What are Fine Motor Skills:
Fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the body that enable such functions as writing, grasping small objects, and fastening clothing. They involve strength, fine motor control, and dexterity.
How Fine Motor Skills Affect Learning and Living Skills:
These skills are important in most school activities as well as in life in general. Weaknesses in fine motor skills can affect a child's ability to eat, write legibly, turn pages in a book, and perform personal care tasks such as dressing and grooming.I've seen variations on this 'nuts and bolts' activity on lots of blogs, especially ones that are into Montessori teaching materials. This one is such a good one for developing fine motor skills plus it's awesome for problem solving, maths, learning new vocabulary and lots more. Also it can be a pretty budget friendly activity as you only need to buy the nuts, bolts and screws (if you don't have some already.) Here are the details for my one (my hubby Ben made it for me.)
Fine motor skills 'Nuts, Bolts and Screws' board
You will need
-piece of wood- this one is about 1.5 cm thick and approx 25cm x 15 cm size
-bolts no longer than the thickness of your piece of wood
-screws - as above- I used flat head screws but it would have been good to have some Phillips ones as well so the kids learnt the difference between the 2 types of screws and had the challenge of matching the right screw driver to the right screw as well (although Ben isn't sure if they actually had Phillips ones)
-things that you use to screw the screws or bolts into the piece of wood- I don't know what they're called but you'll find them with the nuts and bolts -see pic above. I'll call them base pieces-when Ben went to Bunnings he found individual base pieces already matched to a bolt or a screw which was handy
-screwdriver the right size for your chosen screws (a short one with a large handle like the orange one on the pic below is easiest for younger children)
-spanner that fits your bolts (Super Cheap Auto had spanners for $1.50 when I went in yesterday)
What to do
1. Drill holes into the piece of wood where you would like the screws/bolts to go
2. Hammer in the base pieces
3. Screw in your bolts and screws
Nuts and bolts sorting and matching activity
One of the things I am always on the lookout for when I go op-shopping is any sort of small divider type bowls like the one below- this one was $1 but I've picked up plastic ones for as little as 20c- they are so handy for kids to sort things into and organise little things. I got the nuts and bolts from Bunnings- each bolt was 50c - $1.50 approx and the nuts were from 15c - 50c approx.
For this I just bought different size nuts and bolts plus a wing nut and a carabina type thing. Children will enjoy things like matching up the right size nuts to the bolts, ordering the nuts and bolts from smallest to biggest and also counting how many they can fit onto each bolt.
Another thing you can do with these nuts and bolts is write letters on the faces of each nut and encourage older children to see how many word they can make- great for spelling and learning rhyming words. I just used a sharpie to write the letters on so not sure how long they will last but this post explains how to make them with little stickers and mod lodge- don't know where I'd find those little stickers here in NZ though? Another idea would be to get enough nuts so you can write the letters of their name and they have to spell out their name.
This post has a good idea too- write a word on the end of the bolt and have the children find the nuts with the right letters to spell the word.
I've got a few more fine motor skills activities to make so will share those soon as well :)