While many of you may only have a few weeks of school left, my kinder friends will be with me until the second week of June so I am still toying with the idea of whether I will be adding another set of Fine Motor Morning Work Stations to my arsenal or whether I will maybe just let them pick their favorites and have them revisit them for the last 2 weeks of school.
Until then though, it’s May and time to change over stations for a new month of fine motor work. I’m working into the wee hours of the late night to get this done so I can say I had them to you by May 1st. I know it’s barely April 30th (I think it’s like 11:36pm right now-which will explain any weird typos or funky grammar.) . . . but still . . . I made it, right?
I can’t tell you what a difference it has made this year having my students using these activities each morning. Not only has it strengthen their hand muscles and prepared then to be excellent writers, but it has been a welcome routine. Students hurry into class to collect their drawer for the morning, and the activities are such that they are working with other children, engaged and conversing. I just think they really need those precious moments in the morning to get their ‘school mind’ going and this is a non-stressful, fun way to do it.
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As with all my Fine Motor posts, just click on the pictures to get more information about where you can secure supplies and make sure you travel all the way to the end of the post to grab your free printables.
THE SET UP
I know most of you have probably seen my ‘set up’ post, but it never fails that each month I have at least one new reader that misses it. So if you haven’t seen the first of this series of posts where I introduce the method to all my morning madness, please check it out. I have a very extensive post that outlines how I decided to start using morning work stations for fine motor, how I set up my stations, what I use to house my stations and how my students can independently grab them and go. Please HERE to see how I do it. I also have posted my plans for each month from September through this month, April. You can see all the past posts by clicking HERE if you’d like to catch up.
STATIONS ONE: BUTTERFLY AND LADYBUG LEGOS
I couldn’t go a month without something Lego, so this month since we are all about bugs and flowers and gardens, I have students choosing to create either a butterfly or a ladybug.
What you’re going to need for this station:
- Lots of colorful Lego pieces
- Lego building mats (I use two like the blue one in this picture.)
- Picture of a completed butterfly or ladybug made from Legos.
I find that it is easiest for me to have a picture of the bugs I made either included in the drawer, or I project the image up on my Smartboard. It is definitely one of the my most favorite stations for morning work. I think my students might enjoy it slightly more than I do — but not by much.
STATION TWO: POKEY PIN BUMBLEBEES AND FLOWERS
Keeping some activities consistent from month to month makes management that much more easy. Students are familiar with pokey pin activities. They know to take the drawer to the floor, pull out the pin and a pokey pin sheet and start poking the image.
What you’ll need for this stations:
- Pokey Pin Sheets from Mrs. Miner’s Monkey Business
- An eraser and push pin for each student (I only have 2 students at a station, so I use 2.)
- Colorful Astrobrights paper
Copy off your pokey pin sheets and staple them to some colorful paper. Prep is really that easy.
We have been doing these since September and they never get tired of taking the top sheet off and seeing their image after all that poking. Mrs. Miner had another great set of images to choose from this month, so if you’d like to check it out for your own classroom, the link is HERE.
STATION THREE: BUG JAR MATH
Kindergarten teachers have had to get pretty creative in their quest to incorporate any kind of art or crafts into their curriculum. Luckily, my administration is wonderful about seeing the value of using creative mediums in the classroom. I understand that not every class is so lucky. So this month, I thought, for those of you who have kinder friends that have Artistic Multiple Intelligence tendency, I thought I would add a little bug making.
What you’ll need for this activity:
- Bug Jar Math (This little booklet is included in the free printable at the end of the post.)
- Washable finger print stamps
- Black marker or pencil.
Your students will use the finger print stamps to make bugs in their jar that represent the equation on the page. So simple and fun! I think they’ll love it. What do think?
STATION FOUR: MISSING ADDEND BUGS
I really wanted to do another sticker activity this month, but, I have to tell you, I couldn’t find any reasonably price bug stickers anywhere. Stickers seriously are such a perfect fine motor tool. But then I remembered that we have been working on missing addends in math stations. My kinders are LOVING working on this skill because of this little activity.
You can find this in my Buggy For Spring Math Stations Galore packet. Basically, students use these little black stones to complete the missing addend equation on the self-correcting card. Self-correcting cards, by the way, are THE BEST because they give my students instant feedback and make math stations super independent.
So when I remembered how much my students liked this activity and how well they were mastering the skill, I thought I would make up a little booklet that basically would allow them to do the same kind of thing but with little black stickers.
What you will need for this activity:
- Small black dot stickers
- Missing Addend Bugs booklets (You’ll find these in the freebie at the end of this post.)
- Colored pencils or markers for coloring your bugs after. (optional)
So I made a couple of different levels of these booklets so that it would be appropriate for whatever level of readiness your students may be at right now. You just need to select the sheets you’d like print, cut across the middle to make two sets of books and then cut down the center.
Instead of using stones, students simply use the dots to make the equation on the ladybug and complete the equation below.
STATION FIVE: GREATER/LESS THAN BUGS
Whenever I can combine sensory and find motor, I’m a happy teacher. This station does just that.
What you’re going to need:
- Small shoe box size plastic tote or a little larger
- A variety of small plastic insects
- Sensory filler such as this dyed rice
- Spinner card (I have included one in the download of freebies at the end of this post.)
- CD case and Transparent spinner
- Bug box. This is optional but I had these from the Dollar Tree from a few years ago and knew my kinders would go nuts for them.
You will prep this activity by writing numbers on the bottom of each bug. I just used a Sharpie to do this, and it worked great.
Students take turns using tongs to select and insect. They then identify the number on the belly of the bug. One player spins the spinner to determine if the number that is greater or less wins. Players who have the winning number collect both bugs and place them in the bug box. The player with the most bugs at the end of the game is the winner.
STATION SIX: BUGGY FOR NUMBERS SPIN AND COLOR
I like to have a spinner activity included each month and ran out of space last month so I was determined to make room for spin and color in May.
I love spinner activities because of the ease with which I can differentiate. Students just use a different spinner and the activity is perfect for them. I still have a few students struggling with teen numbers, we have been hitting tens and ones hard lately and I wanted to give those students struggling with subtraction some extra practice as well. I knew that my May Math Spinner Activities Galore addressed all those skills and more.
What you’ll need for this activity:
STATION SEVEN: LOCKS AND KEYS
Another sensory meets fine motor station for the win. My kinders ADORE these locks and keys, and I love that I can change up my skills each month.
And hey, guess what? I saw someone using these editable plastic colored key fobs, and I knew I had to have them. Not only are they easier to label, but with different colored keys, you can totally differentiate this activity.
What you need for this activity:
- Smallish tote with low sides
- Polypropylene pellets
- Fun seasonal erasers (Thanks Target) or wooden bug beads.
- Keys and Locks (If you buy a ‘lot’ of keys, all the keys will open up all the locks. You either need to buy the locks individually or in a set of different sized locks like THIS.)
- Colored plastic key fobs
My students search the sensory tub using tongs to secure locks and keys and then, using their math skills, work to match up all the keys to their appropriate lock.
STATION EIGHT: BUGGY FOR SNAP CUBES
Simply Kinder has these wonderful sets that get your students building and using those fine motor muscles each month. This month I’m lucky she included some bugs. This is such an easy station to set up and, because your students have done it before, they will be completely independent.
What you need:
STATION NINE: THERAPY PUTTY BUTTERFLIES
It’s no secret how I feel about therapy putty and luckily, my students never tire of searching for treasures in this fabulous stuff.
While I’m sure you could probably use Silly Putty or Play-doh, nothing works better for me than the real thing and mine have lasted all year long.
Here’s what you’re going to need for this stations (click on the items to find the links):
- Therapy Putty
- Small Acrylic Butterfly Beads
- Response sheet (You’ll find this included in the freebies at the end of this post.)
Students select a container of putty (I have 3 available for them.), then remove the putty and search for butterflies. As they find the butterflies, they will graph them and then record how many of each color they found.
STATION TEN: ADDITION IN A BUG JAR
I’m so loving my little bumblebee and ladybug bug jars!
So you know how I like to have some hands on addition activities and I have used eggs and hearts and other fun little ‘holders’ in the past. Well this month, I make up some little bug jars. I have two different sets so that I can differentiate these. My ladybugs are for addition to 5 and the bumblebees are for addition to 10.
What you’re going to need for this activity:
- 20 small plastic jars
- butterfly erasers (I got mine from Target)
- bumblebee erasers (These are from Amazon.)
- Google eyes
- Paint or paint pens to make jars
- Response sheet (Included in the freebie at the end of this post.)
Working with these small manipulatives is a great fine motor activity on its own, but when I add the jars and the motion of opening and closing these . . . well that’s like a little frosting on your fine motor cake.
Students open their jar, note the number on the bottom, sort out the bee and butterfly erasers and complete the corresponding equation.
So cute and easy!
STATION ELEVEN: GEL BEADS ROLL AND FILL
So I asked my students if they were sick of gel beads. I mean, I’ve been using them for several months now, and I just thought that they may be like ‘meh, we don’t really want them anymore.’ But I had the opposite reaction from them. They absolutely love using these slippery little devils and the giggling and engagement of the station never gets old.
What you will need for this activity:
- Colorful (I used purple) water gel beads
- Small shoe box sized plastic tote
- Cookie cutters
- Dice of you choice. (I have several. This one I programmed with addition questions, but I have double dice, plus/minus, and many different ones that I use depending on who is at that station.)
- Light table (optional)
Students roll the dice, solve the problem and that’s how many little gel balls they get to put in their cookie cutter. The rule is, you have to pick them up one at a time. This really works those pincher muscles. The student who fills their cookie cutter first is the winner.
If you really want to make it even more engaging, place this center on a light table. WOW! The colors are gorgeous.
STATION TWELVE: BEADED BUTTERFLIES-JUST FOR FUN
Because somethings are just for fun, I found these cute beaded butterflies on Pinterest at indietutes and knew that I had to make them with my friends.
It looks more difficult than it is, trust me. You simply have your students two patterned beaded pipe cleaners, twist them into wings and secure them with a clothes pin. I added two little eyes for fun. You can check out the original post from indietutes here.
What you need for this activity:
- A variety of colorful pony beads
- Pipe cleaners
- Google eyes
- Clothes pins (I had a bunch that I had dyed/painted from before.)
And that is a wrap for May’s Fine Motor Morning Work Stations. I hope you were able to grab some ideas to use in your own classroom. If you would like to make use of some of the free printables I mentioned above, please complete the form below. This is the only way to get the file. Make sure you use a generic (gmail, hotmail, yahoo . . .) email address. Sometimes, school addresses block files like the one I will be sending you. You can also check your SPAM file if you don’t see the file sent to your inbox in a timely manner.