Monday, September 27, 2010

Bean Shaker helps prepare future writers!

Really? Shaking dry pinto beans out of an empty parmesan cheese can helps children prepare to write?
Yep! One of the major skills children must master before they are ready to write is wrist control. They have to have enough strength to keep their wrist in the writing position, apply proper pressure on the writing utensil, and do all this while moving their wrist across the page AND holding it up off the paper. Bet you didn't remember it being that complicated, did you! :)

In preschool we work hard to get our children ready to write. One area we focus intently is upon fine motor--namely wrist control. BUT....we also want to keep our children motivated through fun.

Let me tell you, they LOVE this activity. We just fill the empty parm cheese shaker with dried beans. We teach them how to open the side with the large holes and shake the beans into a small box. This teaches the children to be precise in their wrist movements. Notice this little guy is still using two hands together. Over time he will develop stronger wrists and more control and be able to use one hand to shake the beans out.

Once the beans are all shaken out, we teach the children to open the other side--which is just an open compartment--and use their pincer grasp to put the beans back into the jar. This allows them to practice the grasp they will use to hold a pencil and sharpen their hand-eye coordination as they fit the beans into a small space.

My 2 year old toddler works on this activity (with just a small amount of beans) and we give our 3 year olds at school slightly more beans to work with.

Plus the sound the beans make when the jar is shaken--beautiful! Definitely part of the appeal.
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