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PENCIL CONTROL SKILLS
Colouring in, focusing on marking a specific area of the picture
Colouring in, focusing on staying between the lines
Draw around own or others hand, trying to stay close to fingers
Draw around stencils, trying to follow contours of shape
Draw vertical lines with control, stopping before the edge of the paper
Draw vertical lines of varying lengths, with control
Draw horizontal lines with control, stopping before the edge of the paper
Draw horizontal lines of varying lengths, with control
Draw diagonal lines with control, stopping before the edge of the paper
Draw diagonal lines of varying lengths, with control
Draw enclosed shapes, joining the starting and finishing point
Draw circles of various sizes, with control
Follow straight tramlines, staying within boundaries
Follow wavy or zigzag tramlines, staying within boundaries
Trace then copy wavy lines with control
Trace then copy zigzag lines with control
Copy a modelled drawing of a face, making a mark for each of the basic features
Draw a face, focusing on including all the basic features (eyes, nose, mouth, hair)
Draw a face, focusing on the correct positioning of features
Draw a face, including more detail, such as eyebrows, eyelashes, lips, teeth, ears, glasses, etc.
Copy a modelled drawing of a house / cat / person / etc.
Draw a house / cat / person / etc. including the basic features
Draw a house / cat / person / etc. including more detail
HANDWRITING: LETTER FORMATION
Trace then copy (select) letters in name
Trace words, focusing on correct starting point for letters
Trace words, focusing on left to right directionality
Copy write words with stencils
Trace then copy “curly caterpillar” family of letters (c a d o s g q e f), focusing on starting position and formation pattern
Trace then copy “long ladder” family of letters (l i t u j y), focusing on starting position and formation pattern
Trace then copy “one-arm robot” family of letters (r b n h m k p), focusing on starting position and formation pattern
Trace then copy “zigzag monster” family of letters (z v w x), focusing on starting position and formation pattern
Have-a-go independent writing
HANDWRITING: SENTENCE FORMATION
Trace sentences, then copy write, focusing on leaving spaces between words
Trace sentences, then copy write, focusing on staying on the line
Have-a-go writing sentences, trying to remember to leave spaces and stay on the line
FINGER ISOLATION SKILLS
Bubbles – Pop bubbles with the index finger (or other named fingers) as they are blown, or while they are in the air.
Finger painting – Focus on two fingers, one on each hand, and assign each a different colour. Can your child put the right finger in the right colour?
Piano play – Or other keyboard instruments, or thumb piano. Encourage free play, but also demonstrate, such as using one finger to go up the keyboard, and then back down again.
Checkout Till – Put the activity in context by playing shops. The items to buy should be small things that require a pincer grip, such as Smarties, raisins or Hula Hoops, so that the shopper has to use fine-motor skills too. The shopkeeper must ring up the purchase on their till before taking the money. Swap roles.
Telephone – Children can take in turns to ring each other, dialling the number on a push button telephone. Encourage them to use one finger to press the buttons in a controlled way. Alternatively they could phone up puppets.
Computer Keyboard – Encourage free play on the computer keyboard. Draw attention to the correlation between the buttons pushed, and what appears on the screen. Also try more structured tasks, such as using a keyboard mask with just two or three keys showing. Can your child push the keys that are indicated (either by pointing or a visual cue)?
CD / Cassette Player – Can your child press the play button to hear a favourite tune? Or the stop button to stop a horrible racket? Can they turn the volume control to make the sound louder or quieter? The appropriate button could be marked with a coloured sticker to make it clearer.
Spherical grasps – These can be encouraged with tennis, or other similar sized balls – pick up, hold and throw. Alternatively use apples or oranges in the home corner – can they pass them to dolly?
Pincer grasps – These can be encouraged by picking up raisins etc., popping bubble wrap, turning pages of a book, pointing at picture or words in a book, holding marbles or money.
Cylindrical grasps – These can be encouraged by holding cups without handles, kaleidoscopes, rainmakers or other cylindrical shakers.
Tripod grasp – These can be encouraged by holding small pieces of chalk or Hand-Hugger (triangular) pencils or pens.
Three jaw chuck grasp – These can be encouraged with holding blocks or cubes.
Connect Four – take it in turns to pick up and release pieces into the frame. Could focus on making patterns rather than playing the game.
Lids – putting lids on pens, bottles, etc.
Towers - building towers with wooden bricks and releasing them
Water transfer – Challenge your child to transfer water from one receptacle to another using a sponge. Demonstrate how to soak up the water from the first receptacle, and then squeeze it into the second receptacle. Ask them to practice making a closed fist without the sponge first, then with it.
Playdough – Encourage your child to manipulate playdough, clay (harder) or plasticine (harder still). Get them to squeeze it, so it oozes between their fingers, squash balls flat, roll sausages on the table or between their hands (if you start it off, it will be easier) or roll small and big balls of it. Try to put the activities in some sort of context, such as “Poor dolly is hungry. Shall we make her some sausages and potatoes for lunch?”
Banging – Use a wooden hammer to bang in pegs, or a beater to hit a drum or triangle. Encourage eye-to-hand coordination and accuracy as well as strength of hit.
Cutting – Use loop or normal scissors to encourage cutting. Cut along lines or find things in catalogues to cut and stick. Alternatively just do free cutting.
Tongs – Use tongs to pick up objects and move them from one container to another. Make it into a game by making it a race between parent and child (give lots of commentary), or between the two children.
Whistling tubes – Encourage your child to hold the tube firmly and spin it around fast. Set challenges such as “Who can make the loudest sound?” or “Who can make the longest sound?”
FINGER / IN-HAND MANIPULATIONS
Scrunchy paper – Crumple or screw up little bits of paper using the fingertips. Use a range of papers – e.g. tissue, crepe, foil, coloured, thin card. Set in a context, such as a collage activity or making a dinner for a puppet.
Finger Rhymes – Encourage signing along to favourite songs and counting rhymes, such as “Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star” or “Here’s the Church” etc.
Construction Toys – Use a range of construction equipment that requires different manipulations, such as Duplo, Interstar, Stickle Bricks, Popoids or Snappit. Set challenges, such as “Who can make the tallest tower?” or “Who can make a dog?”
Opening things – Encourage your child to open a range of packets, jars and bottles, preferably in a real context, such as taking the lids off the squash bottles or opening the milk to help to prepare drinks, or opening packets of crisps or biscuits for snack time (and practice using the “pull apart pinch”). Also set challenges such as “Which lid goes on which bottle?” with a selection of three of various sizes. Can your child match the lids to the correct bottles and screw or push them on?
Mr Potato Head – Ask your child to make faces with potatoes (if these are too difficult then use softer fruit or vegetables, such as courgette or pear). Encourage them to think about the positioning of the features, and concentrate on hand-eye coordination.
Wind up toys – Ensure there is a variety of different wind up mechanisms – big and small, cylindrical and wing nut. Make sure the toys are motivating!
Fastenings – Encourage your child to attempt fastenings on their clothing, in context (such as zippers on coats, Velcro on shoes, etc.)