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My 4 Favorite FUN Fine-Motor Activities + A FREEBIE

You won't believe the one we do EVERY day!

Looks like trash, but it develops small muscles.
READ ON to find out how.

My first favorite fine motor activity:
It is a center that my students loved from day 1.
You can use yarn or long pipe cleaners. 

I got some cake cooling racks at The Dollar Store, cut up some strands of yard, and let them have fun.
I taped the ends of the yarn with clear tape to prevent fraying.

Some of the students loved weaving patterns, others just wove random colors, but everyone was working on their fine motor skills!

My second favorite fine motor activity:
It is a sight word center. It looks like spaghetti and meatballs, but the students had to match the pairs of sight words! You can make this out of large wooden beads, but I made mine in kind of a funny way. 
This center works best when two students can help each other find the matching sight word. 

Our PTA gave me a bag of Dum-dum candy pops for my class. I didn't want to give them candy, so I bought them a basket of organic blueberries and I was going to throw the Dum-dums away when I got this idea. 

I unwrapped them, cut the sticks off, and applied pieces of torn brown tissue paper with Mod Podge. (You can find Mod Podge at a craft store like Michael's.) 

I never did tell them that their were candy lollipops inside these meatballs!
Then, I applied a little piece of paper to each "meatball" with a sight word printed on it. I made two matching meatballs for each sight word. Last, I gave the meatballs one last coat of Mod Podge and let them all dry. 
Add extra bowls to collect the matching meatballs.

The next day, I placed the meatballs in a small colander with a handful of rubber bands. I didn't even bother to cut the rubber bands! I added a pair of tongs, a checkered tablecloth & two chefs' hats and that's it! 
You don't need a fancy colander. You can just use a plastic bowl.

This center was a favorite!

My students took turns grasping a meatball with the tongs and having their partner find the matching meatball in the pile of spaghetti! They LOVED it!

My third favorite fine motor activity:
It is my PIN LETTER CARDS. I ran these dotted letters on card stock and let my students place one card on the carpet. Then, they used a push pin and poked a hole through the card and into the carpet until every dot was poked. Then, they could take it home to tape to a window and let the light shine through their letters! They loved making one of these each week for 26 weeks and they strengthened their fingers while having fun!
They wrote their names on the back before they began.
This Pin Letter Set also comes with number cards!  You can grab a set by CLICKING HERE.

My fourth favorite fine motor activity is the one we did EVERY day!  
In fact, we did it several times a day! This is how it worked...
I always asked my students to try to create only one scrap whenever they have to cut anything out.
This is from my Pocket Locket set.
Students create a locket or a pocket watch with the letters from their sight words.

This took pre-planning and lots of thought, but wait, it gets better...
This Pocket Locket is for the sight word "I".

(These are my my SIGHT WORD POCKET LOCKETS. Once made, students may wear their sight words home as a locket around their necks or as a pocket watch in their pockets.)

Then, I asked them to always fold their one large scrap as many times as they could. Now, I think that any piece of paper, no matter how large or small it is, can only be folded a maximum of seven times*, but my students always tried to fold their scrap even more times. 
They would fold, press, and squeeze with all their might!

We called this our "finger exercises" and, since we did this several times each day, it did actually build up the muscles in their fingers!
They made their scraps as small as they could!

The added bonus was that our trashcans did not overflow with large scraps of paper. :)
Your trash can won't overflow like this one!

*Disclaimer: In January 2002, a junior in high school, Gallivan, demonstrated that a single piece of toilet paper 4000 ft (1200 m) in length can be folded in half twelve times. 

Did you like my Sight Word Pocket Lockets? You can find them by clicking HERE.
Click the image to grab your FREEBIE.

I also have two you may have for FREE by CLICKING HERE

You may visit my TpT Store by CLICKING HERE

Well, that's it for this month, my friends. Look for my next post on Sept. 30! :)


How to Increase Fine Motor Strength in Kindergarten

Hi guys!  It's Cori from Mrs. B's Beehive continuing our August conversation about fine motor skills in Kindergarten!  We all know the importance of fine motor skills, but unfortunately, a lot of our students come in with underdeveloped fine motor skills. They also lack the strength that they need in those tiny hands to wield a pencil or scissors appropriately.  So today, we are talking about one way that you can increase hand strength in your students.

There are many different activities to help students increase their agility with regards to fine motor skills, but one of the best ways to increase their strength, is through the use of hole punches.  Hole punches can even be challenging for adults at times, especially when we shove too much paper in    : )  The grip and strength that students need to punch out a hole in a piece of paper, uses just about every muscle in the hand! Punch card activities can build the strength in their hands very quickly!

I created this quick freebie for you to use during the first couple of months at school. You can use it in small groups with students who are working on increasing their fine motor skills, or you can use it during center time, and let all students get a chance to grow their hand muscles.

There are 5 different templates for the kids to use.  You don't have to cut the shape out completely, just cut it into a square, and the hole punch will be able to reach the holes.

My kids LOVE using hole punches, especially if one of those happens to be the teacher's : )  If you are interested in this freebie, just click on any of the pictures in this post, and it will take you to the document in Google Drive.  I hope you find these templates useful, and please comment below with other hand strengthening activities that you like to use with your students!

Fine Motor Frenzy

Hey everybody! It's Breanna from A Pinch of Primary

This month on the Kinder Tribe blog, we will be talking about the ever-important FINE MOTOR. It's a FINE MOTOR FRENZY in August. For me, it's back to school this coming Tuesday (yes, so jealous of all of you that still have this beautiful summer to enjoy) and the beginning of K is crucial to developing the skills that are so important. This short and sweet post had a much grander plan, but then Back to School Night happened last night and it just hit me that I was watching CRUCIAL things happening right before my eyes.

My first station at BTS night was the kindergarten signature. This is beautiful for many reasons, you see who can write their name, who needs help from big sis, what their favorite color of marker is, and most importantly...who can HOLD the marker correctly and adjust when needed. Just like we all see, I had everything from holding it at the top to the whole-hand grip and then I had the veteran walking in with their fancy big kid grip. (You go, kiddos) I was taking mental notes of each and every "pencil" grip I could. Granted, these were markers so the utensil was a little bit different than normal, but it gave me a lot of insight on who will immediately need a lot of support in that area.

Another station I implement during BTS night is emptying their supplies. I set an example school box out and the parents were FABULOUS about letting their child put away their own supplies (without teacher prompting--insert PRAISE HANDS) Almost every single one of their supplies needed opened. The glue stick 80 packs we require on our lists always need opened and every other supply that comes in a tricky package needs opened. These packages were ALL opened by the kids. Some took 10 minutes to open all of their supplies and some were done in two minutes. I could SEE the concentration in their faces. It was a true struggle for some.

There are SO MANY amazing fine motor activities to practice the first week of school--tracing lines, cutting lines, using tweezers, Play-Doh, etc. What are your favorite activities to do to promote fine motor skills?

Heading Back to School? Who Can Use A New Laminator?

I Am In Love With This Laminator!

Enter to win one of these laminators at the bottom of this page.
It's my new favorite thing! 
So sleek, so smooth, so cool!

It heated up so quickly and was so easy to use too. 

All you have to do is slip the items you want to laminate into the plastic pouches. 

Click the image.

Then, slip the pouch into the input slot and let your Scotch Laminator do its thing. 

It will slowly pull the pouch into the machine and what comes out on the other side will make you smile!

I also laminated the backpack so it would hold up at my newest center. 

All of the pieces were laminated and I know they will last for years because this lamination is nice and thick. 

Students loved getting to fill their paper bag backpack with the items like liked most. 
If you like this set, click the image. 

I made extra cards for each piece so students may "buy" more than one of each item.

Did I mention that the laminator is super quiet too? Well, it is and I love how all of the colors pop when they are laminated. 

The best part is that they had fun while learning and sharing about their choices.

If you would like to see this Back To School Set,

You can win a Scotch Thermal Laminator for your classroom by entering the Rafflecopter below.  The Rafflecopter runs through August 6. The winner will be announced on my blog,, and on my Facebook page ( on August 7. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

AND... if you like this give-away, you might like my other birthday give-away this week. I'm also giving away a set of 818 DJ Inker graphics!

And Good Luck!!! 

Back to School Organization

It's that time of year.....we are all excited and getting ready for Back to School.

One of the first things I always do in my classroom is work on fine tuning my organization.  I do this before bulletin boards, before setting up my tables, and before I set up my desk.

One of my favorite organizations tips is setting up a place to keep all your materials for the week.

I bought these 3 drawer units and added labels to them for each day of the week.  I also added a label for "next week" as well.  As I make my copies for the week or pull activities and books, I just put them in the correct drawer.

This makes my life so much easier during the week.  It also makes planning for a sub (or emergency sub plans) so much easier.  I can just pull everything out of the drawer and voila, the sub has all he/she needs.

I have one extra set of drawers for work that needs to be checked, stuff to copy, and items that need to be filed.

Do you think you could use these in your classroom?  Just click {here} for a free download of the labels.  There is even a couple blanks ones that you can write your label on.

I hope your back to school time goes smoothly and you have the best year yet!

Back to School - Classroom "Rules"

Hey ya'll! It's Emily from Carnes' Corner.  I hope you've had an amazing summer!  

(Happy Christmas in July, by the way! Did you notice that was today?? Stick around for a fun Christmas in July giveaway at the bottom of this post!)


As we prepare to go back to school, I wanted to share with you one of my FAVORITE activities to do with the kids during the first week.  I'm BIG on having the students help me make our classroom rules (I call the procedures/promises), so that they feel they have some investment, or ownership in them.

So, on day 1 and 2, we brainstorm "rules" on the white board and add/edit them throughout the day(s). Here's what it looked like on day 3 for us last year...

Then, when we are completely happy with how everything looks and all of the promises are edited the way we want them to be, I transfer them on a poster to display in the classroom.  (I normally will write this at home that night, and bring it to school the next day--normally around day 4 or 5, depending on how much detail we need to add and how much editing is needed).  

They're SO excited to see it on a poster, and then I tell them that instead of signing it (we have a big discussion about a contract, etc.), we're going to make self portraits to place around our promises.  It's a super fun activity, and the kids LOVE it!  Here's what ours looked like this past year...

Do you have your kids help you when creating classroom rules? What does that look like in your classroom?


And now, for our Christmas in July giveaway!  

Some of us at The Kinder Tribe wanted to share some of our TpT products with you to help celebrate the holiday!  Here's what's up for grabs:

Enter the giveaway below...winner will be selected on Friday, July 29th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to School: Prep Your Classroom

Hello!  It's Katie from Miss Kate's Desk.  Today I want to share my tips for prepping your classroom in the summer.  I don't know about you but it seems like there's always a lot to do and clean.

1.  CLEAN.  My school is an older building and dust accumulates fast.  The first day into my classroom I like to clean EVERYTHING.  I dust and wipe down counters.  I pull out tubs and clean in and between them.  Basically I try to get every surface.  My custodians clean the floor and that's about it.  So before I start anything else I clean.  Swiffer dusters, Magic Erasers, and Clorox wipes are my best friends.

If you have tubs on top of your tables or pencil/crayon boxes those are good to clean too.  The best product I've found for them are Magic Erasers.  I wet them a little and wipe down the containers the students use on the tables.  We all know how they get marked up with crayons and pencils as much as we tell them not to.

You can see two of my favorites here...wipes and a Swiffer duster.

2.  REARRANGE.  Rearrange tables or furniture (find a buddy to help, no one needs a knee brace or hurt foot on the first day of school).

3. ORGANIZE.  I like to go through each shelf and area to get ready for the new school year.  I have a trash can or recycle bin close and go through things.  Yesterday I threw away some old literacy station pocket chart games that were tearing and haven't been used in a couple of years.  That freed up a bunch of space in my tubs.  It's also the time to think if your storage spots are useful and work for you.  If they do not, think of how you can rearrange.  We all know it's better to do it now than during the busy school year.  Summer is a great time to go through your math or literacy station activities.

I had a very small area for indoor recess activities and this year my district is bringing back PLAY in kindergarten.  We can have a small chunk to do play centers so I had to clean and organize an extra shelf to house new play center activities.  All the blue tubs you see are new (on sale) and what was there before was reorganized to a new spot.

4. BULLETIN BOARDS. I usually save these for last because I like to think of what borders I'm using and what is going to be on each board or wall.

Other helpful tips

  • STICK TO ONE TASK!  I am terrible at this, but it makes for a more productive time in your classroom.  Start in one spot on the task you're doing and keep at it.  4 things going at once will drive you crazy!  
  • MAKE A LIST.  Your mind is thinking of so many back to school things, a list is a great way to remember what you need to do.  I also have a list of things I need to make or buy as well.
  • DON'T STRESS.  Even if you do not get into your room until right before the first day of school, it's okay!  The students are not going to care if the cute growth mindset posters didn't get hung up in time or that the a bulletin board is blank.  
  • TAKE HELP IF OFFERED.  We have an amazing building aide who is up at our school a lot during the summer because she does PTO things.  She always is asking people what she can do to help.  I would never take her up on help in the past...but then she helped me do a bulletin board and she's amazing at it!  My mom also offers to help come up and dust and clean.  I gladly say yes.  Even little things like that save you time that you can use on organizing or planning.
Have a great rest of the summer and enjoy getting your room together for a new school year!  My system of how I work in my room over the summer may not be for everyone, but this is what works for me.  Find the best way for your room and your tasks that need to be completed.