My eyes have been opened to a world of new educational experiences for children! I knew the basics such as letters, animals, speaking etc, but left the world of fine and gross motor skills and some practical skills all to its own. But for just about $10 I have been able to develop those skills in my 3 and 1.5 year old. Had I been at home, I probably would have had all the materials already, but since we travel for a living, I still found everything at the Dollar tree and have delighted my children much more than I could have expected!
Once a week I will share a new idea I have tried with my children, the purpose and the honest evaluation of effectiveness and enjoyment level. I have a decent list going of ideas I have tried, and ideas I will try, but any new ideas will be GREATLY appreciated as well. I have learned that my children are already going to consume a certain amount of my energy in the normal events of getting toys out, paying them attention, and cleaning up after them. Most of these news experiences have not consumed much, if any, extra time from my schedule.
Activity 1: Worm Chopping
Description: This is not as gross as it sounds! The object of this experience is to learn to make worms with play dough, and use scissors to cut them. Sound simple enough? Here’s the point:
Purpose: Teach fine motor skills of working play dough into a worm (snake) and learning the technique of cutting with scissors. I had a teacher explain to me that most children rip with scissors initially instead of cutting properly, so this practice is great before paper cutting is introduced.
Recommended age: I was told 24 months, my daughter was 35 months before I even thought about her using scissors, but I will introduce this to my son around his second birthday. We did, however, introduce the technique of making worms to my 19 month old :)
Effectiveness: Perfect! In just two ten minute sessions of cutting play dough, she learned to properly use scissors! She was older than the recommended age, but I was still surprised at the effectiveness! I cannot wait to teach my son, but will wait until he is a little more safety conscious. (Wait, do boys EVER get safety cautious?!)
Enjoyment level: Awesome! My daughter could have done it all day! My son also enjoyed playing with the play doh. Clean up was no worse than picking up blocks or books or a toy box emptied on the ground, and probably faster.