Here is an extremely simple toddler fine motor activity that takes literally seconds to set up. All it requires is two bowls and some marbles!
Simply place all the marbles in one bowl. This will give you one full bowl and one empty bowl. You might be surprised to see that your child will know exactly what to do and instinctively begin transferring the marbles from one bowl to the other.
This simple toddler fine motor activity is great for a few reasons:
- It encourages crossing midline, which means your child is using one hand to pick up the marble and then crosses the invisible line in the middle of her body in order to place the marble in the opposite bowl. The ability to cross midline is an important developmental skill that contributes to the development of hand dominance and higher level motor skills.
- It gives your child the chance to practice using his pincer grasp (pinching with thumb and index finger) as he picks up and transfers the marbles. This is another important developmental skill that prepares children for later fine motor activities such as cutting with scissors and grasping a pencil.
- It provides the opportunity to practice using a tool to transfer the marbles, such as a spoon. This works especially great if you have a toddler spoon with a deep bowl where the marble can easily rest. Mini salad tongs are also a good tool for this activity.
- It provides the opportunity to practice hand-eye coordination and visual tracking, especially if using a spoon.
- It teaches your child about how much speed and force to use if she is transferring marbles with a spoon. Too fast? Too forceful? The marbles will go flying.
- It provides natural auditory feedback with each “clink” of the marble as they drop in the bowl.
You can find a whole bag of marbles for a buck at the dollar store. Don’t have marbles? Use pebbles instead. Watch out for choking hazards and provide appropriate supervision, especially if you have a baby around who will hunt down runaway marbles.
Vary this activity by placing a muffin pan next to the bowl of marbles, and see how that changes the way your child uses his or her fine motor grasping skills: