At night, I get to be mom of three and part-time mediocre blogger of Such Pretty Faces. During the day, I wear the hat of a speech language pathologist at a title one school in Arlington, TX. One of the biggest misconceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic was that last year, the online year, was the ‘hard’ year. That was a bold face lie we educators and parents told ourselves in August. That logic made sense. No more teaching both online and in person. No more fatigue from figuring out CANVAS, chasing down students, or calling parents for missing assignments. Our students would be within physical arms reach and everything that was hard would be fixed this year. What our rose colored glasses didn’t keep in mind is that some of our students haven’t been in a classroom in nearly two years.
Socialization skills are affected. Children who need inclass supports aren’t receiving support because we had no classroom data last year since they opted for virtual learning. We are SHORT STAFFED. We are loosing teachers at an alarming rate. 4th graders are unable to tie their shoes or read. Kinder and 1st grade classrooms look like zoos. Some of our student’s haven’t been in a structured setting in their entire life. It’s hard.
One of the biggest regressions and lack of ability that educators and school therapists are witnessing are fine motor skills. Children have been using their thumbs on an iPad for the last two years, remember? Cutting, writing, zipping coats, tying shoes, and playing with legos are HARD for our COVID-19 generation. Below is a step by step picture grid of how I put together a fine motor box for my son and his friends who are in kinder.
The following activities were used in this box.
- Clothes Pin Activity– Putting mini clothes pins on the long strip of paper. This activity facilitates stabilization, resistance, and strengthening for early pencil grasp.
- Hole Punching Activity– In the second bin you will see scrap paper. This activity builds strength and hand-eye coordination.
- Stringing Beads Activity. In the Third bin will will see two sets of strings, one regular string and a pipe cleaner. The pipe cleaner is easier for our kiddoes who struggle with this activity. This skill promotes holding a pencil with the correct grasp.
- Pincher and Gator Grabber Activity– In the fourth bin you will find pompoms. Using tweezers or the gator grabber to pick up the pompoms develops skilled control for fine motor skills.
- Therapy Putty– The last bin is filled with Therapy Putty. This bin could also be used for playdough. I chose Therapy Putty because it requires more strength to play with.
- Hand Writing– I finished the box by laminating a writing practice sheet and hot gluing it on top of the box. You can click here, for the website I used to make this worksheet.
When making these boxes, I had an army theme and mermaid theme. All of these supplies were purchased on Amazon, at Dollar Tree, or Hobby Lobby. I have an amazon list below for a multicolored fine motor box.