Here’s a quick and easy activity for toddlers and preschoolers that addresses fine motor and sensory processing skills!
All you need is finger paint and pom poms, both of which can be purchased at the dollar store.
Kids can pinch the pom poms with their pointer finger and thumb as they dip them into the paint and then stamp the paper with them. Pinching objects like pom poms trains young kids’ finger muscles in preparation for higher level fine motor tasks such as coloring with a crayon, cutting with scissors, and writing with a pencil.
You can place the paint on the side opposite of your kiddo’s painting hand in order to encourage her to cross the midline as she reaches to dip and then paint. It’s important for kids to be able to cross the invisible line down the middle of their body as they use their hands because it strengthens the connection between the left and right sides of the brain and contributes to the development of hand dominance as they approach the preschool and Kindergarten years. (Click here for more OT activities that help practice crossing the midline.)
This fine motor activity is an easy, gentle way to introduce little ones to finger painting, especially if they are nervous or extremely sensitive (aka- tactile defensive) about getting messy. It provides a natural barrier between them and the paint while allowing them to still interact with it and participate in the process. Any paint they get on them can be easily and quickly wiped off. Plus, if they are really nervous about getting paint on their fingers, they will probably pinch the very tip of the pom pom as opposed to the entire thing. This will create additional fine motor challenge for their little fingers as they timidly (yet successfully) participate in this new project. It’s a win-win!
I hope you have a good time trying out this simple yet fun fine motor activity. I know we did!