My DS is 3.5 and goes to Montessori preschool. We met with his teacher today (so exciting - our first "parent-teacher interview" - how fun!)
His teacher (who is great) suggested that he is ready to move on to a few things in terms of his understanding and interest, but won't be able to move onto them until he develops his fine motor skills a bit more. DS REALLY wants to print/write stuff and that is what he can't do - just not so coordinated!
He doesn't love coloring (which seems like the obvious option) and I'm wondering if anyone can suggest some ways to work on his fine motor skills. I should maybe rephrase that - we don't want to "work" on them as he is doing fine. I was just thinking if we could incorporate some fun activities into our days that would help him get to do what he wants to do (but can't do physically yet) then that would be nice.
The Montessori materials in the practical life and sensorial areas of the 3 to 6 classroom contain many preparations for writing using the specific motions of the hand used in writing such as pinching the thumb and forefinger, using a circular motion, loosening the elbow.
Once the child is showing some control of these fine motor skills, the metal insets are introduced which is a preparation for writing because we work on holding the pencil properly, drawing shapes and visual discrimination before we start writing letters.
I guess I'm kind of surprised that the Guide didn't have more suggestions on his end as far as exercising the fine motor skills.
At home, there are many things that you could do to exercise fine motor skills. For one thing, fasteners (on clothing) involves alot of fine motor work. Buttons, zippers, belts and buckles.
Cooking and housework also utilize fine motor skills, and of course, handiwork like sewing, knitting, beading.
When he suggested it, I didn't think to ask because I was processing all the other things we were talking about! I will chat with him next week, but I knew that someone on here would have some good suggestions!
The Montessori works with tweezers moving objects from one dish/jar to another, or using a tiny spoon to move beans or beads are a couple of ideas. There are peg mazes with the wooden piece that you move along in its groove (can't think of the name or how to describe better). I think hey make them with smaller pegs for older children - the ones for babies have a larger knob.
I bought ds a maze book, which was highly motivating for him. He didn't like to write or color or do playdoh...but he liked to do the mazes. Also, for non-Montessori stuff, Scratch Magic is fun activity that you hold a stylus to trace stencils or just create his own "drawings." Using playdoh can help develop the strength. Also, look for something called Brain Food (it's stiff like OT's Theraputty) - you can hide tiny pegs inside there. My ds's OT does that with the pegs to a travel Lite Brite, and then he can make a design on there when he finds them. The Lite Brite is another good one, because of the manipulation of small pieces. Magnetic mazes are also good.