Summer fine motor activities give your toddler or preschooler the chance to build new skills, while exploring the season. I’m always one for getting artsy. So summer-time art activities, in my opinion, are a n awesome way for tots to build those all-important finger and hand skills.
A few years ago, I taught a pre-k museum art class. One of the main concerns that parents had for their children had to do with fine motor skills. I can’t even remember how many parents asked if their child’s writing, ability to hold a writing utensil, letter-creating skills, drawing skills and…well, you get the picture, were okay.
I get it. You see one kid writing his A, B, C’s kind of perfectly at age 3, and suddenly your child’s squiggly lines look rather childish. They’re not. And, unless a professional has made a diagnosis, your child isn’t desperately behind.
So if you’re like the many, many, many other parents out there who wonder, “Are my child’s fine motor skills on the right level?”. There’s really no harm in practicing them. The more your child uses these growing abilities, the more she’ll develop them.
That’s where this summer-time art activity comes in. Your child will get the chance to trace shapes, putting them together and turning them into summer symbols.
Learning and Development
- Fine motor- Dexterity, eye-hand coordination, grip
- Shape recognition and identification
- Part to whole relationship- Putting together shapes and making pictures
- Color recognition and identification
Arts and Crafts Materials
- Card stock paper
- A marker
- Modeling clay
- Tempera paints
How-To Activity Steps
- Brainstorm a list of summer objects or items. This could include the sun, a flower, a beach ball, ice cream cones or anything else your child can think of.
- Talk about what shapes make up the objects on your list. For example, a flower could be a circle with oval petals surrounding it.
- Create shape tracing templates. Draw the shapes onto card stock [paper and have your child cut them out.
- Puzzle the shapes into the object. Your child needs to figure out how to use the shapes to make up each item.
- Trace the object. Your child can move the shapes slightly to trace around each one.
- Finger paint part of the object with clay. What does this mean? Have your child pull the clay apart into dime-sized balls. She can spread the clay onto the card stock paper, using a finger painting motion. It will stick.
- Pour the tempera paints onto a palette or a piece of wax paper. Your child can finger paint print the rest of the object. Ask her to use different parts of her fingers and vary the amount of pressure she uses.
Fine Motor Activity Extensions
After the artsy part is done, what do you have? Aside from the art itself, you still have the shape stencils. Use them for a simple sorting activity. Your child can sort the templates into groups based on the color or the shape.
She can also practice picking them up with tools. Try tongs, clothespins or even chopsticks.
Are you looking for more summer activity? Check out these toddler and preschooler-friendly ideas!
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Erica is a mom, educator and parenting writer, with an MS in child development. When she’s not teaching, she’s busy creating kids’ activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies.