Here is an effortlessly simple fine motor toddler activity for a rainy afternoon! It will keep those little hands and brains busy like they should be so hopefully you can get something accomplished for the day. My son and daughter were both SO excited about this game.
Being an occupational therapist and mother to two little ones, its always important to be able to grade an activity up or down to make it harder or easier for both age levels.
For my daughter (who is 21 months), we worked on color recognition, bilateral hand skills and tripod grasp to take off the stickers. And for my son, I graded it up a bit and turned it into a connect the dot number puzzle afterwards.
color code dot stickers, markers, paper roll, tape
Here are all the skills this activity addresses + promotes:
- bilateral coordination hand skills *the ability to cross midline and use the hands together in a coordinated way
- tripod grasp strengthening - taking off the stickers
- upper extremity reaching skills
- upper extremity strengthening of the shoulder girdle or proximal stability
- color recognition + matching skills
- visual scanning and visual sequencing - for connect the number game
I talk a lot about how writing + coloring on a vertical surface such as a wall, window, easel is great for strengthening all the muscles in back and shoulder girdle. "Why is this so important?" You might ask.
The reason is that the shoulder girdle and back muscles are the basis of support for the entire upper extremity. The stability of the upper extremities depend completely on the shoulder and scapula strength. Essentially, fine motor control cannot be established without adequate stability at the shoulder. We call this proximal stability, quite literally meaning strength near the spine.
There are so many children that I work with in the clinic who have poor proximal stability at the shoulder girdle, and, therefore, have poor fine motor strength and control. Instead of immediately addressing their grasp strength and fine motor control, I usually have to first take a step back and strengthen the shoulder girdle before we move on to the next.