We use sand trays as part of the lesson plan at our Ashburn Montessori preschool. Using our fine motor skills to draw letters in the sand. These are the building blocks of reading, learning our letters and identifying the letters in sight words.
What Are Fine Motor Skills?
Fine motor skills are achieved when children learn to use their smaller muscles, like muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists. Children use their fine motor skills when writing, holding small items, buttoning clothing, turning pages, eating, and cutting with scissors. Mastery of fine motor skills requires precision and coordination.
Fine motor skills develop after gross motor skills, which control actions like throwing and kicking balls, as well as walking and jumping. Gross motor skills utilize larger muscle groups and require less precision.
How Do We Help Children Develop Fine Motor Skills?
Practice, practice, practice. In most cases of fine motor skill development, practice does, in fact, make perfect. Some ways to develop these skills are having children do the following activities:
- Pop bubbles on bubble wrap with just the index finger and thumb.
- Use an eyedropper to add food coloring to batter with just the index finger and thumb.
- Finger painting
- Trace shapes or letters
- Legos or building blocks
These activities focus on smaller muscle groups. Using the same muscles can help children develop muscle memory, which is when repetition of one action allows that action to be performed almost automatically without much effort. For example, the motion of drawing a letter “S” in the sand can be difficult the first few tries. But after drawing the letter “S” a few times, they tend to master that motion. It will become second nature to the children.
Imaginative Play At Our Ashburn Montessori preschool!
Center Stage has huge boulder hopping rocks. The children love sitting on the warm rocks in the sun. The rocks can change with one’s imagination. It could be a dinosaur egg, a pirate ship or maybe we are at the base of a volcano having to hop from rock to rock to escape from the hot flowing lava. Learn more about our outdoor playground and classroom.
Natural playscapes are designed to stimulate the imagination and encourage creativity. Our Ashburn Montessori preschool incorporated the boulders to promote imaginative play through a variety of sensory stimulation, including touch, sight and sound. It has been found that children who play in more natural settings tend to play in more diverse and creative ways, and show improvement in the areas of collaboration and language skills.
Doesn’t this sound like a great way for your child to spend their day? Climbing on our big boulders, creating more diverse and creative ways to play! We think so too! Find out more about our Ashburn Preschool classes by scheduling a tour!
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