)

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