Here in Mrs. McGuire’s class, we have St. Patrick’s Day, leprechauns and all things green on our minds. That’s why this month’s morning work will have a bit of an Irish flavor to them. Luckily, my kinders indulge me and love all the mystery and intrigue that comes along with chasing leprechauns and pondering over their pots o’ gold. It’s sad to break down the February stations. They were such a hit, but I think that March will be a winner, too.
Depending on how long you have been following along with my morning work station posts, you may notice that some stations stay fairly familiar from month to month with some slight tweaking to address skills. I like to do this, because it helps keep activities independent. The whole point of morning work, besides giving them that oh-so-important extra fine motor practice, is to give me a few minutes that I can go through their folders quickly, collect notes, tally lunch choices and take attendance. If the stations aren’t independent, then I can’t really get any of those tasks done.
The good thing is, that because they really only go to any given station once each month, they never get tired of them. If they visit the pokey pin drawer one day, most likely, they aren’t going to see that activity again for another 3 weeks. It keeps them fun and engaging.
Please note: There are affiliate links included in this blog post.
Please remember, there is a link at the VERY BOTTOM of this post that will give you the option to collect the printable freebies I made to go along with some of these activities. You will need to click on the last picture in this post. That is the one that will get you the goods. Ok? Great! So without any more delay, let’s talk about March Fine Motor Morning Stations.
STATION ONE: MARCH POKEY PINS
Krissy Miner of Mrs. Miner’s Monkey Business has done it again. She put together another packet for March. I chose thes shamrock and rainbow themed pages for this month’s first station.
Pokey pins are super easy to prep. You just print of the page you want your kinders to ‘poke,’ staple it to a colorful piece of colored paper, (I always use my favor ASTROBRIGHTS® Papers) and supply them with a push pin. My students lay on the floor to do this. It gives them the cushion they need and it seems the most comfortable position for them just like my friend below who is completing one of February’s choices.
The hand-eye coordination needed to complete this activity makes it that much more appealing to me. I love that this is not a station that they are going to just whip through. They really need to concentrate on putting that pin in the right place to get the effect they want when they take the top page off and hold their colored sheet up to a light or window.
STATION TWO: RAINBOW WRITE IT SIGHT WORDS
I know that I’ve used sand trays for practicing sight words a couple of months ago, but when I saw this version on Nurture Store, I just knew that my kinders would love it and that it would a great tie in for March.
I basically took 6 of my favorite Astrobrights Papers (I used Venus Violet, Celestial Blue, Gamma Green, Cosmic Orange, Lift-Off Lemon, and Re-entry Red.), cut them in strips, laminated them and taped them to the bottom of these Dollar General cookie sheets. Then I took salt and some iridescent glitter and poured it on top. Students will use a pencil or their finger, which ever they prefer, to practice writing their ‘Ball Words.’
It’s pretty and FUN!!!
STATION 3: LEGO RAINBOW CHALLENGE
Little Bins for Little Hands is THE Lego whisperer. I swear, if I need a thematic activity or challenge. She absolutely never fails. I love her stuff so much, I even purchased her Unofficial Guide To Learning With Legos, because I all her Lego ideas. You really need to check it out.
Well, of course, she had just what I needed for March. This Lego challenge will have my students creating a rainbow from Legos. Of course, my boys pointed out to me that my example here is ‘backwards mom!” But I was short on a couple of colors and had to ‘borrow’ a few of my sons’ Lego pieces in order to have enough of each color for this activity. I just wish I had a set of purple ones. (Added that one to my Amazon wishlist.) If it’s anything like the other Lego challenges I’ve had for my kinders during morning work, I’m sure it will be a favorite.
STATION 4: LUCKY LOCKS
When I asked my students what was the one station they would like to see again in March that they had in February’s Morning Work Station, I heard a unanimous, ‘Locks and Keys.’ I think the lure of this station is multi-faceted. First of all, I try to make sure that I have a sensory component to it.
Yes, they are supposed to use the tongs to pick up and secure the locks and keys they find, but once they have done that, they are welcome to ‘play’ in the tub a big while they hide the keys and locks again. They love it. The other ‘fun’ and engaging aspect is the challenge of finding all those keys (There are three for every lock.) and their locks. Once they find the keys and locks, they then have to find all the mates. It’s the station that just keeps going.
In this months tub:
- poly filler pellets
- gold and green plastic coins
- green glass stones
- St. Patrick’s confetti
- 9 locks and 27 keys
This month, I placed an addition problem on the locks and then on each of the three corresponding keys, I had the matching number, another addition question and a subtraction question. Changing the skills is as easy as replacing the sticker on each lock. If you aren’t interested in working on math, pick a different skill. I promise you, this station is one they will keep asking for over and over.
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Spin and color stations never disappoint. I love that these stations are familiar to my students, and differentiating is super easy. Not all of my students are working on the same skill nor are they at the same level of difficulty. Differentiating is so simple with these stations. I have three different files that are color coded. Each poly envelope has a printable color sheet plus a spinner card.
That card can be switched in and out of a spinner case as needed. (And since someone always asks, the spinner is simply a CD jewel case with a transparent spinner hot glued to the top. You can find a selection of spinners by going HERE.)
Students simply spin, match up their number or the answer to their equation to a number on the coloring sheet, and then they color. If you’d like to see more about this activity, it is part of my March Spinner Math Station pack. You can check it out HERE.
STATION 6: EYE DROPPER RAINBOWS
Cutting Tiny Bites had this great fine motor activity using eye droppers and creating rainbows. Rainbows and St. Patrick’s Day go hand in hand. I knew I had to add this to my Morning Work Stations.
I had most of the supplies for this one, but I did have to purchase new liquid water colors. Here’s what you’ll need:
I first created the lines for my rainbow and marked the colors that needed to be used with the first letter (R-red, O-orange, Y-yellow, G-green, B-blue and P-purple). I then mixed my watercolors into water. I used quite a bit of paint to keep the colors nice and bright.
It will be important to demonstrate ahead of time how to use the eye droppers if your students don’t know. Students can’t just plop a blob of paint on the paper. The idea is to use very small, very precise drops of paint in the assigned color area.
When the paint is dry, they can erase the pencil marks and add their names to the top in Rainbow colors.
Just so you know, the drops don’t dry quickly. So you will want to be carefully transferring your paper to a drying area. You don’t want the droplets to ‘run.’ It will take a couple of hours for them to soak in and dry.
STATION 7: LUCKY NUMBER BONDS
Missing addends can be a tricky skill. I love that I’m going to be able to give my kinders some extra practice with this skill during Morning Stations. Adding ‘gold nuggets‘ and some green tongs, will give this activity an added bit of novelty to make it fun and engaging. I placed them in a little Dollar General plastic hat to make it fun and they use tongs to place them on the mat.
This is another self-correcting activity . . . I love love love when I can have a station be independent and have it give immediate feedback. This activity is just one of 15 from my St. Patrick’s Math Stations Galore packet. Students will select a playing card and place it on the playing mat. Using tongs, they will use gold nuggets, place them in the ‘bonds’ and determine how many more nuggets they need to make the indicated number.
After they complete the equation at the bottom of the mat, they can open the card to determine whether they are correct or not.
If you’d like to see more St. Patrick’s Day Math Station Activities, you can click HERE.
STATION 8: GREATER OR LESS LUCK
Yes, there are also such a thing as mini green ping-pong balls, and I have them. Ping pong balls have proven to be a class favorite. They are versatile and can be made into a bunch of great learning activities, plus when you add chopsticks or tongs, they are a fabulous fine motor skill builder.
What do you need:
- green mini ping-pong balls
- container to hold your playing pieces
- leprechaun hats (Dollar General)
- spinner card (Available at the end of this post)
- transparent spinner
- old cd jewel case
So I am bringing back this month for more GREATER/LESS than spin to win fun. I simply write numbers from 1-100 on these little balls and place them in a container. Student will use the tongs to each select a ball. They read the number on the ball and then one player spins the spinner. Spinners are made by hot gluing a transparent spinner onto the top of a CD jewel cast. Place the spinning card inside the CD jewel case.
If the spinner lands on ‘GREATER,’ then the student with the number that is great will win both balls and place them in their leprechaun hat. The first student to fill their hat is the winner.
STATION 9: LUCKY PUTTY
I am a therapy putty advocate. I love this stuff. I love hearing my students say . . . ‘this is hard,’ because I know it’s working their little fingers and building those muscles. And I simple adore when they proclaim, ‘I got ’em all.’ There is such a feeling of accomplishment when they find all the hidden treasures. It seems like a little thing, but the look of concentration on their faces when they work with this stuff is amazing.
This month, I couldn’t find any really great little plastic pieces to put in my putty. I really struggled and then I saw a plastic necklace that had both big and small plastic shamrocks on it, plus I had another necklace that had large and small plastic green balls. These would be perfect and those little party necklaces cost next to nothing when you can find them at Dollar General or Walmart.
So I cut the pieces apart and hid them in my green (that’s the medium strength) putty this month. Students will search the putty for items, collect them, sort them and them graph them on a laminated recording sheet. The free recording sheet is available to you at the bottom of this post if you can use it.
STATION 10: POTS OF GREEN AND GOLD
Little black pots help make this station engaging and fun, plus trying to pick the little coins up off the flat surface of a table top makes for a great fine motor challenge.
For this activity you will need:
- 10 tiny plastic black pots (You can also use Dollar General mini leprechaun hats if you’re in a bind. Whatever you can find that is a fun and engaging seasonal container.)
- gold plastic leprechaun coins
- green plastic leprechaun coins
- small sticker of some kind to label each pot by number
- recording sheet (available at the end of this post)
Each pot is labeled with a number. Students select a pot and remove the contents, then separate the contents and create an addition problem that reflects how many gold and green coins were found from that pot. After writing their equation and answer, the coins go back in the pot and another pot is selected until all the pots have been given an equation with an answer.
STATION 11: LUCKY HOLE PUNCH ADDITION BOOKS
In a perfect world I would have hole punches for every occasion. They are seriously one of the best and most favorite tools for fine motor that I have found. Unfortunately, a good variety is sometimes difficult to find or they can be really expensive. Luckily, I had one of these shamrock punches from years ago when I attempted to be a scrapbooker (That lasted all of about 5 minutes!) and the other was part of a hole punch pack that I purchased this fall. So I was in good shape for this Month.
Students will use the hole punches and two different color papers to represent addition problems in this Lucky Shamrocks Addition book. Of course, I had to grab up two of my favorite Astrobright Paper colors Gamma Green and Martian Green . Green is my favorite color so I always have these shades readily available in my paper stash. I cut these in to strips to make it easy to ‘punch’ the shapes out. Once there are shapes punched out, students use a bit of glue and glue the appropriate number above the equation.
Hole punching is so therapeutic . . . I swear that it always ends up being the quietest of morning stations because they concentrate so hard on punching those little shapes out.
STATION 12: LIGHT IT UP
Water beads! Do you hate them or love them? When I first brought these into class, I had a few students that were like ‘ . . . ew . . . ” But then they started playing with them and they couldn’t stop! This ended up being a station the was difficult to get them away from once they started so I said that we do it again. Their only request was for a dice that had ‘bigger’ and ‘more’ numbers.
I found this 12 sided blank one in my dice bucket (Don’t judge! You know you have one too!) and so I added a few additional positive and negative numbers on the sides to make play more challenging. My students were already accustomed to the ‘take away’ aspect of the die we used in February, so this one should be a natural transition to higher numbers.
Play is pretty simple, roll the dice and add that many water beads to your cookie cutter. If you get a negative number, that’s how many you have to take away. The first person to fill the bottom of their cookie cutter is the winner. The water beads really are beautiful on their own,
but what really takes this activity to the next level is the light table. (People always ask about my light table . . . you can find the one I have by clicking HERE!)
You have to give it a try. Next month I’m adding all the colors to do a little color blending. It should be fun so stop back then.
If you would like to have access to the free printables mentioned in this post, just click on the picture below. This is will prompt you to submit your email so that you can be added to my mailing list. You will then be sent a note to verify your subscription. Once you confirm that, the file will be downloaded to your computer. Then just check your computer’s ‘download’ file to find it. Please note, some school emails do not like to receive my packets and my block my from sending you this information so it’s probably best to try a generic gmail or yahoo account like that. Also, sometimes, the mail gets sent to your SPAM folder. So if you don’t see a note from me a few minutes after submitting your email, please check there.
I hope these will help stir some ideas for your own Fine Motor Morning Work Stations. Of course you can see all my Fine Motor Morning Word Station posts by clicking HERE. Also, if you’d like to see more St. Patrick’s Day Activities, please make sure you click HERE. And stop by later this week for a few more goodies just in time for the best holiday of the year.