Fantastic Fingers® Program early learning activities improve 4 to 6 year olds' fine motor skills & attention while they develop early math & pre-reading skills
Young children learn effectively through hands-on experiences especially where movement is involved. The Fantastic Fingers® Program activities are based on sound principles of child development, biomechanical principles & research. You can rely on these songs & play based school readiness activities to effectively assist the students you work with or your own child.
The 100 program activities develop these essential school readiness foundations:
Core strength & sitting posture
Arm, hand & finger strength
Hand specialization & dexterity
Sensory awareness & tactile discrimination
Fine motor skills
Pencil grip & control
As children develop these foundations, they learn early math & literacy skills, improve their ability to follow instructions, & pay attention. They become engaged & confident learners.
Fine motor skills & school readiness
Does your child have good fine motor readiness skills? See with my free fine motor skills and ability check. Up to 60% of their time in class will be spent doing fine motor tasks.
As parents we want our children to be happy & successful, especially at school. We want them to have the confidence & skills to learn well. By giving them the gift of our time with opportunities to develop & practice their fine motor skills, we are setting them up for academic success. In doing these hands-on activities we can simultaneously develop early math, prewriting & pre-reading skills.
These 100 activities are so much fun to do & use inexpensive, everyday materials. The eBook will provide you with a fortnightly flexible program to follow or you can pick & chose activities for vacation times. These activities are popular with home schoolers as part of an early learning program.
The child with fine motor difficulties
At home with minimal cost you can help your child to improve their fine motor skills once you know where to start & how to go about it. I've been able to show many parents how to help their children using this developmental biomechanical approach. Watch me explain in my free training video Fine Motor Skills 101.
Don't ignore your child's fine motor difficulties hoping they will go away. From talking to parents of older children & in my own experience, in most cases their difficulties will continue as they get older. This leads to more distress & damages their self-esteem.
Rather use the training information & activities that I have carefully selected to make a difference. Start on one area, take small steps, & with regular practice over time, their fine motor skills will improve.
Your child's confidence will grow & they will become motivated to tackle more challenging tasks, such as moving from printing their name to writing a story. You are their No. 1 coach, cheerleader & fan!
Catering for all students
Do you have some of these students in class? They can't maintain a good posture for seated activities, wriggle & are distracted during mat time, print with large, wobbly letters, press too hard or too softly, struggle to cut with scissors, & fall behind.
Today about 1 in 4 five year olds are developmentally vulnerable or at-risk in the area of their fine motor skills. That's about 8 students in each class. This is only going to increase as more time is spent on electronic devices with less time for physical activity & hands-on manipulative play. These children are not ready to write stories, read or do math problems yet. They need time to develop the pre-requisite motor skills.
How can you address these underlying foundations necessary for learning without impractical changes to your current teaching program?
From listening to & sharing with experienced educators & teachers, I've put together 100 activities in a flexible program that can be adapted for small group rotations or whole class participation. Once you know the principles behind these activities, you will learn how to optimise activities you already do. When improving motor skills, it's the way you do the task that makes a big difference.
Review the reviews from other teachers who have used these activities successfully.
In addition, as I firmly believe that the task to prepare children for school should be shared, I've made some videos free. Parents can follow along & practise at home. The single user eBook with online videos & 100 worksheets is good value.
Read a brief summary of research justifying the need for fine motor interventions in school settings- Why Fine Motor Skills and Why Fantastic Fingers®?
Occupational Therapy Programs
Firstly, are these activities going to improve the student's occupational performance as a writer & user of tools in the classroom? Secondly, can we achieve our goals quicker?
Yes. I believe that the developmental biomechanical approach is an effective way to address the fine motor components or foundations which underlie the production of written work & skilled use of tools in school. You will however still need to teach handwriting & writing explicitly.
In developing Fantastic Fingers®, I've have incorporated findings from my own research & clinical practice as well as that from other published studies. I have obtained peer review from OTs who regulary provide direct intervention to preschool children & school aged students.
You will recognise some of your favourites activities in here plus many new ones. I have found that the slower songs are really good for calming the children & promoting focus before going onto the motor & learning activities. I tend to start sessions with the songs first.
The foundational motor & sensory skills that these activities improve are: postural control and core stability, shoulder stability and control, forearm position, wrist and finger strength; kinaesthesia, tactile awareness, isolated and refined finger movements; and in-hand manipulation. The child is also specifically instructed on how to sit well, hold and cut with scissors, hold a pencil efficiently, and work from left to right and top to bottom. Prewriting skills are covered using multisensory activities & animal character worksheets.
In addition to the above, there are an additional 40 activities that take these motor skills & develop them in the context of specific early learning school readiness activities. Early math concepts, pre-reading and early writing skills are taught & practiced hands-on.
I always encourage the child's teacher & parents to reinforce the aims of treatment by doing some of the activities at school & home. The free instructional video Fine Motor Skill 101 really seems to help them understand the why & how, serving as a great motivator.
Due to the shortage of occupational therapists, you may not be aware that OTs can assist students with mild to moderate needs to improve their fine motor skills. Read a paper I wrote on a successful research study using Fantastic Fingers® activities in the classroom.