The leaves outside are magnificent right now! Let’s have some fun strengthening our fingers while bringing the beauty of Autumn inside!
1. Play-doh Tree
Either insert the tree into a big ziploc bag or laminate it so you can reuse it over and over again for this activity. Simply have the child pinch & pull small pieces of play-doh and roll the play-doh into balls. If they can, encourage them to roll the play-doh just between their fingers versus in their palm. Place the play-doh balls on the tree and squish them by isolating each finger- first squish one with your thumb, now your pointer finger, and so on.
2. Tear & Rip Tree
Seriously, who would think that ripping paper could be so therapeutic. Try it right now. See how your thumb, pointer finger and middle finger all come together to rip the paper? Those are the same fingers a child will use when they develop their pencil grasp. Ripping paper helps develop those skills needed for writing and also for things like opening ziploc bags, operating a zipper, using scissors. Your hands actually have to move in opposite directions of each other when ripping, which is also helping develop those important bilateral coordination skills.
3. Fingerprint Tree
Use either finger paints or a stamp pad for the kids to make fingerprint leaves on the trees! This is a great activity for kids who are working on tactile integration. You can also work on finger isolation and awareness skills by having them use each finger. Make really colorful trees and make each finger a different color: the pinky can only be used in the orange, the middle finger only in the yellow and so on.
4. Punch Art Tree
I really do love punch art. Hole punches are so great at strengthening fingers and I haven’t met a young child yet that isn’t highly motivated to see the product of using a hole punch. A quick search on Amazon brought up a ton of different punches. If you are a scrapbooker, you may just already have one! Punch the leaves and glue them to the tree! The smaller the hole punch, the more finger dexterity will be needed to pick them up to put them on the tree.
5. Q-Tip Tree
Work that in-hand manipulation by using Q-tips to make leaves on the tree. Use two different colored paints and one Q-tip. Have the child use one end for the yellow and one end for the red. The challenge is to only use one hand to turn the Q-tip when you want to try to change colors.