Friday, March 22, 2013

50th Edition of Fine Motor leads to Fine Arts!

photo of: 50 Editions of Fine Motor Meets Fine Arts at RainbowsWithinReach

50th Edition of Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts

Welcome to my GOLDEN Edition of all things fine motor! 
What a blogging milestone. Let's begin our walk down memory lane and take a look at some of my favorite ideas, images, links and inspiration from my 50 installments on Fine Motor Development and its integral role in Fine Arts. 

This whole series was launched as an invitation from Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool fame who sponsored a link-up on all things Fine Motor. Here's my initial response to her prompt -- the article that launched the ongoing series! I will share several of those images as we launch today. 

This first one is a collage of photos that were hanging on the family bulletin board of an ECE (early childhood education) center on our US Army base in Italy. A very special spot in my heart from my tour there to sing with the children of our troops. 

Utterly brilliant in every way, the bulletin board documents the progression of fine motor development using actual children's artwork from through out the center. What a great way to launch a fifty part series. RIGHT? Educate parents on what is to be expected. 

In that first article I share seeing children at PreSchool in Tibedaux, Louisiana arriving to school and signing in for the day. 

And this is still one of my favorite 'golden-oldie' ideas for strengthening those muscles, because I saw how much fun it was bringing to this child. 

In the second article in the series I share this image of corn meal on a tray as a place for fingers to explore and develop. Notice the alphabet cards available on the table if the child is interested in creating letter shapes... they are handy-dandy motivation to prompt an attempt at replication, but no pressure to do so. 

Already in that second article I have photo documentation of a second preschool's sign-in system for once the children arrive at school. Lists of names are written in 'dots' upon lines and the child must find 'their' name and trace over it to sign-in. 

Edition number three features a third writing center, this one in a Florida preschool. Several things that I LUV LUV LUV about this writing center. 
  1. It's suitable for two friends to work side-by-side 
  2. It's stocked full of ALL sorts of materials to self-select 
  3. The materials have bins and caddies for encourage clean-up
  4. It "looks like" a desk -- as in 'go-to-work' 
  5. There are laminated sheets of the alphabet handy
  6. There is a set of the students names written out and attached to a circle clip!

Styrofoam base and Paper Umbrellas work Fingers with Fun! 

A Sensory Experience without Getting Messy: Manipulate the Glitter Gel 
In the fourth installment I share a continuum of children's drawings within the same classroom. Teachers are always challenged to reach each child where they are and to differentiate instruction for each. This collage shows just how wide the diversity in one room can be.

"Moon Sand" for Friends to Play with Together

Is there anything more meaningful that a handwritten card?

Article number 5 includes a photograph with the reminder that GROSS motor development must proceed fine motor development. There are also some 'classic' organizational picture for fine motor materials. 

Edition #6 is another FAVORITE, because it is my RAINBOW EDITION!  If you're looking for rainbows, then that's the place to start!! Here's a favorite fine motor collage that greeted me in Weston for my arrival at their elementary school for an author-illustrator visit. Think of all of the fine motor needed to cut out those bazillion handprints to create the incredible collaborative rainbow welcome! 

It was that morning that I received my own personally painted rainbow and I tell the VERY moving story of what happened that day, in this article. If you ever need a 'teacher-pick-me-up' you owe it to yourself to pop over there to see what happened..... following this big, bright smile. 

Here's the SWEETIE who Painted for Me! 

Edition #7 included some more 'organize-your-materials' images that I know are always popular with readers here.

photo of: M is for Mosaic Bulletin Board for Name Recognition (from Bulletin Board RounUP via RainbowsWithinReach)
M is for Mosaic: Fine Motor Friday #7

For installment number 8 I used quite a few family photos of my WonderPeeps. The twins were staying with us this time a year ago. I had a package of those precut foam rectangles that you can get in the store and they had a ball building me a 'quilt' that led to all sorts of fine motor fun.... getting things organized and later to matching toys to their proper colors. 

young children design with color, foam cards, twins
Twinzees Make a Quilt Together: Fine Motor FUN! 
I felt I needed to get WonderBoy in the article as well, as we were all missing him and so I dug back into some ancient files to find him in the midst of fine motor fun. 

preschool boy, fine motor, markers, drawing, puzzle, color

Article number 9 has some awesome symmetrical creatures which fit oh-so-nicely in the Fine Arts side of our equation. These were created in the traditional 'blotto' method of folding the paper in half and applying UBBER bright paints on one side of the page. RUB them together and VOILA! Never gets old!! Classic!!!

Symmetry, children's painting, bright colors, spring art, bulletin board

Handwriting, Literacy, Early Literacy, writing, school, kindergarten

By the time we get to the 10th issue in the series, I really am thinking about FINE Arts and in this case Mondrian specifically. This original art is from WonderBoy's kindergarten experience. Mondrian's work is so suitable for early fingers to explore! This example features construction paper in a collage of sorts, but in the article you'll see crayon adaptation examples as well. 
photo of: Fine Arts for Children, Mondrian, fine motor, preschool, kindergarten, Head Start, bulletin board
Mondrian Kinder-Project 

photo of: Handwriting benefits, fine motor development in children, early literacy

If you want some inspiration for SHAPES and GEOMETRY then go directly to installment #11 and do not pass GO! Yes. There's everything from LOTS of simple circles -- that resemble polka-dots -- all the way to more complex presentation for trapezoids. Everything in between, too! 

geometry for children, geometry in early childhood, shapes in art paintings

My first major attempt to create a Montessori-inspired Fine Motor Tray is housed in Installment #12.

Montessori-like Fine Motor Trays 
There's a cute little hand-written rhyme for spring, originally in that article.
photo of: Kindergarten spring rhyme, frog rhyme, bird rhyme, handwriting
Handwritten Spring Time Rhyme

You know my lucky number is 13 right? TRUE. Well my 13th episode was the first really big winner to attract viewers. It's the Mother's Day edition and has several rhymes for mother's day, but the images that acted as bait from Pinterest are these photos that I took at WonderBoy's Kindergarten during my author-illustrator school visit there. 
photo of: Kindergarten writing center using student names, Kindergarten fine motor
Kindergarten Writing Station: Photographs of Friends + Their Names

photo of: Kindergarten writing center, fine motor in kindergarten, writing in kindergarten

In addition to all of the Mother's Day rhymes and fun there was another handwritten anchor chart for spring. No wonder that article has had so many page views in a year's time. I won't make you click through, here ya go! 

photo of: Anchor chart for spring, spring poem for kindergarten, spring time poem for children
Spring Time Anchor Chart
Now I seem to be digressing, but in order to save you a click -- I'll put a third, too cute handwritten anchor chart for spring right here where it will be useful. It's from Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts #14. Which tune would you use to sing the lyrics? 

Handwritten Caterpillar Song for Spring

The 15th installment is a classic, because that's where I added these two 'sign-in systems' to the previous four outlined above. I had a GREAT pin for the article and oodles of people found their way over to see what all the fuss was about! 

photo of: Preschool fine motor development, Sign-in system
Sign-in System on the Dry Erase Board in Preschool for Children with Special Needs

photo of: Clipboard Sign in System for Morning check-in, Preschool
Clip-board Sign-in System 
I know you LUV looking over my shoulder at the excellence-in-education that I see on my school visits. Here's another great writing center, this is from one of the classrooms at Sutter Park in Worthington. 

photo of: Writing Center for Fine Motor Development
Preschool Writing Center 

This writing center image is from Part 16 of the series.  Also featured in the article is the friendship quilt that I had earlier this week in my ENCYCLOPEDIC RoundUP of Quilts in the Classroom

photo of: Quilts in the Classroom: Art Meets Geometry RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach
Add caption

Humdinger. HUMDINGER I tell you! Fine Motor Issue #17 is one of my first RoundUPs.... in this one I have found a TON of handwritten Rules and Reminders from classrooms around the country.  Honest-to-goodness some stellar examples. I'm not sure this image does it justice. You'll have to trust me, its worth clicking through to see for yourself! 

Handwritten Class Rules
Fine Motor 18 has a ton of images from my day at St. Paul Westerville, including the bulletin board they made for my picture book, "You're Wonderful." I have always been fascinated by gears. Seeing all those hands and fingers at work to build collaborative gear project had me giggle-with-glee! 

photo of: Fine Motor Extravaganza in Kindergarten, Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts
Fine Motor Extravaganza
Spring has returned again in the time its taken to create 50 Fine Motor articles. Episode #19 is a perfect one for right now, as it is all things BUTTERFLY! I'm especially fond of this collage I created using children's art on display at Scioto Darby Elementary during their spring art show. 

photo of: Helen Keller quotation with first grade tissue paper illustrations for caterpillar and butterfly
Helen Keller's Life is Such an Inspiration + I Collect her Quotes! 

From the butterfly edition above the following week featured the theme of all things INSECT related and there's a great Anchor Chart with Insect Song included. That's all in Part 20.

photo of: Preschool Labeled Drawings of Spring Creatures
Insect Drawings by Preschoolers, Complete with Labels 

Since I'm the author of the picture book, "Tall Giraffe" I always have my eyes open for giraffe projects. There have been numerous schools respond to my book and create art projects in anticipation of my arrival. Those giraffes are the focus in Part 21 of the series. 

photo of: G is for Giraffe, Art Projects from Preschool to 1st grade focused on Giraffe Theme
G is for Giraffe!! Giraffe RoundUP 
The 22nd Installment fell on Friday the 13th and I used that date as something of a mini overview. I think I've already shared its best bits up above. 

The 23rd Part of the series features a class book of buildings in the neighborhood. LUV LUV LUV it! There are also some AWESOME images of 'materials' to explore in the Fine Arts sense. 

photo of: Preschool "Class Book" Where I like to Visit in the Neighborhood

SPECIAL NEEDS, Part 24. Last summer I participated in my first Blog Carnival and the topic was children with special needs. This is an issue very near and dear to my heart. I have an awesome array of suggestions in the article. This bulletin board of another 'Sign-in System' is from my two day residency at Sutter Park. Go to the article to learn more. 

photo of: Fine Motor Development System for Children with Special Needs

I continued on that theme of activities for children with special needs in the 25th installment and featured a class book created in Cleveland under the famed Ms. Eddie's direction. She was famous for these class books -- and made certain that each of her students received a copy to take home. She is now retired and spends  some of her year in sunny FL and we still get to go to lunch on occasion. 

photo of: Fine Motor Development in Young Children: "What I Like to Do with My Friend" Class Book
Class Book in Preschool: "What I Like to Do with my Friends" 

You'll LUV installment 26 if you like to create your art work in three dimensions -- or if you need some inspiration to do so. Many of the images featured are from the new ECE program at Concordia University in the Chicago-land area. 

photo of: Sculpture Fun: Exploring Three Dimensions in Found Objects, Repurposed with Young Children (via RainbowsWIthinReach)
Three Dimensional Fine Arts from Fine Motor Work 

There are Fine Arts projects in Part 27 it's relatively short by comparison to its peers. 

On the other hand, Part 28, THE FLAG EDITION, is HUGE! 

photo of: Collage of Patriotic Art Projects by Young Children in preschool and kindergarten

Part 29 is subtitled, The Wheels Edition and is filled with LOTS of ideas that include wheels and things that go. It is also something of a back-to-school issue and features this kindergarten writing center. Many of the images in this issue are from my WI friends. 

photo of: Kindergarten Writing Center

photo of: Fine Motor First Name Work

photo of: Water Color Paint Station at School: Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts

Episode 30 is actually a BLOGGER'S RoundUP of ALL sorts of Monster ideas from my KBN (Kid Blogger Network) of cyber-friends. I worked a l-o-n-g time on that one in honor of the release of my "Monster Spray" to the digital format, available for immediate purchase at TeachersPayTeachers and now at our own Early Education Emporium as well! 

photo of: Overcoming Childhood Fears: Monsters thru Art, Fine Motor, Math and Science (Math RoundUP from RainbowsWithinReach)
Monster RoundUP from KBN Bloggin Buddies
Often I am taking a look at the development of Fine Motor skills through the eyes of the little ones. Every now and then I am fortunate to be able to look at the work of mature students. Issue #31 featured the graphic designs and thank you notes of mature third graders in response to my picture book, "You're Wonderful." THEY ARE WONDERFUL! 

We returned to the theme of Monsters and focused on Puppet Making with Upcycled Materials for Issue #32. I thought this was a seriously cute idea and it had relatively few readers..... so I'm happy to spotlight it again. 
photo of: UpCycled DIY Monster Puppet via RainbowsWithinReach
DIY Monster Puppet from UPcycled Materials 

After all of those monsters it was time for a field trip to the farm. Issue #33 is all things FARM. 
photo of: Farm Fun: Fine Motor + Motif in the Preschool Classroom via RainbowsWithinReach
FARM: Fine Motor on the FARM!

Then it was back to the beloved theme one last time for MONSTERS and all things FALL in Part #34. We were out in Colorado at that point in this epic-cycle. This golf tee into pumpkin idea was in the preschool classroom of our RockyMountainWonderChild. Pin it now, so that you remember it during harvest season. 

photo of: Pumpkin Pounding: Fine Motor Development (via RainbowsWithinReach)

LUV LUV LUV these paintings created with MARSHMALLOW Paintbrushes in Part # 35.  That one went to press while I was at NAEYC and so it features some photos of dear friends. I LUV presenting there and meeting folks from around the world! 
photo of: Marshmallow Painting via RainbowsWithinReach
Marshmallows as Paint Brushes
Issue #36 features a GI-GUN-DO thank you quilt from the Colorado Kinders I visited while there. 

photo of: Quilted Thank You for Author Visit via RainbowsWithinReach

Of course I have a TON of favorite articles that I've written over the last 4.5 years. This one for Part #37 is a tongue-in-cheek look at the differences between boys and girls when it comes to Fine Motor. These two examples of TURKEY work are from my very own WonderTwinzees..... so I'm allowed to have a little fun. You deserve a giggle. Pop over to read my insight. 
photo of: Fine Motor Development: Girls vs. Boys via RainbowsWithinReach
My Attempt at Humor: The Differences Between Boys + Girls in Fine Motor

I absolutely LUV LUV LUV this gift idea in Installment #38. These would make perfect end-of-the-year gifts to give your students and their families. 
How cute is this idea for an end-of-the-year gift? 
Issue #39 arrived right before the holidays and featured letters to Santa and several other Christmas goodies: from cookie decorating and 'sticker fun' to an idea that wins an award due to its simplicity. Everybody's got paper plates. Everybody can use this idea for Fine Motor Fun during the holidays. Pin it now! 

photo of: Making a Christmas Tree from Paper Plates via RainbowsWithinReach
SUPER SIMPLE Paper Plate Christmas 'Tree Sculpture'

Installment #40 was another RoundUP, this time on all things Foldable + PopUP! 
photo of: Foldables, Graphic Organizers + PopUps (RoundUP via RainbowsWithinReach)
All Things "Foldable" (Graphic Organizers) 
ISSUE #41 is a BLOCK-BUSTER on ALL THINGS PENGUIN! This is just one example of the you've gotta be kidding me, how cute are those penguins! I also am a BIG fan of the little penguins-frozen-in-ice that I got to see up close and personal. 

photo of: Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts: Penguin RoundUP RainbowsWithinReach
Penguin Craft Project: Cute for Valentine's Day! 

January also featured a SNOWFLAKE RoundUP for Issue #42. You know you'll need it next year!

photo of: Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts, Part 42: The Snowflake Edition at RainbowsWithinReach
Snowflake Edition of Fine Motor Friday

Yes. I have a LOT of favorite articles, but this one on all things PARQUETRY, as Number 43 is certainly in the top 10 of these 50. Oh how I wish there were more readers for this particular article. The featured art below is from my day in Friendswood, Texas, making my Author-Lady visit there. 

Symmetry in Parquetry Blocks 
Admittedly, Article #44 and my many Photo Writing Promps, is no doubt for a more mature audience than my typical readers. They could be used with the littles to start conversations, but are designed for creative writing exercise with early elementary school students in mind. Gives me something to do with all of these photos that I take on my adventures. 

Writing Prompts from Photographs
The 45th Issue came out right around Valentine's Day and it is the Friends + Fun edition I was totally in LUV with this team-work, cooperation idea and relatively fewer people happened upon it. Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest -- so I'm always grateful for your pin.

photo of: Valentine's Day Friendship Paintings via RainbowsWithinReach
Collaborative Teamwork Project for Valentine's Day and Friendship Celebration

With Issue #46 I took a look at WINTER ideas and had the great-good-fortune to document these 'igloos' under construction using marshmallows and a styrofoam base. Pretty awesome! There are lots of snowmen ideas in that one! 

photo of: Preschool Winter Project: Igloo with Marshmallows via RainbowsWithinReach (Fine Motor Friday #46)
Making an Igloo from Marshmallows

Issue #47 was built literally while I was On-the-Road and goes from early 'mark-making' to quite involved 'map-making' and you'll have to come to the original article to see the transformation take place! Here's where the mature students end up.


When you need some Shamrock Inspiration and those proverbial Rainbows, they are housed together in Installment #48

photo of: Shamrocks + Rainbows at RainbowsWithinReach
Shamrocks and Rainbows Edition of Fine Motor Friday

And just last week was the TRAIN EDITION #49. It's deserving of lots more readers than have found it so far. There's a seriously too clever writing/story-telling project that I know you'll want to see! 

photo of: Preschool Trains and Shape Recognition via RainbowsWithinReach
Issue #49: The TRAIN EDITION 
So what's all this fascination with Fine Motor, you wonder? I am a former elementary Art school teacher -- morphed into a Music Lady, who then has transformed into a picture book author + illustrator. I LUV LUV LUV children's art and hope that they love mine! 

"Debbie's Ditties 6: The Handwriting Mix" 
I have been commissioned by Zaner-Bloser, the premiere authority on all things FINE MOTOR, a company with over 100 years of experience on the topic, to create a recording of songs and dances that motivate and inspire fingers for the fine motor work ahead. So, yes. I guess you can say that I have a vested interest in supporting Fine Motor. You can always get any of my materials directly from me, on my website.  I have recently uploaded the opportunity to purchase the CD at Teachers Pay Teachers, if you're already shopping there. 

Speaking of Teachers Pay Teachers, the first digital product that I created for instant download, has a TON of fine motor work included with the Mp3 of my song, "Pollywog" which would be perfect for spring time science and metamorphosis! I have just created power-point slides for the song and will need to upload those into the existing zipped file there -- just as soon as I can figure out how to embed the song directly into the ppp. MORE technology: my favorite! 

photo of: Tadpole to Frog Metamorphosis through Song and Fine Motor Supplemental Pages (from RainbowsWIthinReach)

Have you gathered that I'm PROUD of my Pinterest Princess status? I now have 109,308 followers there. My board with the largest number of followers is my collaborative Pinterest board dedicated to all things "Writing + Fine Motor."  There are over 1,600 pins under this category already awaiting your exploration! 

***I've put out a call to my blogging friends to have their favorite Fine Motor article included in this encyclopedia effort. I'll start with my buddies over at the Kid Blogger Network. I was VERY late in this request and will continue to add more links as they share them. 
Buddy + Buggy: Heart Fine Motor Skill Fun 

A to Z of Play-dough Flavors at 'nurturestore' 

I hope to have additional links for you from my blogging friends in Kinderland. I will be adding more as they give me their products. 

Hope that you have a wonderful weekend!!!
Thanks for choosing your favorite social network to share! 

-- Debbie -- 

Stress-Free Sunday at Fun-A-Day!

This article has been added to: Crafty Moms Share Linky   Fun a Day


  1. What a great collection of fine motor activities and art!! Thank you for sharing!

    1. You are quite welcome. This is a topic near and dear to each of us. Thank you for contributing your inspiration!



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Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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