Today I am going to tell you about a great way to practice the alphabet and kids' names, while also strengthening fine motor skills! We've been calling it Push Pin Letters or Push Pin Names, and my kids really LOVE it! It keeps them happily busy, and I'm very happy to say that we have not had ONE SINGLE PROBLEM with children poking, stabbing, or hurting each other with the pins!
I originally saw this idea on Pinterest- (of course, where else? LOL!) But I really wondered if young children would be able to handle using push pins independently without stabbing each other when my back was turned. I tell you truth- I only went over the rules regarding the push pins just ONCE on the first day we used them, and we have used them three times so far.
It's TRUE! We've had no problems with the push pins! And I want to point out that I have 15 boys and only seven girls! So, we are an active, happy, little group of TKs (Transitional Kindergartners!) Out of my 22 little ones, only four of them have turned five! So I have 18 four year olds. Just thinking about that makes me giggle a little. LOL! And no- I do not have an aide, but the PM teacher helps me for two hours per day, just as I help the PM class for two hours per day. And I have volunteers. Yeah!!
I have been searching for ideas to help improve the pincher grasp that children need to use when they hold a pencil, and this push pin activity came up. That is how I found this Push Pin Set for $5 on the PlayAtHomeMom blog! The set has letters, numbers, shapes, color matching, and a blank page with just circles for kids to just be creative and make something new! Now, just to be fair, I think that you can find similar things free of charge, but I do not regret purchasing this set because I really like it!
We discovered that it is a little more efficient for us to cut the letters apart and give the children just ONE letter at a time. Otherwise, when our rotation was over and it was time to switch to a new activity, it just took way too long for them to remove so many pins! So we solved that problem by giving them just one letter at a time and having them remove the pins before beginning a new one. It worked!
After that, I really wanted to give them more practice on their names, but I knew that they would not be able to complete so many push pin letters in just a ten minute rotation (unless they had an unusually short name, ha ha!) So I found a FREE font with some dots on it from http://KimberlyGeswein.com, called Janda Scrapgirl Dots!
I put it into a Word doc, typed the children's names into it and then made it bold, with no fill. I spread the letters out a bit by googling how to do that and following the directions. ;)
So for the names activity, I printed the names out on white cardstock and cut them apart. The children just traced the names with colored markers first, and then put the push pins into the little dots on the font!
It's interesting watching the children work to push the pins into the corkboard! Some of them have the pincher grasp all figured out, but others are still working on it. A few of them keep flattening their hands to push the pins down into the letters! But little by little, I'm seeing them use the pincher grasp more and more. Hooray!
I purchased the pretty purple, pink, and aqua push pins at my local Staples! They were packaged like the ones here, but are not that color, and only cost $4.99 rather than $5.99.
I purchased the corkboard squares at WidgetCo.com, because those were the highest rated, lowest priced ones that I could find anywhere, including Amazon. Nobody has pushed a pin all of the way through the corkboard at all, so I do recommend getting the half inch thickness! Mine are twelve inch squares. I purchased six of them, and it was $28.09 plus $3.95 shipping, for a grand total of $32.04! HOWEVER, I have heard that you can also use the carpet instead of corkboards. I just didn't want to do that with my little ones, because I was afraid I would have push pins all over the carpet here and there. :0
Watch this video! Make sure your sound is up! Their little voices are SO CUTE!!
Want more ideas to help develop those Fine Motor Skills? Check out my Pinterest Fine Motor Skills Board!
And of course my Sight Word DVDs! :)
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