Ever have a toddler at your feet when you are trying to cook a meal? That was the case when I first pulled out this q-tip fine motor activity. One morning during our Letter Q week I was trying to make breakfast before the boys arrived, and Tinker needed my attention or needed something to do. I saw the q-tips we were using for our painting activities and remembered reading about practicing fine motor skills by placing q-tips in a small container.
I also read about doing this activity with a grated cheese container, but I didn’t have an empty one handy. What I did have was a steamer insert that came with one of our pots, and I thought that could work. If you don’t have a steamer insert, take a look around your kitchen. There may be lots of objects with holes that would work. Just be sure it is something safe for kids to interact with.
Tinker was instantly intrigued, and soon Lovey joined her. They both played with the activity until the boys arrived.
It was an activity all of the kids have revisited often since then, but Tinker loves it most. We have the cheapest q-tips I could find. They tend to be a little thinner than others, so they fit perfectly in our steamer pot holes. Sometimes the cotton pulls a little and makes the ends a bit bigger, so she has learned to push the q-tip all the way through with her fingers or pull off the extra cotton. She loves to peak down the holes to see her q-tip collection inside.
I also love to see the activity extending to other areas of learning. Without any encouragement, Lovey naturally lifted the insert and started organizing and counting all of the q-tips she had pushed through the holes. We have been working on counting larger sets of objects, and this was a very authentic way for her to practice counting and one-to-one correspondence.
Another unexpected benefit of this task was the possibility of working as a team. The steamer insert was large enough for the kids to work together. They would race to see how quickly they could use up the q-tips. Then if someone was having difficulty they would stop to help each other. I also liked hearing them talk about how they could each work in different areas so they weren’t reaching across each other. This kind of problem solving and teamwork wouldn’t have been an option if I had chosen a smaller container for only one child to use at a time.
You can find more fine motor activities on my fine motor and sensory play Pinterest board.
What ways do you practice fine motor skills? Any great activities for keeping kids entertained while you are trying to cook?
LEARN MORE ABOUT FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Looking for more detailed information on supporting fine motor development? In Basics of Fine Motor Skills, you’ll learn which skills are important for fine motor development, plus what fine motor development looks like in children at all age levels.Your go-to-guide for everything fine motor related, it’s the perfect resource for parents, teachers, and therapists.