There are surprisingly few objects that begin with the letter E – especially ones that we could base a fine motor activity around. I wanted to avoid anything to do with ears or eyes so to continue our A-Z of Fine Motor Play series we opted for eels! Our Eel Fine Motor Play activity was easy to set up and focused on using tweezer tools. Tweezers help develop the arches of the hand, create resistance and strengthening and are a prerequisite skill required for scissor use.
Not having any eels to hand, I decided to use jelly snakes. The jelly snakes were longer than jelly worms and had a big head, just like an eel. I placed these in our white sensory bin and poured water on top. To make the water look like the sea I added a small amount of blue Wilton food colouring.
I wanted my son to catch the eels and place them into another container. I used a plastic cocktail bowl and filled this with blue coloured water. Finally, I left out a selection of tweezer style fine motor tools. These included a CleverstiX Chopstick, a Gator Grabber from our Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool set, Piggy Wiggy Serving Tongs and a purple Jumbo Tweezer.
My son chose the purple Jumbo Tweezer to pick up his first eel. He is usually quite confident with this tool. However, as the jelly sweet was in the water, it was slippery. This added a wonderful element to the activity as it appeared as if the eel was trying to swim away. My son soon discovered that if he attempted to pick the eel up by its head then the activity was easier.
The Gator Grabber proved to be the easiest tool to use to retrieve the eels. However, this meant my son had to put his fingers into the water which at first he wasn’t keen on.
The eels were too slippery to be picked up easily with the CleverstiX and Piggy Wiggy serving tongs. We certainly experienced a different meaning to the phrase “as slippery as an eel,” whilst my son chased the eels around the sensory bin.
Once all the eels had been collected and placed into the bowl, my son decided to do the activity again. The jelly sweets were placed back into the sensory bin. However, he got distracted and didn’t go back to the activity for over an hour. By this time the jelly had started to disintegrate in the water. They were even harder to pick up with the fine motor tools.