Category Archives: Scooping

Fine Finger Play the Montessori Way


My sister recently visited. As usual, we had a  blast! I love it when she comes. She is full of jokes and laughs which are key ingredients in FUN!

A highlight of her visit was our trip to the pumpkin patch at Yule Forest. Although A.J. was a little  standoffish when it came to the animals, he enjoyed the hay ride and the “idea” of the animals. I could tell by his repeating the word hayride along with making sounds of the different animals he saw.

After my sister’s visit, we painted our pumpkins and resumed activities to enhance A.J.’s fine motor skills. 

We focused on the three-finger (pincer) grasp and added an activity to strengthen his circular wrist motion.  

Here is what we did.

Three-finger (pincer) grasp activities included: Stringing beads, using a ladle for scooping the beans and placing Cheerios around spaghetti sticks.

I love his concentration!

Hey Mom! Look at what I did!

He used a ladle to scoop and transfer the beans using the three finger pincer grasp and also did this activity using his whole hand to transfer the beans.

I was totally impressed by this feat! But even more so by his determination to keep trying until he succeeded!

By the time we did the cheerios activity, I must admit that I was a bit tired. My patience was becoming short and I really wanted to stop after a few tries. A.J. however was determined to keep going until he placed all 10 cheerios on the thin, easily breakable, spaghetti stick. Despite my urging to try again later or perhaps tomorrow, he pushed through. I was so proud of him! More importantly, he was super proud of himself!

Circular wrist motion – Using a wisk

Whisking yolks for scrambled eggs

Amira has been observing our activities, too!

What other fun fine motor skill development activities have you done?

Pray, Persist & Prosper,

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7 Activities That Demonstrate How Water Play Develops Important Skills

Oooooh. Nice looking ice, Mommy!

1. Melting Colored Ice in Warm Water – Although it is winter, I want A.J. to experience some water play outside of the bathtub. The Mommysaver blog shared this neat colored ice idea. However, instead of adding the ice to bath water as the site recommends, I decided to put the cubes in a large bowl. I added warm water so that A.J. could watch and feel the ice cubes melt. The bright colors (which quickly turned dark), texture of the ice, and warm water all fascinated him.

I was so enthralled by his reaction that I didn’t point out the colors. Next time I most definitely will. This activity reinforces color recognition.

Ice melting in warm water.

Ice is cold.

2. Scooping Ice – helps toddlers perfect their three-finger (pincer) grasp which is important for writing. This is a fine motor skill development activity that will help toddlers gain better control over their arm and hand movements. I dumped the melted ice and added the colored ice without water.

Scooping the ice into a bowl.

Yay for me!

Ooooh Gosh this is fun, but my hands are freezing from playing with the ice!

3. Pouring – is another fine motor skill act. However, it encompasses the whole hand and in Montessori education, this would be considered a Whole hand Grasping activity.

I'm helping Mommy to water the plants.

Since A.J. is watering a plant, Montessori educators would also categorize this activity as practicing Care of the Environment. Other activities that fall under this category are:

  1. Sweeping the floor
  2. Mopping the floor
  3. Cleaning spills
  4. Wiping a table
  5. Washing a dish
  6. Drying a dish
  7. Washing a cup
  8. Drying a cup

4. Wringing a Washcloth or Sponge – This is when things went a little awry. A.J. flung the sponge and water went flying every where. He thought this was funny. Wringing a washcloth for a pre-toddler is challenging because it requires a circular wrist motion, a skill that needs practicing in order to be strengthenend.

After a few minutes of playing with the sponge, A.J. turned the water bowls upside down and began drumming on them. Anything with a flat bottom is at risk of becoming a drum!

Hmmmm, I wonder what sound this new drum will make?

5. Cleaning Spills – is an important part of caring for your environment and teaching this skill so that it becomes a habit for kids is crucial.

Wiping a spill.

6. Spray & Play – I leave a spray bottle with water on the shelf so that A.J. can give it to me anytime he wants me to chase and spray him. I enjoy listening to him squeal with laughter as I chase him around the house. The water is gentle and comes out in a light mist. I especially like to spray him so that he can get accustomed to water unexpectedly getting onto his face. Being comfortable with water in your face is important when learning how to swim. The running also helps him with his Gross Motor Skills.

7. Carrying a Bucket of Water – Actually, this could be carrying a bucket of anything. I haven’t done this with A.J. yet, but I plan to do it soon. Carrying a bucket develops Control of Movement, another area of development in Montessori education.

While the water play activities mentioned here all have latent skill building components, having fun is the surest way to get your toddler doing these activities again and again.

What fun indoor water play have you had with your tot lately?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!