Set up a super-simple fine motor activity for kids using pine cones and elastic bands! Great for strengthening those little hand muscles crucial for writing development later on, and good for concentration and hand:eye co-ordination too.
I set up a very easy Invitation to Play on a tray, using just pine cones and some coloured elastic bands in 3 different sizes. The bands came from Poundland in a large box for £1 and are really appealing for little hands! This activity set up was inspired by this great tin can and rubber band activity over on Hands on as we Grow and is so easy to put together.
The rubber bands are great for children’s hand development as they need to be pushed out to stretch them and open them up, causing a good resistance against the fingers which is suitably hard to do. If they just stretched their fingers open and closed repeatedly around a band it would be a great mini work-out for the fingers and muscles!
All of them enjoyed trying this out, with Miss 6 getting the most involved (which initially surprised me!) They used two hands and one hand to open the bands and loop them over the cones, depending on their level of hand strength and started to decorate the cones using the range of colours.
Some of the finished pine cones looked beautiful, like little pieces of sculptural art work in their own right. Removing the elastic bands is just as great a finger work-out as putting them on, so that could also be a follow up activity to do after this one.
Try encouraging them to remove all the bands and sort them back into piles according to colour and size, and then it becomes a maths activity too!
What they are learning as they play:
physical: fine motor skills and co-ordination, muscle strengthening in the hands, hand:eye co-ordination
maths: sorting and matching
creativity: making mini sculptures using combined materials
See our FINE MOTOR SKILLS ACTIVITIES archives for lots more ideas and simple play ideas like this
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