Category Archives: Fine motor


The girls and I were at the store browsing the craft aisle when I found some cool animal stencils. I immediately thought that these stencils would be perfect for Sponge Painting. I got really excited when I remembered that Kora had a plain white t-shirt in her closet that we could could paint. I showed Kora the animal stencils and asked if she wanted to paint a monkey shirt when we got home. Nope. She wanted a giraffe shirt. We bought the stencils and some yellow and orange fabric paint and went home to paint a giraffe shirt. 
At home as I was getting our supplies ready I asked Kora if she was ready to paint her giraffe shirt. Nope. She wanted a monkey shirt. ¡Ay caramba!
I made sure to tape the stencil in place so it wouldn’t shift as Kora painted. (I ended up convincing her to paint the giraffe!)

With the stencil in place, all Kora needed now was the paint and a small square piece of sponge. I showed her how to dip her sponge in the paint and then dab it onto the giraffe. 


She liked to dip the sponge in the yellow paint and then into the orange before pressing it onto the shirt. The mixing of the colors made the giraffe look really cool. 


I love how Kora’s shirt turned out so much I may have to go buy her (and Lila) some more white shirts to paint! We will also use the stencils to paint on paper. Kora would love if we got some butcher paper and painted a big zoo scene. I see a lot of Sponge Painting in our future!

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What do you do when your child loves to paint and loves to play with rocks? Why you paint rocks of course! I’m not talking about painting pet rocks or anything fancy like that. I’m just talking about using a rock as our canvas and just covering it with paint!

We grabbed our paints and a couple of rocks from outside and then we were ready to get started.  I poured several little dollops of paint out and then handed Kora a paint brush. 


She started off painting one of the rocks pink. Then she switched to painting the other rock green. She continued to change colors and alternate rocks, but she kept painting the same spot on each rock. 

After a few minutes of painting both rocks, she decided that I needed to paint one of the rocks. When she saw me painting other parts of the rocks, she branched out too. 


Once she was satisfied with the paint coverage on her rock she started painting the paper. She didn’t want to stop painting until she had used all the paint up. 


Rock Painting was a very enjoyable activity and the rocks actually look pretty cool once they dried. I’m starting to wonder what else we can paint. 


Yesterday we made dinosaur eggs, and today they are dry and ready to hatch! I think I may actually be more excited about hatching the eggs than Kora is!

We took our dinosaur eggs outside, and built a nest to put them in.  Kora loves playing with rocks so this was probably her favorite part!

To hatch the eggs we used an eye dropper and some vinegar.  Each squirt of vinegar would cause the baking soda egg to bubble up and slowly start to break down.

A little patience is required for this step as it takes a while to break down the egg enough to actually get the dinosaur out. Kora did a pretty good job of using the eye dropper today.  The steps were pretty repetitive – fill it up and squirt it out.


When she finally hatched a dinosaur – a T-rex – she was super excited.  She had to show me what a dinosaur says, “Roar!” It was the sweetest sounding “Roar!” I’ve ever heard.

Kora hatched one more egg – a pteranodon – before running off to play with rocks.  She really enjoyed hatching the eggs, but the eye dropper made the process a little tedious.  Since we still have six more eggs, I’ll have to think of a different approach to hatching the eggs.  I have a squirt bottle that I could fill with vinegar.  Kora would be able to squirt the vinegar on the eggs with a little more pressure which should make the dinosaur hatch a little faster.


Making Dino Eggs and Hatching Dino Eggs has been a fun experiment.  Since I’ve never created these baking soda eggs before I was a little nervous about how they would turn out, but I can honestly say that I was quite pleased with our result. And I’m kinda glad that Kora only hatched 2 of our 8 eggs.  I can use the others to keep her busy on another day!

 

 

 

 


There are so many fun experiments that can be done with baking soda, vinegar, or a combination of the two, but probably the most popular experiment is the model volcano. When I taught third grade I had my students do this experiment and they loved it! Some of my students were still talking about those volcanoes when they were in the 5th grade!

Making a volcano erupt is so simple it’s ridiculous! It’s also very cheap.  The two main ingredients are household products that can be found in most homes.  You can use play-doh (or make a salt dough) to form the actual volcano.  Like I said, easy!

I wasn’t sure if Kora even knew what a volcano was so I decided to use a small, plastic volcano toy to better illustrate the landform.

We filled a coke bottle cap with baking soda and then Kora placed the volcano over the cap.

The lava needs to be red so we added a little food coloring to the vinegar. Kora then used an eye dropper to squeeze the vinegar onto the baking soda.



Using the eye dropper was a bit of a challenge for Kora. Actually, it was quite a big challenge. She wanted to do it all by herself (shocking!), but for some reason the vinegar wasn’t being sucked into the eye dropper as Kora waved it around in the red liquid (another shocker!).  She followed my instructions as I walked her through the steps. I made the mistake of using the wrong wording in one of my steps – I wanted her to unsqueeze the bulb of the eye dropper, but I told her to “let go” instead.  She did what she was told – she let go of the entire eye dropper! Oops!

 

Kora enjoyed watching the volcano erupt, but she really had more fun just squeezing the red vinegar out of the eye dropper.  After several eruptions, there was no longer enough baking soda to create a big enough reaction for lava to flow out of the volcano. At this point I just removed the volcano and let Kora squeeze vinegar onto the remaining baking soda.  She liked watching and listening to the bubbles that formed.


Volcano Eruptions is a great experiment for kids of all ages. It’s a super simple activity with only a couple of household ingredients.  While it is not something that you would do on a regular basis, it is a fun occasional activity.  If you haven’t done so recently, bust out the baking soda and vinegar and build yourself a volcano!



If you use Pampers products I recommend using their online Rewards Program. You enter the codes found on the products and earn points. Then you can use your points and pick your reward. I have been entering my codes and finally decided to cash them in. I browsed through the rewards and chose an alphabet peg puzzle by Melissa and Doug (I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love their products!)
This is one of those things that Kora and I both love but for different reasons. Sometimes I think she likes Kora likes it just because there are a lot of pieces she can spread all over the place! I love it because it is really helping her learn her letters. 
Once she has dumped all the letters out onto the table, Kora starts trying to put all the letters back in their place.


As she identifies and places the peg letters, I’m making mental notes. Some letters she knows better than others, like the letter S. I think that’s one of her favorite letters. 


Some letters she correctly identifies if I orient it for her. She picked up a sideways letter I and called it an H until I turned the correct way. 


There are letters, like the letter Y, that Kora knows where it belongs on the board, but can’t verbally name. 
Today she actually surprised me when placing the letter X. She first tried to place it in the letter B’s spot but she was just being silly! When she placed it in the correct spot she said “x-ray,”. I knew she knew the letter, but it just kinda shocked me that she remembered “x-ray,” as its not the most common picture in the puzzle. It just amazes me how her brain is a little sponge absorbing everything around her! 


Kora struggled with the letters L and J today. She kept trying to put the J where the letter L belongs. We’ll have to keep practicing these letters. 


Our Alphabet Puzzle is a fun way to practice the letters and sounds of the alphabet as well as identifying words that start with each letter. It’s also a great fine motor exercise – using fingers to pick up the peg pieces and manipulate them into the correct position. Now I just need to find one with lowercase letters. 



This morning I was using masking tape to fix a game box that was falling apart. When Kora noticed what I was doing she immediately ran over to me saying, “Me help!”
I managed to buy myself a little more time by giving her a couple pieces of masking tape. The tape occupied her long enough for me to finished up what I was working on. 
Her interest in playing with the tape got me thinking. Why not make a game out of playing with masking tape? I stared tearing small pieces of tape and adhering them to the table. Kora helped me press the tape down. She also tried to help me tear the tape from the roll but she just got the tape stuck to itself. 


Getting the end of the tape peeled off the table was tricky for Kora’s little fingers. I was a little surprised that she didn’t get frustrated when she couldn’t get the tape up. When she had trouble peeling it she just tried another piece of tape. Once she got the end started she was able to easily pull the whole strip off. 


When she got a piece pulled off the table she seemed to struggle getting the tape off her fingers. What I didn’t realize until 3-4 pieces in was that she was stacking the tape! She wasn’t struggling to get the tape off her fingers; she was straightening it out so she could add it to her stack. I was quite impressed!


Kora was getting into a groove pulling tape when baby sister got fussy. When I turned my attention to Lila, Kora did too and just like that, Masking Tape Pull was over. Well, except for the fact that Kora stole Lila’s Wubbynub and put it “in the nest.”  


I was a little disappointed that Kora didn’t play with the tape longer, but hey, distractions happen. Masking Tape Pull is a quick and simple activity that is great for working on finger strength. It is also a great way to teach perseverance. We may have to try this again – and I’ll make sure baby sister is in a good mood!


This morning I opened up my Craft Closet (It’s really just a cabinet – I only wish I had a closet dedicated to crafting supplies) to find inspiration for today’s activity. As I’m brainstorming, Kora comes up and starts reaching for Fuzzy Sticks. I figured if thats what she wanted to do, I’d just roll with it. 

Kora excitedly took the package to the table to get started. She spread them all out and tried to figure out what to do with them. 

I demonstrated for Kora how to bend the pipe cleaners into shapes. I made her a hat and tried to put it on her head. “No, no, Mom. My self” she told me. This is the hat she made all by herself. She was a little discouraged that she couldn’t get her hat to stay on her head. 

Although she doesn’t quite have the dexterity needed to bend the Fuzzy Sticks into shapes, Kora did put a lot of effort into trying to create things. I’m not exactly sure what this is, but she made it for me and she was very proud of it!

Then she made a mustache! “Like Dad!”

I twisted a Fuzzy Stick into a fish for her. She promptly made a fishing pole for her fish. She’s crazy!

Kora started looking at the Fuzzy Sticks package and wanted me to create the objects pictured. I was able to make her the caterpillar – she thought it was funny that I twirled the pipe cleaner around her finger. 

Playing with Fuzzy Sticks was an activity that was probably more beneficial to me than Kora. For starters, it reminded me that Kora is little and sometimes just exploring the ingredients can be more fun than following the recipe. I learned that sometimes things can be too difficult for our skill level, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Playing Fuzzy Sticks also made me tap into my inner child and use my imagination. I’m so happy that Kora chose to play this today.