Simple ways to increase classroom play
Skills that should be "simple" have slowly become lost in the shuffle of technology. As teachers, it's important to incorporate activities in your classroom that allow students to work on their grasp and grip. Susie, one of our Curriculum & Instruction team members, is here to give you some quick ideas!
Hi, I'm Susanne with Learners Edge.
More and more, teachers are discovering that many of their students are coming to school lacking the ability to hold a crayon, use a scissors, or to hold their paper when they are coloring. Young children learn by doing, and that means playing, as this is where children learn how to manipulate their environment, and where their fine motor skills are developed.
Researchers recognize a loss of play leads to a lack of strength and coordination. Technology is also affecting the fine motor development of our students. As young children spend more time swiping on iPads and smartphones, they're spending less time developing hand strength and their fine motor skills, which means coming to school without the ability to grip crayons or to use scissors or to coordinate how to hold their papers when writing or coloring. As a result, students become frustrated at their inability, and teachers find themselves sending more and more students to occupational therapy, or having to teach or even reteach these basic skills.
What can you do to ensure your students are gaining strength in these abilities? First, be sure they're playing. Next, be sure they're participating in fine motor activities, such as those you see here. Each of these activities helps to strengthen a child's grasp, and helps to increase their fine motor capabilities:
- Picking up cotton balls using tongs
- Filling syringes with water
- Cutting paper with scissors
- Sorting marbles into a muffin tin
- Putting pipe cleaners inside straws
- Putting rubber bands around cans
- Clipping with clothes pins
For more information on this topic view our on demand webinar called Press Play: Getting Play Back in the Classroom.
In addition, check out our Continuing Education course relating to this topic: Course 5057: Move, Grow, Play! Using Play to Teach and Learn.
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