Tag Archives: fine motor skills

Playdough and loose parts play

The orchard bubble have been busy! 

The orchard bubble has shown a great interest in making playdough over the last few weeks. The children have taken responsibility for their own learning by coming up with different ideas of how they want to create their playdough from colours and texture.  “I want blue.”




“I want pink.”




The children had shown an interest in loose parts and wanted to include this in their playdough experience. By incorporating loose parts with playdough the children are developing their fine motor skills. They use a variety of movements such as pressing, rolling and stretching. This will help to strengthen the muscles in their hand which in turn will help them with their writing skills.


“I want to use leaves.”       


 “Oooohhh feathers.”



The children showed ownership over their creations and seemed to enjoy the fact that they could start again when one model was finished. They did show interest in taking them home so our next steps will be trying to create models with loose parts and clay. 


“Can we take them home?”

Musicality benefits

From a very young age children benefit in all areas of their development when taking part in musicality sessions.


  1. Helps children understand the meaning and the sound of words.
  2. Helps develop their listening skills (loud, quiet)
  3. Rhyming
  4. Syllables (clapping out)
  5. Helps them predict
  6. Imagination
  7. Conversation
  8. Follow instruction



  1. Counting beats
  2. Number song
  3. Recognition of numbers
  4. Recognition of Shapes And their names
  5. Rhythm pattern


Gross and fine motor motor skills

  1. Jumping, hopping, skipping and dancing.
  2. Helps them develop and control their body movements.
  3. Better control at manipulating objects (instruments)
  4. Helps strengthen their muscles.
  5. Moving the instruments in all different directions(up downside to side, front back)

Social and emotional skills

  1. Interaction with other children.
  2. Introduction to different kinds of music and cultural differences awareness.
  3. Increasing confidence in performing
  4. Sharing resources.




Risky Play

What is Risky Play and Why is it Important?


Children need to be kept safe from potential harm and hazards at all times, but they also need to explore and take risks. Risky play is exciting, challenging, fun, it pushes limits and there is every chance of physical injury. We don’t want children’s lives to be in danger, or any serious injury to be likely. That’s why with any new piece of equipment we carry out a risk assessment. This allows us to assess whether the risk of a resource or activity outweighs the benefit. Is something guaranteed to be seriously dangerous? Well, then it’s probably not ok. But if there is a low chance of bumps, grazes, or cuts? Maybe that’s alright. 

The Experience of risky play is an important part of children’s learning. It develops the child’s self-confidence, resilience, promotes problem solving and trust in their own judgements as adults.  Children have the right to make decisions and take risks through their play. In having these opportunities, children will be able to maximise their enjoyment of the environment whilst removing obvious risk. The ‘United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’ states in article 31: ‘All Children have the right to relax and play and to join in a wide range of activities.’ 

In our Centre we encourage children to manage their own risk in everyday play situations both indoors and out.


  • Climbing a high tree


  • Rope swinging


  • Whittling wood


  • Balancing



  • Using tools at the woodwork bench, saws, hammer and drills
  • Playing in the stream to build a dam
  • Building fires
  • Running fast, chasing each other.

It’s easy to say things like: “Be Careful,” and if you listen to yourself on how many times a day you say it with your child you will be amazed. What we are actually doing is telling children to stop and it’s for our benefit because we don’t want our children to get hurt. If instead we ask: –

  •     Do you feel safe?
  •     Can you see anything that could hurt you or be in the way?
  •     What can I do to help you to be safe?
  •     Where can you put your hand next?

This helps the child to focus on the environment around them. With time and Space, the child will revisit this experience, remember what they did before and build on that knowledge.


Remote Learning: Fine Motor Skills – Getting Ready to Write

Fine motor skills involve the use of the muscles and joints of the hands that interconnect and work together to allow you to complete dexterous tasks.  They are the smaller hand and finger movements used, for example, to open a lunch box, zip up a coat or write with a pencil.  A young child cannot be expected to be able to do these tasks or learn to write appropriately if they haven’t yet developed the strength needed in their hands and fingers. Here are some ideas you can try at home with your families to help develop your fine motor skills and have some fun as well.   

Ice and snow melt

Use a pipette to squeeze some warm water on to some ice cubes or snow.  How long does it take to melt?  Maybe you could try adding some food colouring or paint to the water or try using different liquids such as vinegar or fizzy juice.

Play dough 

Try squeezing, stretching, squashing, pinching and rolling some play dough.  Can you make some snakes or wiggly worms?  Maybe you could try using scissors to cut the play dough into small pieces and then rolling them into little balls.  How many can you make?  Can you make different sizes of play dough balls?  Try holding a masher in both hands and find out how flat you can squash your play dough.  You could also try using some loose parts to add to your play dough. Have fun.



  • Plain flour – 2 cups
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Salt – ¼ cup
  • Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Food colouring or paint (It helps to add this to the cup of water)
  1. Add everything together into a large bowl and stir well with a spoon until it turns into a soft dough.
  2. If the mixture is too sticky add some more flour.  If it’s too dry add some more water.
  3. Empty the play dough onto a floured surface and mix together with your hands.

Bottle top blaster

  • Ask an adult to help you cut the top from a plastic bottle and then attach a balloon where the lid would normally be.
  • Put a pompom into the bottle funnel.
  • Hold the bottle funnel with one hand and pull the balloon back hard with your other hand.
  • Let go of the balloon and your pompom will shoot out.  How far can your missile travel?
  • Why not rip or cut some paper to stick on to decorate your bottle top blaster.   

Mark Making

Fill a tray with rice, or spread a thin layer of shaving foam or salt on a worktop or old baking tray.  Try different items to draw, write or make patterns with such as your fingertip, twig, lollipop stick or paper straw.


Rice RacePut three small empty bowls on a table. Divide a handful of uncooked rice into two of the bowls, leaving the middle one empty. Have a race with someone from home to find out who can be the first to empty their bowl using a teaspoon to put their rice into the middle empty bowl.  Try using your left hand and your right hand.

Activities such as jigsaws, building with Lego or playing with loose parts are also great ways to help develop your fine motor skills. Collect a variety of small loose parts from around your home such as buttons, dried pasta, beads, coins or bottle lids. Experiment with making shapes or patterns with your loose parts or perhaps you could make some pictures, or build towers.

Please remember to share your learning on Google Classroom or Twitter @GlenwoodFC  #Glenwoodlearningathome

Remote Learning – Rocks Rock!

Do you have stones or rocks in your garden?

Can you go on your daily walk and find some?

If the answer is yes, then here are some ideas from Miss McArthur you can try out!

Rock Painting

Choose your favourite colours and paint away… this will help:

  • Develop creativity – it doesn’t matter if the picture doesn’t look like anything to you, to your child it’s a masterpiece.
  • Express their feelings and thoughts without words – sometimes paintings tell a story.
  • Develop problem solving and motor skills – as they figure out how to manipulate the rock and painting tools.

Rock paintings will help brighten up your garden or make an indoor play area. Why not try:

  • Painting small world animals or fairies.
  • Creating a fairy or elf door,
  • Painting minibeasts.
  • Create your own number or letter hunt around the house or in your garden.

Use rocks and stones as loose parts

What shapes can you turn them into?

How many have you collected?

Can you make a stepped number line from them? Can you build a tower out of them?

Miss McArthur can build a tower of 5.

Is your tower bigger or smaller?


Remember to Tweet to let us see what you used your rocks for! @GlenwoodFC #Glenwoodlearningathome


Remote Learning – Let’s Get Ready to Write…

Did you know that writing is not a fundamental skill our bodies are designed for?
So in order for us to support and enable children to become successful writers, we must first understand the physical and dexterity skills.
There are many different ways this can be done at home… and they don’t always involve a pencil and paper!
Upper body/ large motor skill activities
● Sweeping races; grab a large brush and some foam and head outside. Who will be the fastest?
● Wash outdoor walls with soapy bubbles… How high can you reach on the wall?
● Paint with a mop: can you mix the colours? What patterns can you make?
● Get green fingered; dig in the soil, plant seeds and flowers, dig up the weeds.
All of these activities will help develop your child’s shoulder pivot- the full range of motion using their whole arm, and their elbow pivot- where they can be seen ‘sawing’ back and forth as they draw and write.
Smaller/ fine motor skill activities

Let’s Get Foamy! 

Use shaving foam to make scribbles, pictures, letters and more. Why not try using different utensils like spoons, forks, sticks, straws or paint brushes.

By using fingers and different utensils, the small muscles in the wrist and hands are strengthening.

Playdough Party

You will need: dough (2 cups flour, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup oil, colour/scent), space to move around and music!

Moves can include: make a ball, pass and press (move the dough from hand to hand, pressing it flat) and funky fingers (use each individual finger to create a dotty pattern)

Why not challenge yourself and see how many shapes you can make before the music stops?

For more Dough Disco ideas visit YouTube here.

Other fun activities to try

  • Mark making in gloop, rice or paint – time yourself to see what you can create in 1 minute.
  • Create threading skewers with spaghetti and penne pasta
  • Make some chalk paint and decorate the patio/driveway/garden walls – here’s a recipe to try.
  • Create a cutting station
  • Make painted toast!

Let us see what you can do – Tweet us @GlenwoodFC  #Glenwoodlearningathome

Remote Learning – Ideas for Using Chalk

Children enjoy using chalk outside and can use it in a variety of different activities, developing many different skills.

For many children it may be one of their first experiences of mark making, allowing them to freely explore and encouraging their wonderful imagination. This will help to develop their fine motor skills which will strengthen their pincer grip essential movements for controlling and holding any writing implement.


Games such as hopscotch can help our physical well being, encouraging the development of our large motor skills, through hopping, jumping and balancing. Using numbers or letters can also help with numeracy & literacy skills.

Number Circles

Other great chalk ideas that would help to further develop numeracy skills could be, number circles having to count and place the correct amount of marbles or counters into the correct numbered circle.


Developing the ability to recognise the pattern and follow it on by drawing the correct missing shape or saying the shapes name. Encourages shape recognition and problem solving.

More games 

To develop colour, shape and number recognition, could be drawing the different shapes with different coloured chalks, writing a number in the middle then asking for the correct number and colour of marbles or counters to be placed in the named shape.

The freedom to explore different activities when using chalk will encourage more creativity, confidence and curiosity. You can help develop this by offering different learning experiences and ways to use chalk. Writing up picture idea cards might help encourage someone who is struggling to think of just what to draw.

Also by grating chalk into a fine powder and mixing it with water turning it into a paint, using a paint brush to paint with or adding it into a spray bottle will allow for different effects. Also mixing the chalk dust with shaving foam and placing into a squeeze bottle will create different textures foam paints which children love!

Don’t worry if you don’t have any chalk – you can make your own paint using cornflour, water and food colouring. Watch this video to find out how… Make your own chalk paint

Remember to Tweet  @GlenwoodFC  #Glenwoodlearningathome