I have had this numbered peg board for a long time and the kids rarely use it appropriately. They usually build tall towers and or swords so it has sat in my closet the majority of the time. I have seen some similar marble and pom pom balancing ideas using golf tees on Pinterest and liked them. Today when cleaning out my closet I saw the peg and mats and realized they would be perfect for this activity. The children will use two finger pinching or tongs to put different size poms on the top and match colors.

And what I really like is the different mats make differentiated learning easy. I can choose a mat with fewer holes for those that are still struggling with tongs so they feel successful. I just turn them upside down (the side without the written number) and use the two different sized pegs. Marbles and pom poms balancing!

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I feel bad taking the free paint samples from Lowe's. I'm sure they never meant for me to take as many as I do. OK guilt trip over. Paint strips are great for scissor practice. They are heavier than paper and easier for little hands to hold. Colorful patterns make them desirable. I am doing something new this year and adding illustrated anchor charts to my centers. Above is my work basket ready to go. Below is the anchor chart.


I'm so excited to use these this year. I got the idea and instructions to make these (super easy) from Tips From a Typical Mom Blog.

I decided to make an anchor chart with pics to help the children know what to do with the center. Above is my work basket with the anchor chart ready to go. And here is a close up of the anchor chart.


This is a basket from the Dollar Tree cut in half and laid on it's side. I wrapped a string around it and then cut out some clothes. I have small clothespins which work great. Super workout for those little fingers.


I saw this on Pinterest and tweaked it for my kids level at the beginning of school. I found a smooth sided bottle and using 3 different colored Sharpies drew 3 paths on the bottle. Each path is marked with a "s" and "f" for start and finish. I dropped a magnetic ball inside and glued the top on. The child will hold the magnet with a tripod grasp and the bottle with the non dominant hand. They will then try to make the ball follow the path of choice. Go here to see how the original post uses it for higher level skills:


This is what holds ribbons, lace, etc at the fabric store and is yours free when they are empty. We use it to thread and weave a long ribbon in any pattern we choose.


1/4 oz Un flavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup corn starch
3 cups cold water
4 - 6 small jars with tight fitting lids 
(1/2 cup, 125 mL, each) Paste food coloring

Combine gelatin and first amount of cold water in small bowl.
Let stand for about 5 minutes to soften gelatin.
Combine cornstarch and second amount of cold water in medium sauce pan.
Heat and stir until boiling and thickened.
Stir in gelatin until dissolved.
Divide gelatin mixture among jars.
Stir food coloring into mixture, a little at a time,to desired color. makes about 3 cups enough for 6 different colors. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days.

NOTE: Paste food coloring is available at craft store kitchen supply store it is less messy to use and creates brighter colors

Crackers and crumbs (pretend to eat a cracker and brush the crumbs off your shirt)
Crackers and crumbs (pretend to eat a cracker and brush the crumbs off your shirt)
These are my fingers (show fingers)
These are my thumbs (thumbs up)
These are my eyes (point to eyes)
These are my ears (point to ears)
They'll all grow bigger (put hands down by floor and stretch up for last two lines)
In the next few years

All you do is enjoy yourself...put a puddle of liquid starch on the paper, or directly on the table, or on a cookie sheet or sheet of Plexiglas or anything smooth...and then put a tablespoon of powdered tempera, or a squirt
of liquid tempera, directly on the starch. There are no exact measurements.
Which is nice! Less paint, you get a transparent look. More paint, you get a denser look.

Squishy balls are just balloons filled with corn starch or flour.
You fill the balloon with the flour or corn starch and tie it off.
My students are having a great time with these.


Make a teepee. Come inside.
Pull down tight so we can hide.
Around the mountain... here we go!
Here's my arrow. Here's my bow.

1) Pick up and sort objects such as blocks, spools, coins, beans, 
marbles, cotton balls, pins, buttons, straws, nails, nuts, bolts, 
popcorn, etc.. and place them into containers of varying sizes (i.e. 
egg cartons, cups, mugs, jars, etc.)

2) Pick up objects (blocks, cotton balls, counters, etc.) using 
various sized tongs and strawberry pickers, transferring them between 

3) Stack objects (i.e. coins, cards, checkers, blocks, etc.)

4) Screw and unscrew objects such as nuts and bolts, caps from jars

5) String beads onto a shoelace

6) Run a threaded needle through cloth

7) Fasten safety pins

8) Cut straight and curved lines/shapes drawn on paper, cloth, etc., 
with scissors

9) Play the piano

10) Type

11) Crumple paper in a small ball and then flick it with the finger 
(play "soccer" with the paper ball)

12) Shuffle cards, deal cards one by one, turn cards over

13) Roll a pencil between thumb and fingers without dropping it

14) Knead dough

15) Stick small objects into play dough for him/her to pull out

16) Wind thread on a spool evenly

17) Put rubber bands around various size containers and objects

18) Use tweezers to pick up small objects

19) Move spoonfuls of small objects from one bowl to another

20) Do up buttons, zippers, hooks, etc.

21) Tie shoelaces

22) Cut finger and toenails with clippers

23) Trace and copy letters

24) Do connect the dot puzzles

25) Solve mazes

26) Manually sharpen pencils

27) Use a manual can opener

28) Tie a box with string or ribbon

29) Put keys into locks to open doors

30) Put paper clips onto paper

31) Use a stapler

32) Remove staples with a staple remover

33) Place clothespins on the edge of a box or container

34) Dial a telephone

35) Set a watch or clock

36) Pick up or move marbles (or nuts in shells) using a melon baller. 
This could be made into a game - i.e. take turns rolling a die. 
Whatever number turns up, pick up that number of "marbles" and place 
them into an egg carton.

37) Use Wikki Stix to form shapes, letters, numbers, and other 
designs. You may want to use a template.

38) Color using the flat side of a crayon. Put paper over leaves, 
stencils, and other objects so that the child gets sensory feedback 
as he colors.

39) Make a matching game (pictures, letters, etc.) using a coffee can 
and clothespins. Have the child put the clothespins on the rim of the 

40) Use sprayer bottles filled with water and sponges to have the 
child "clean" a desk or table, then squeeze the excess water into a 
dishpan. This is a great pre-scissor skill activity.

41) Lace various sized beads. Any activity involving the use of both 
hands is good to develop bilateral integration.

42) Oriental Trading Company has some cute manipulatives, like small 
locks with keys and slimy putty for poking and rolling. You could 
have a cutting center. Give the student a magazine and let him cut 
out the pictures he likes to make a poster. Glue on pictures and 
later let him tell why he chose those pictures.

43) A fun activity with young toddlers is to fill a sensory 
table/bucket with colored pompoms and provide small tongs and 
strawberry baskets (or another basket/bucket) for the children to 
fill their baskets.

44) Also using tweezers to pickup different items.kind of like 
sorting.maybe in egg cartons or something else.

45) Older children may practice strengthening strengthening their 
fingers for cutting by using a rubber band to just stretch, release, 
stretch, release, etc.

46) Play dough play with young children with the terms: poke, 
squeeze, pound, press, knead, etc. is always good for language too.

Submitted by Rachel
Take a rubber examining glove and put a table spoon of finger paint in the glove.  Next fill the glove 3/4 way with white school glue.  Tie the end of the glove off.  Wash off any glue or paint that might have gotten on the outside of the glove.  Then you put another glove on the original and tie.  This will give it extra protection.  Squeeze the glove and work together the glue and paint until it is one solid color.  I tried this in my toddler class and they loved it, they just laugh because it felt like they were playing with a hand.  They especially like how they can take the glove and give their self a high five.

Strings of Bag Beads
Roll them, twist them, or bend them. Then string them up and wear them!
You will need:
grocery bags
markers, glitter, or paints
hole punch
yarn or string
To Make a Tube Bead
Cut a long strip from a grocery bag. Make it as wide as you'd like your
bead. Use markers, glitter, or paints to decorate a few inches at one end of
it. Then starting at the plain end, roll the strip around a toothpick. Glue
the end down.
To Make Accordion-Style Beads
Cut a strip from a bag. Decorate it on both sides with markers or paints,
then fold it accordion-style. Punch a hole in each section between the
To Make a Necklace, Bracelet, or Anklet
Create as many beads as you like then arrange them on your work space. Wrap tape around the end of a length of string or yarn, then thread it through the beads. Trim the string, leaving enough room at both ends to tie them together.

Submited by Vicky
write with a tiny piece of damp sponge on chalkboard and then trace with finger
put about a 1/2 inch of sand in a shallow box and trace
here is a cool one, collect the disolvable packaging peanuts.  If you touch the end of one to a damp sponge it will stick to another one!  the kids LOVE making sculptures from this, letters would work too.
glue things onto outline of letter like popcorn on letter P, seeds on letter S etc.
letter pretzels, recipe in "KinderCooking has a good one that doesn't need to rise.
Poke holes with pushpins (Lay paper on carpet to do this)
draw letters on each others backs with finger
make fingerprints on outline of letter

If you and your students are frustrated by fingerpaint paper that wears and tears before youngsters have finished their artwork, you'll appreciate this alternative. Have students fingerpaint directly on serving trays or cafeteria trays. On a tray, a student can fingerpaint to his heart's content without having to worry about a fragile paper surface. The paint is usually confined to the tray, making cleanup a breeze. If you want to preserve a copy of the artwork, press a sheet of fingerpaint paper onto the painted design on the tray and carefully lift up the paper.

For cutting practice, you could have the kids cut out the supermarket coupons from the Sunday and Wednesday newspapers.  Just have them cut on the dotted lines.

I also read where someone had a "cutting box".  Have the child sit in a large box and cut away. The scraps stay in the box!

Submitted by Marilyn
I just read this little activity in a book.  Purchase colorful, plastic spring action clothes pins.  Place them on a try and let the children grasp them to one another to form all different and interesting creations.  It is simple, cheap and great for pincer grip, fine motor and eye-hand coordination.  I purchased two packages today in the local supermarket. they are more expensive than the wooden clothespins, but more attractive.  Make sure they are not the flimsy, small ones.  These break too easily.

½ cup white glue
1/3 cup shampoo
1 ½ cups flour
1. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2. Knead while in bowl to make a smooth dough.
3. Model the dough. Is a really great dough for the coil method.
4. Let objects dry for 1 or 2 days to finish, depending on thickness.
5. You can paint the completely dried projects.

Submitted by Chris
I give each student a zip lock bag.  Then depending on the theme I have glitter or small beads.  I then go around and have the children squeeze hair gel in the bags.  Blue and green work well.  I add food coloring if too light.  Then I have the children add the glitter or figures (small ones) to the goop.  Then they seal the bag with no air in it.  I give then white paper with letters or shapes we are working on to trace over with their fingers.  The students love the bags and they keep for a long time!!  You can be very creative with this idea.  We did under the sea theme and they used blue hair gel and little shark and fish figures.  I also added glitter.  They still talk about the bags.

Fingerplay Mitts
Fascinate your youngsters when performing fingerplays by donning these
special fingerplay mitts. To make a fingerplay mitt, use self-adhesive
Velcro® pieces to attach small puppet cutouts to colorful gardening gloves.
Puppets can be easily removed and replaced with other sets as desired.

Here's a good squishy bag basic. You can just use two colors to let children discover secondary colors; you can add all kinds of things- sequins, the tiny doodads from craft shops, tiny alphabet blocks, etc. Remember to check that seal! i  like the idea of extra sealing tape around the bag
if the children are very vigorous squishers!

Sensory:  Make squishy bags. In a saucepan, pour 1 cup cornstarch, 1/3 cup sugar, and four cups water. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. The mixture will  start to turn lumpy, and then thicken into a  sort of vaseline-looking product. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Divide into 4-6 small strong ziploc  storage bags. Squirt in a few drops of food coloring in primary colors, aiming for different areas of the bags. Press out as much air as possible, and seal the bags. Fold a piece of duct tape over the top for added security . Now- give to the kids, and let them squeeze and press the colors around. The colors will blend beautifully, and the bags will last for quite a while.

Cardboard Rolls - Bathroom Tissue, Paper Towels, ect... Get a lot of rolls. Cut into different lengths, leaving some long. Cover with bright contact paper, covering over the edges a little. Using a sharp kitchen knife, make 4 slits about 1/2 " long on each end, cutting across with the knife so that they are even. Older kids can use these like blocks, interlocking the slits for stacking. Without the slits, they make great "beads" for even the little ones to string onto a long shoelace. (Just watch so they don't chew on them.)

Using scissors
Submitted by P. Hall
In our preschool we have the 3's and 4's use scissors while playing with play dough. They love making ropes and cutting them into pieces. I have them help me make a pizza out of play dough and them I show them how to cut it so they can all have a piece.

Submitted by Momybusy
The three year olds teacher in our school has a plastic kiddy pool with construction paper scraps. The kids sit in it and chop up the paper with scissors into smaller and smaller pieces. She also has well oiled hole punchers which the kids squeeze, squeeze, squeeze to make confetti in the pool.
You can also try sewing cards, stringing beads or just letting them sew designs on plastic craft canvas using that plastic lacing.
have them sort things with tweezers or clothespins. Sort little colored pom poms into an ice cube tray. Put out little pictures of chickens (or turkeys) and have them pick up corn kernels and feed 5 to each turkey.
Put out a collection of clothespins (wooden, colored plastic, miniature, etc.) and have them clip them to those wire organizer shelves-- all the wooden ones to one wire, all the blue to another wire, etc.
Cut holes in a coffee can lid and put it back on the can. Then have them put poker chips, marbles, etc. through the hole into the can.
Play dough is great, and clay is good when their fingers have gotten stronger. You can also have them screw nuts and bolts together. My boys loved that. A word of caution: try the larger objects first until you know if your kids are likely to put things in their mouths. Some years I can do these things, but other years I have had to wait till mid-year to use smaller objects because I had a few mouthers in my class.

Submitted by Brenda
I would like to share something that I do with my kinders in regard to cutting. I tell them that their scissors are cars and the black line on their paper is the road. They have to drive their cars on the road just like mom and dad do. I joke with them about staying off the grass and keeping on the road. I usually have a few children that like to keep asking, stay on the road, right?

Submitted by Susi
These may not be new ideas, but why try and reinvent the wheel? LOL....
1. Play dough is great is strengthening little finger muscles. Try letting the kids cut the play dough with scissors.
2. Clothespins, have them clip them on anything they can, and then unclip them.
3. Stringing beads, spools, straws, etc.
4. Picking up small pieces of paper or other little safe items using their fingers.
Hope these help!

Fine motor activities
Submitted by Marilyn
This is a good way to help the children to use not only their fingers, but grasping with their palms.  Take plastic jars in all different sizes.( I like the new Campbell soup plastic jars)  Place a variety of different sizes of jars and lids on the table or on a tray.  Then have the children try to match lid to jar and use their fine motor skills to screw the lids onto the jars.  Also, purchase large nuts and bolts from your hardware store and allow the children to put them together.  (Make sure that the child is old enough not to put them into their mouth)
Take a large piece of styrofoam packing.  (or give each child a separate piece)  Then supply plastic hammers and colorful golf tees.  The children LOVE to hammer the tees into the styrofoam and then have to use their pincher grip to pull them out.

 Fine Motor and Sensory Bag
Submitted by Peg
Here's an idea the lady at our local Teacher Supply Store told me she discovered by accident. Sounded great so thought I'd share it with you all. Get a ziploc and fill it with colored hair gel. Use the colored foam you can get a craft stores and cut out shapes of fish, stars, anything. Put shapes in baggie. Tape bag closed. Children can squeeze it and the smell of the hair gel comes through. Good for all ages.

Submitted by Gail
I do this throughout the year and the kids love it. I shampoo when it's on sale. (I often get White Rain, Suave, etc. FREE with coupons and a sale! : )    I just picked up some green apple, coconut and strawberry scented shampoos the other day. It's a great fine motor and sensory activity. I vary the color and scents and add items according to the theme or season. For example for Halloween, I add plastic spiders.  I've added glitter, etc. The children LOVE it!  Sometimes I only add the shampoo  and have the children "write" the first initial of their name with their fingers.
It is VERY important to tape the bag. I have had "leaks". I also have found that you can't smell through the "freezer" bags, but you can through the "storage" bags.  They must be more porous.

Small Motor
Submitted by Margie
Objective:  to enhance children's specific development in each of the following domains:
Physical:  Hands and fingers
Social: Solitary or Parallel Play
Cognitive:  One-One Correspondence
Language:  Reading Enjoyment & Writing Awareness
Affective:  Perseverance and Active Involvement
Creative:  Risk Taking
Materials:  Lids or tops w/print from various Butter, Cottage Cheese, egg cartons, Greeting cards, cereal/pasta/cookie boxes etc.   Hole Puncher   Different colors of yarn    Masking tape.

Prep:  Hole punch around the edges of each top/lid. Depending on the age and ability, punch the holes close together or further apart!!   Wrap masking tape around end of a piece of yarn to be used for lacing the lids/tops.
Invite children to try something new, by lacing the new cards you have made, talk about the print, colors etc. !!!!
The children enjoy choosing the lids they want to use...and if something happens to them.....No problem...!  :)

 Laminating Film Leftovers
Submitted by Elaine
Found the perfect usage for all that leftover laminating film! We finger-painted on it today and they look nice!!!!!
Wow! So simple; so plentiful! Wish I discovered it sooner!

Cardboard "Castle"
Submitted by Kathy
A great creation for young preschoolers.  Use paper towel tubes etc. and build a structure on a flat piece of cardboard. As seasons change the children can paint with various colors such as orange for Fall, red for Christmas, green for St Patricks Day, etc.  The children call it their castle and will ask to paint it.  You can add turkeys, and other seasonal decorations and create an attractive center piece.  This structure sits on a table all year and is always accessible.  Several children can paint at the same time.  An activity which stimulates cooperative  and social interacting as well as well as facilitating motor development and creativity

Submitted by Jenny
My Kindergartners and I have found a great way to practice letters or numbers AND clean the tables at the same time . . . shaving cream.  It will not stain clothes, it smells good and it is an excellent motivation for recognition skills!!!

HINT:  Only squirt a small amount per child - a little goes a long way!!!

Here is the chimney      (make fist, enclose thumb)
Here is the top           (place palm on top of fist)
Open the lid              (remove top hand)
and out Santa will pop.   (pop up thumb)

Isn't it the strangest thing,
That Santa is so shy?          (hide face with hands)
We can never, never catch him, (make fingers run)
No matter how we try.
It isn't any use to watch,     (hold hand to eyes and look)
Because my parents said,
"Santa Claus will only come
When children are in bed!"     (shake finger)

Finger Rhyme
Submitted by Sandra
One , two, three, here's little me,
Counting on my fingers, Hee, hee, hee.
Four, five , six, this one sticks...
Getting in a muddle now, getting in a fix.
Seven, eight, nine, there, that's fine.
No need to worry now, no need to whine.
Here comes ten, trying not to giggle.
Put them all together now and give them a wiggle.
This one here is number ten.
Put them all down and start again.

Title: Finger Song
Submitted by Emily
Tune: ABC Song
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 fingertips
I can touch them to my lips
I can cover up my eyes
I can clap them on my thighs
Now lets' do the other hand
Are you sure you understand?

Title: Pointy Fingers
Submitted by Peg
a fingerplay
Two pointy fingers I can show(Hold up both index fingers.)
Way up high or way down low. (Hold index fingers high & low.)
With my right, I point to my toe. (Right index toward toe.)
With my left, I show where to go.(Point to left.)
Two pointy fingers I can show (Hold up both index fingers.)
To show you things that I know!(Point straight ahead, then to head.)

a fingerplay
Two things make a pair.(Hold up two fingers.)
And on me, I'll show you where.(Point to self.)
I have two ears, and I have two eyes. (Point to ear and eyes.)
Both are important to make me wise!
I have two holes in my nose.(Point to nose.)
That lets me smell a beautiful rose.(Pretend to smell a rose.)
I have two hands that clap a beat.(Clap hands to underlined words.)
I have two feet that are really neat!(Jump when saying the word neat!)


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