Small Motor Flower Activity
For todays Take-A-Minute-Tuesday I wanted to do some sort of small motor activity for my kids that has a hint of spring. Flowers are just beginning to grow here in Idaho. There are buds on our trees and the bunnies in the back yard are getting frisky with one another. 😆 Spring has sprung! 🌷 I love a good small motor activity for any young child so I thought I would put together a quick little finger workout for my munchkins.
- Buttons (I had flower buttons from Walmart that looked like THIS)
- Prepare play-dough if your making it RECIPE HERE
- Cut pipe-cleaners in thirds or quarters so the button part isn’t too heavy for the “steam”
- If you want you can thread a couple of buttons through the pipe-cleaners
- Place play-dough, pipe-cleaners and buttons out on a tray or clean surface of your table
I first told my little people that we needed to prepare the dirt for our garden. We got our play dough out and started smashing and flattening. (We discovered later that if we smashed our dirt too flat as a result the flowers fell over). The exercise of moulding play dough is a great small motor strengthening task in itself.
After our dirt was ready I handed showed them how we could push the pip-cleaners through the small holes in the buttons. It was really interesting to see how different children reacted. Some were very frustrated about the how it wasn’t a quick result. For ages 2-3 they really have to work to keep their hands steady. They must focus to get the pipe-cleaner in the tiny hole. I would take a few minutes with the frustrated children and show them how to hold the button. Then we would practice together carefully sliding the button onto the pipe-cleaner. After a successful practice they were sold.
What to do when a small motor activity becomes frustrating
With activities like this you need to watch your child and head off frustration. You want them to feel capable. If you notice your child sighing, growling or screaming in rage offer some help. 😁 I like to say, “Do you want to know a trick?” Tricks are always fun. Its okay to let your child try by themselves but as soon as they are frustrated step in and teach them.
With the older children I taught them how to slide the pipe cleaner through one hole, bend it and slide it through the other. With the 2-4 year olds we just stuck with one hole and it was perfect. My 1 year old had a ball shoving the flower I made into the play dough but as soon as she saw the other children putting the buttons on the pipe-cleaners she got busy! It is amazing what those tiny people can learn just through watching.
Plant your flowers
After we threaded a few flowers we planted them in our play-dough. This was so rewarding. The children loved watching their garden grow. I asked them questions about what colors their flowers were and how many they had planted. The children had such a great time this activity easily took up 20-30 minutes.
At the end of the activity we picked all the flowers and made a beautiful bouquet. Then we deadheaded the flowers (I’m so not a gardener but I can pretend) and put the play-dough away. Even the clean up was fun and another simple way to strengthen those small motor muscles!
It is a good idea to step in and help a child before they get too frustrated. Sometimes it is too hard for a little one to recover and the activity can be over before it really gets started.
Go with the flow. One of the 3 year olds who did this activity with us wanted to string the beads and then push them all the way to the bottom. I reminded myself, “WHAT DOES IT MATTER?” The whole point was to work on small motor skills…✅. Achieved. So let it go mama!
This activity is really easy to pack up and take somewhere. Once a week I help a friend with their daycare so I brought my little garden activity with me. The children (ages 1-5) were all engaged and happy for 30 minutes. 👍
I hope you enjoy this quick and easy Take-A-Minute-Tuesday fun. I know my children did! If you take any pictures of your sweeties growing button flowers snap a picture and tag me on instagram!