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2 min read

There's SO much focus in Montessori on development of the hand.

Many of the activities and materials in the classroom are designed to strengthen the hand, pincer grasp, and hand eye coordination.

If you've been on the email list long enough, you're probably thinking - ENOUGH TALK ABOUT THE HANDS!

I get it. It seems like an odd educational focus.But the hands are so important because they're the gateway to independence (dressing, eating, etc), reading/writing, play, gross motor skills, art, the list goes on.If you do only one thing to prepare your child before they enter kindergarten or Casa, give them ample opportunity to strengthen their hands.It will allow them to open their backpack, zip up their coat, hold a pencil, cut with scissors, and even wipe themselves properly after using the toilet.

There are lots of ways to do this but here's a few that Montessorians tend to focus on:
  • Giving infants and toddlers the opportunity to explore and manipulate many different objects with their hands - big, small, soft and squishy, hard, round, etc.
  • Invite children to participate in practical life activities around the house - food prep, self-dressing, and cleaning activities are all great for this.
  • Transfer activities - let them transfer with their hands, scoop, pour, use tongs, etc. In my opinion, these are the best activities for strengthening the hands. Sensory bins are also a fun way to practice pouring and scooping. If you're new to them, check out our sensory bin guide here. We also just added a Sensory Table to the site here.
  • Play dough - such a fantastic way to develop hand strength and creativity with almost unlimited play possibilities. You can find our homemade play dough recipe here. You can make it with your child as a fun way to combine practical life and play.

NEW Free Printable Play Dough Mats

This week, we've got new, fall play dough mats if you're looking for a fun way to use play dough.

You can download them here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0536/5530/6394/files/3_Fall_Playdough_Placemats.pdf

The pumpkin can be used to make a Jack-O-Lantern face. There's also shapes along the side that can be used as template for making shapes to use on the face.The bare tree is great for adding some colourful fall leaves - orange, yellow, red, and a bit of green, or whatever your child envisions.The tree mat is great because, as the child works on the small leaves, they'll need to pinch off small pieces of play dough. This is a great pre-writing activity.

Lastly, the spider mat can be use to make spiders. Practice counting the legs to develop numeracy skills.

And aside from all that wonderful learning and development of the hand, they're just fun to use.

Note that these work well and last much longer if you laminate them or cover them in Con-Tact paper.