Fine motor practice is interwoven through our day with preschoolers. The ability to manipulate small items with movements like turning, twisting, flipping, and pinching prepares children for writing and other independence skills as they grow.
A super fun way to incorporate this, especially if you have a construction obsessed kid, is with nuts and bolts. There are lots of nuts and bolts toys, but nothing compares to the real thing! Using real steel nuts and bolts ties the material to their use (for fastening joints in plumbing, building, and industry) and gives (literal) weight to the activity. Kids can begin to imagine what the different sizes are used for and what tools might be needed to fasten them together.
- Nuts, bolts, and washers of various sizes (be sure to have sizes that match each other so they can fit together!)
Lay out your nuts and bolts for surveying by your child. Not only can they be matched and screwed together, they also provide a great opportunity for sorting and ordering. Order from largest to smallest or lightest to heaviest. Sort by size or by shape. If you have a surplus of bolts, use them as counting pieces either on the nut or separate.
Each of these learning opportunities requires little prep work. Have conversations about what you're doing, introduce vocabulary and expand on it if your child is interested, take cues from them and see where this unique play material takes you!