What is Funky Fingers?
Funky Fingers a series of fun activities for children to build up their upper body strength (gross motor skills) and finger/hand strength and control (fine motor skills). There are a wealth of activities that you can do with your child to improve these skills and get them ready to write. I can recommend visiting the website Therapy Street for Kids which has a lot of information on the different skills to develop as well as lots of great ideas.
On the page there are:
- Pre-writing and early writing activity ideas to get you started
- Videos with demonstrations of pre-writing activities and guidance
- Examples of warm ups children can do before picking up their pencil
- A video to demonstrate the ‘dynamic tripod’ grip
- The letter families to help you practice at home
Pre-writing activities to get you started:
- Complete activities whilst lying on their tummy, taking the weight through their elbows. E.g. watching TV, reading a book, puzzles.
- Climbing, seesaw, tug of war and swing activities with the child holding onto ropes.
- Craft activities – cutting, scrunching, gluing and ripping paper and bending pipe cleaners.
- Toy tools such as sawing, drilling, hammering, screws and bolts.
- Games involving flicking small objects e.g. flicking balls of paper of a table into a ‘goal’.
- Place a firm elastic band around tips of fingers and thumb. Open and close it 10 times with each hand.
- Dough gym – pinching, pressing, rolling, squeezing
- Holding a handful of items in hand and posting them into a jar one by one (buttons, coins)
- Picking up items with pegs, tongs, tweezers.
- Ribbon dancing
- Threading beads, straws etc.
- Walking fingers e.g. along tape placed on the table. Ring and little finger curled out of the way.
- Pop bubble wrap
- Turn keys in padlocks
- Tying knots into string and linking paper clips
- Posting items into the ‘hungry guy’ (tennis ball with slit in the top)
- Picking up sequins off a table or stickers off a sticker sheet
- Interlocking construction
Early writing activities:
- Tracing and stencil activities
- Colouring in activities, staying inside the lines.
- Dot to dots
- Drawing letter shapes in the air to music
- Copying over letter shapes
- Drawing letters in sand or shaving foam spread thinly on a table.
- Write with chalk, crayons, finger paints, pencils, pens etc.
- Write letters in the air with eyes shut.
- Recognition of letters through touch (stick letters, magnetic letters, fuzzy felt, sand paper letters).
- Drawing or writing on vertical surfaces (chalkboard, whiteboard, tiles at bath time with bath pens).
- Drawing or writing with chalks on the ground or pavement
- Water painting on outdoor walls with paintbrush.
Letter family groups:
Long ladder letters:
l, i, t, u, j, y
One arm robot letters:
r, b, n, h, m, k, p
Curly caterpillar letters:
c, a, d, o, s, g, q, e, f
Zig-zag monster letters:
z, v, w, x
What is dough disco?
“Push, chop, pinch, roll, yeehaw...!”
If you walk into our early years at the beginning of the morning, you shouldn’t be at all surprised if you hear the teachers and children saying these words while partaking in some unusual actions. We have good reason for such behaviour.
Each year, more and more children come into Reception not being able to hold a pencil because they have not yet developed the appropriate upper body strength. It is impossible for children to learn to hold a pencil without first strengthening muscles in the back, shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists and hands. On the journey to become confident mark makers, children also need to develop shoulder, elbow and wrist pivots. Despite these difficulties, and the fact that learning to hold a pencil and use it to form recognisable letters is an incredibly difficult skill that all children will develop at their own rates, and in their own ways, schools are under increased pressure to raise outcomes in writing at the end of early years.
The aim of dough disco is to strengthen and develop children’s fine and gross motor dexterity, balance and hand-eye co-ordination.
Each child is given a large piece of playdough: the heavier the dough, the greater the resistance.
To begin we remind the children that Dough Gym helps us to build up muscles so that we are able to hold a pencil correctly and with ease. Then, as an upbeat track begins to play, the teacher starts to model and call out instructions for the children to follow. The children are reminded to keep their backs straight and their feet shoulder width apart. They then copy a series of different moves. Each move supports a different area of development, from shoulder pivot to pincer grip.
Dough disco is the most fun when you pick your favourite song and then add some moves to it! See the Reception page to copy some moves!
What is 'Squiggle while you wiggle'?
In Nursery the children take part in squiggle while you wiggle sessions. These sessions are great fun but most importantly help your child to be confident mark makers.
It was designed by Shonette Bason. Follow this link to find out more: Squiggle while you wiggle information guide