Monday, August 17, 2015

Developing Fine Motor Skills

Taking the time to build fine motor skills is just as important as teaching your Littles letter names and sounds, numbers, counting, etc. etc. Unfortunately, this is a skill that is often overlooked. Having strong hand muscles and fine motor skills is the foundation that our students need to grasp a pencil, control their writing instruments, use scissors, and ultimately have good handwriting. That's why today's post is all about developing fine motor skills

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}



















It takes time to build strength in their little hands. Someone who has never exercised wouldn't go out and run a 5K, now would they?! Same thing with our little guys. They need exercise and practice to build strong muscles and in developing fine motor skills. It's so important to plan activities that help students work and strengthen these muscles.

There's a number of activities that you can incorporate into your classroom to help promote fine motor development.
  • Cut pieces of construction paper in squares of approximately 6" by 6". Have students take small stacks of paper and put paperclips on the stack.
  • Use snap cubes. It takes hand muscles to snap the cubes together and unsnap them. Same goes for Legos.
  • Cut straws into 1" pieces. Have students string them on pipe cleaners, shoe laces, or use a plastic needle and yarn.
  • String small pony beads on pipe cleaners.
  • Use tweezers to put pom-poms into empty ice cube trays or egg cartons.
  • Use lacing cards or turn a paper plate into a lacing activity by punching multiple holes in the plate and adding some yarn or shoelaces.

Along with the activities listed above, here are some of the other things we do to work on developing hand muscles, fine motor, and pre-writing skills in Kindergarten. 


For this activity, students use a dry erase marker to draw lines around the stickers. Students will begin at the star and draw a line around the stickers to get from one end of the paper to the other.

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

To make these, use a paper cutter to cut construction paper or card stock in strips about 4" wide. Place fun stickers randomly along the strip of paper. I also put a star on the edge where I want my students to begin when they draw their line. Laminate, cut out, and add some dry erase markers.

Let's face it, your name is the most important word to you. It's a word that you use every. single. day. You can never get away from it. It follows you your whole life! (Although, I hear the word "mom" quite a bit too.) But for five year olds, their name is the most awesome, amazing word. EVER. So because names are so fantastic, I like to do a lot of name activities in the beginning of the year.

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

For this one, cut a 9x12 piece of construction paper in half length-wise. Use a Sharpie to write each student's name and be sure to space the letters out a little bit so there's room for stickers! I put out an assortment of small stickers and let the kids pick the ones they want to use. They take the sticker off the page and put it on the paper to make their name. Taking the sticker off of the page and putting on the paper is a great fine motor exercise.

Another activity to help with developing fine motor skillls and building hand muscles is playing with play dough. The rolling, squeezing, pinching, pressing that students do is great for those little hands. My kids love rolling the play dough and making snakes.

We put an educational twist on our play dough fun by using these play dough mats to form our letters and numbers. I love these play dough mats because the letter and number pictures show the students how to form the letters and numbers using the play dough snakes they are already making.

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

In my last post I talked about my love of using bingo dabbers in the classroom. I love using them for so many reasons. For one, they are less intimidating than a pencil, especially at the beginning of the year. Be sure to check out that post because it's got some great ideas for introducing bingo dabbers to your students. The dabbers are great for fine motor practice. I use them whenever I can. 

Here we are using them to practice number formation. This is a non-intimidating way to introduce numbers and number writing. There is no pencil involved. All they do is dab. These are also great for eye-hand coordination because students have to dab within the lines to form the numbers. 

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

While we are working on building hand muscles and developing fine motor skills, we also practice and prepare to use scissors. We begin by learning to tear paper. I look at tearing paper as sort of a prerequisite for learning to use scissors. Some kiddos need to be taught how to tear paper. The concept of having their hands move in two different directions is a challenge. 

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

We practice tearing construction paper. I cut the construction in quarters to make the size more manageable for little hands. We make a name activity from the paper that we tear. I use a Sharpie to write the first letter of  the child's name at the top of the paper. Be sure to write the letter large! The bottom of the paper says "is for ..." (write the child's name). Students tear the paper and then glue it on to form the letter.

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

Once students have practiced tearing, we move to cutting. We begin by snipping or making small cuts on a piece of paper. Using the paper cutter, I cut strips of paper (about 2" wide, by 6-8" long). Large, long strips of paper are hard for beginning cutters to manage so keep them short. I used stickers to show the kids where to cut, you could also use stamps, bingo dabbers, draw lines or make dots with a marker. Students use their scissors to snip up to the sticker.  This helps students learn how to hold the paper when they cut and how to open and close the scissors. It also helps them learn to control their scissors and to understand that they need to put the scissors where they want to cut.

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

 I put a sticker on the top of their scissors to remind them which way is up. I've also used pom-poms, wiggly eyes, and duck tape. Stickers or duck tape works the best.

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

Once we've learned to snip with our scissors, we move to making larger, more deliberate cuts. I cut more strips of paper but this time I make the strips a little wider (about 4" wide).  Again, I used stickers to fancy up the strips, but you could use stamps, bingo dabbers, etc. Whatever you use, it's important to have a visual cue that shows the students where to hold the paper as they cut. (These are great projects while you're watching TV at night!) This time I draw lines for students to cut on. The wider paper means students have to open and close their scissors to move across the line as they cut.

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

Here's one more activity I use to practice cutting. Coupon cutting! This is such an easy, low-prep activity.  Parents are great about donating old coupons at the beginning of the year. Kids LOVE this activity because they have seen mom or dad cut coupons at home!

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

Tip: Be sure to preview the coupons before putting them out for your students. Make sure they are all appropriate for the classroom. Pull out and discard any coupons that may not be appropriate for the eyes of young viewers.

Okay, moving on...


I set this activity up in a center with a tidy tub. Students throw their scraps away in the tidy tub. At clean up time, one student dumps the tidy tub in the big trash can. This cuts down on constant trips to the trash can and messes on the floor.

Help your preschool and Kindergarten classroom & homeschool students in developing their fine motor skills with the many great ideas included at this blog post! You'll see ideas for using playdough, scissors, tearing paper, stickers, snap cubes, straw necklaces, pony beads, tweezers, lacing cards, coupons, and MORE! When you want to develop those fine motor skills, the ideas included in this post are a great place to start! {preK and Kinder student, teacher, and parent approved!}

So that's how we work on developing fine motor skills in our classroom. Thanks for reading along!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Using Bingo Dabbers in the Classroom {with a FREEBIE}

I get a lot of questions about how I using bingo dabbers in the classroom and how I introduce them to my students. I start them at the beginning of the year. Just like our other classroom supplies, I teach my students HOW I want them to use the bingo dabbers.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. In my room we call them bingo dabbers. If you've used any of my monthly center packs, you know that I LOVE using them in the classroom!  Using dabbers makes working so much fun and they get the kids extra excited about learning. They also provide fine motor practice. They are perfect at the beginning of the year for kiddos who are still learning to hold and control their pencil.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

I have several different brands of bingo dabbers. Some I have found at Wal-Mart in the party section or at a party store. I have heard some teachers have found them at a dollar store. My favorite brand is the Do-A-Dot Art Markers. They are about $15, but they are so durable, the dabs never soak through the paper, and they last a long, long time.

While many stores sell bingo dabbers, but you can use my affiliate link to grab your own set through Amazon by clicking here.


You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

Before I give my students dabbers to use, we talk about them. I want them to be pros at using bingo dabbers in the classroom when we're done! We talk about HOW to use them and how to treat them. I stress that they need to use a quick, firm dab and come straight back up. It's just a dot, not a lot. We dab only on our paper. We keep the lid on when we are not using them. I also model what it should sound like to prevent students from pounding the dabbers on the paper.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

We also talk about how NOT to use them. We talk about what happens if we push down too hard or leave the dabber on the paper too long. And then, because they are five years old and curious as can be, I show them what happens. And as our classroom motto goes, now that they know better, I want them to do better. I think it is so important to provide students examples AND non-examples of your expectations.

Click the picture to download this printable for your classroom.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

After we've talked about the dabbers, we practice...A LOT. First, I use them in my teacher-led small group stations before I put them in independent centers.

Here's some of the activities we do just for fun for practice.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

I give them a piece of thick construction paper and they dab. Most of the kids have never used a bingo dabber before so they need to fulfill their curiosity (just like exploring and playing with classroom manipulatives).

By giving them a piece of paper and letting them express their creativity, it helps to fulfill that curiosity. They can dab shapes, a picture, or just random dots. This is so simple and requires no prep, but this is one of their favorite first day of school activities.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

We also do a name activity. I cut a 12x18 piece of construction paper horizontally. With a pencil, I lightly write each student's name. This gives them a guideline of where to dab. In a small group, we use bingo dabbers to dab their name. This is a great activity to help assess the fine motor skills of each child. As a bonus, they look adorable and so colorful hanging up in the classroom!

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

I just finished my latest packet in Dab of Learning No-Prep series. I love this series because each packet is full of Kindergarten appropriate academic skills, but students use a bingo dabber to complete the activities (and it's NO PREP, which is an added bonus!) Since this packet is for beginning of the year, I included a few pages just to introduce and practice bingo dabbing.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!
This page is the first page I use with students. We practice dabbing the popcorn pieces. Students have to be intentional where they dab because they are trying to dab inside the lines of the popcorn. Some students dab too soft, so we work on giving a firmer dab. Some students dab too hard, so we work on toning it down just a little bit!

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!
Students are dabbing their way through the maze to help the boy get on the school bus. This is another activity to practice our dabbing skills.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!
Here students are dabbing the picture that does not belong.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!
Here is a literacy activity from the packet. Students dab the matching lowercase letter, then they write the uppercase and lowercase pair on the line. They have fun dabbing, but they are still getting practice writing with a pencil.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!
In this phonemic awareness activity students dab the picture that has the same beginning sound.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!
Students dab the letter to show the beginning sound and then they write the letter on the line.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!
Students roll the die, count the dots, and dab the match. You could turn this into a partner game by giving each student their own color bingo dabber. Player with the most dabs is the winner.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!
Dab the matching shapes.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!
Students trace the number and then dab to show how many. I included boxes to help students with spacing.

You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!
Here we are practicing number formation and recognition. You could reuse this page by having students rainbow the numbers!

Click on the picture below to download the FREEBIE packet to use with your class!
You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

You can check out the "A Dab of Learning" for Back to School packet by click on the picture below.
You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

Or you can save 20% with the YEAR LONG BUNDLE. The bundle has over 300 pages of activities made just for Kindergarten. Skills progress as the year goes on. Best of all, it's NO PREP! Just print and add bingo dabbers. Click on the picture below to check it out.
You might call them bingo dobbers, daubers, bingo markers, or dot paints. Regardless, this post is going to give you great tips for using bingo dabbers in the classroom! You'll find ideas, resources, and a FREE download to use with your classroom or homeschool students. Teachers of preschool, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students will enjoy the tips, ideas, and teaching strategies included here. These tips are especially great for the back to school or beginning of year season!

Thanks for reading along about using bingo dabbers in the classroom!