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Last week I started a new series on Pre-writing Activities for Kids.
For a quick review, here are the pre-writing strokes that children learn in a developmental sequence:
- Vertical line
- Horizontal line
- Cross shape (+)
- Right/Left Diagonal Line
- X shape
Today we are moving on to the circle shape with a fun pompom task tray that can be adapted for kids of all ages!
Items Needed for Pom Pom Task Tray
- Colored craft pom poms
- Glass/plastic jar with lid (I used a leftover pickle jar)
- Task Tray
- Medium size bowl (I used a mixing bowl from the kitchen)
- Small tablespoon or other small mixing spoons (optional)
This activity is very easy to set up. Simply put the task tray on the floor or small child size table with the jar and mixing bowl on it. Place the pom poms in one of the containers and let your child explore by transferring items back and forth between the two jars. You can provide them with the mixing spoons or small fine motor tongs or chopsticks.
Since my daughter is 17 months, I just gave her a tablespoon size measuring spoon and also let her use her fingers. This is great practice for developing a good pincer grasp.
She spent a good 30 minutes with this activity, putting the pom poms back and forth between the two containers. I would suggest whatever container you use for the 2nd container make sure the opening to it is smaller than the 1st. If you have an older child you can use a container with an even smaller opening, this will give them a challenge in fine motor skills practice and eye-hand coordination.
Also, if you think your little one will put the smaller size pom poms in their mouth, please use larger sized ones. Also do not leave your child unattended during this activity at all.
During this activity, I talked to my daughter about circles, showing her that the pom poms were circles, the rims of the bowls and spoons are circles, even the apples on the task tray. I also used the wording “start at the top, circle around, stop” when tracing the circle shapes with my finger. This is the same wording I use when teaching how to draw or trace a circle for older kids, so it is good repetition.
For an older child who is learning to trace pre-writing lines, you can provide them with some paper and crayons after this activity and have them practice making circle shapes. For children ages 2-3, just having circular motions on paper is age appropriate, ages 3-4 will start to perfect making an actual circle with start and stop points.
Skills used in the Pom Pom Task Tray Pre-writing Activity
- Eye-Hand Coordination
- Fine motor skills (hand strength, pincer grasp, proper grasp on writing utensils if you are using the tongs or chopsticks).
- Pre-writing skills (exposure to various circle shapes in different environments and everyday items)
Here are my other activities in the Pre-Writing Activities for Kids Series
This activity is included in my new book, Basic Shapes for Beginners – A Hands-On Approach to Pre-Writing Strokes for Preschoolers. You'll get 30+ activity ideas for introducing pre-writing lines to your toddler and preschool age child.
You can also find more ideas with the resources below.
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Such a great idea! She is SO focused on those!
Sherry Phillips says
What a great article! I wish I had this idea when my kids were younger!
We don’t have kids yet, but I already learned a wonderful idea 🙂
It’s always good to be prepared
Adelien Tan says
We did this activities with our toddlers using colorful clothes pegs. Thank you for sharing.
wonderful activities and guidance .
i want your help if you could provide me a good assessment tool for handwriting in preeschoolers to elementary school children.i am looking for any costeffective e-format assessment to be used by me (Occupational Therapist) with my client in my clinic .