There seems to be a lot of concerns about motor skill development or the lack thereof when it comes to children being school ready. Normally, I teach about motor skills and the difference between fine or small and gross or large to my students. This year I took it a step farther and had my students explore the connection to academic success and motor skills. Below, you will find the lesson and activities that I used with my students to open their eyes to the importance of motor skill development in relation to a child’s academic success.
- Play Simon Says with students as a whole class. Ideas can be found here.
- Then, play Pick-Up Sticks in small groups.
- Create a list of similarities and differences between the two activities. Which was easier? Why? Which did you prefer? Why? Why are both types of activities important?
- Pick Up Sticks Game
- iPads or Laptops
- Screen & Projector
- Assign students to explore more about fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Ask them to explain what they are and why they are important to a child’s development. Students are also to include a few examples of how the development of each can be accomplished by parents and caregivers.
- Now that they know the difference, discuss the introductory activities. Which type of motor skill development was Simon Says representing? Evidence? Which type of motor skill development was the Pick-Up Sticks game representing? Evidence?
- Optional Practice or Quiz: Sometimes, I have students participate in a SCOOT review game or quiz using the cards below. Just cut them apart, mix them up and number them. Lay them around the room and students must record whether the card is representing a fine motor or gross motor skill picture/activity. For directions, see this TPT freebie.
- Next, I have students utilize predetermined articles/clips to learn more about the connection of motor skills (especially fine) to a child’s academic success which can be found in the attachments below. I include a writing prompt for students to answer and provide them with this free TPT “Citing Evidence Graphic Organizer” to use in writing their response. This helps students practice for our state wide writing tests.
- Following this, I assign a culminating project. I use only one of the following projects but I’ve included both in the attachments below. I like both, but select the project based on the types of students I have in class.
- One of the projects is a PSA video. Students must write a script, demonstrate several motor skill activities (using ordinary household items) and persuade parents/caregivers to establish good motor skills habits, citing what can happen if they don’t.This can be a partner or individual assignment. My students use iMovie to make their PSA’s but any movie making app/platform would work. I show them the Safe Driving PSA as an example of what a modern day PSA looks like.
- The other project is an Alphabet Book of Motor Skill Activities done in groups, assigning each student certain letters of the alphabet. This is a collaborative project utilizing Google Slides. You will need to create or have your students create an alphabet template for this assignment. I preface this assignment with the following:Child Care centers are often designed with play areas and equipment to help young children develop and strengthen their fine and gross motor skills. But, what happens when the child leaves the center and goes home? The development of these motor skills should be encouraged and continued in order to help prepare children for school. This is where you come in…
- Exploring Motor Skills (PDF)
- Large Motor Skills Cards (Word)
- Using Fine Motor Skills Cards (Word)
- Motor Skills & Academic Success (PDF)
- Citing Evidence Graphic Organizer (TPT Freebie)
- Motor Skills _PSA (PDF)
- Motor Skill Activities _Alphabet Book for Young Children (PDF)
Image courtesy of Poulsen naturfoto at Free Digital Photos.