You know how we keep seeing reports about the decline in handwriting skills for kids?? Probably because they are spending too much time on electronics and not enough time actually using their hands to do things… this Valentine fine motor activity for preschoolers (or special needs kids like my daughter) is a great way to work on those precious fine motor skills that we need so desperately. Whether you believe we still need to learn cursive or not (I’m a believer), kids still need to get those fingers working to be able to have legible handwriting later on, to use scissors or to just open a jar of jelly. Grab this free printable fine motor activity below and have fun building fine motor skills while playing.
Free Printable Valentine Fine Motor Activity
We work on fine motor activities all the time with my youngest daughter. It is a full-blown miracle that she can actually use her hands (most kids with Rett Syndrome cannot), but even though she has pretty good hand function, it’s not ever something that we can take for granted.
Even if you are not dealing with a special needs child, these Valentine fine motor mats are a great low-prep fine motor activity for winter. Use them during your center time, pull them out for inside recess… I’m almost convinced that our kids will have inside recess until May…
Preschoolers or kids who are struggling with handwriting skills will benefit from these free printable winter fine motor activities!
While tripod pencil grasps are a great help to toddlers and preschoolers, their hands and attention span are not quite ready for much writing work.
The two options included in this Valentine fine motor activity pack for preschoolers will help you differentiate for the skill level your kids are at.
Use the simplified mats for toddlers (with LOTS of supervision, so they don’t eat the pom poms or stuff them up their noses… been there, done that, paid the emergency room bill…
Or use the larger mats with more writing and tracing options for kids who are ready to give a try at their handwriting skills.
Materials Needed for the Pom Pom Fine Motor Mats:
Honestly, I went to two different craft stores and I was sadly disappointed at their pom pom selection.
I mean, do they not know how amazing and wonderful pom poms are for preschoolers??!?!
Anyway, I would normally encourage shopping local, especially for those of us who are in small towns who desperately need the stores to stay open, but in this case, Amazon is definitely the place to buy your pom poms.
Not only are they LOTS cheaper than the craft store, but you will be able to get all the colors in one package instead of piecing together a bunch of packages from the craft store.
How to prep the Valentine fine motor printables:
Print and laminate the pom pom cards. Cut apart the individual fine motor mats.
Gather your 1/2″ pom poms and optional tweezers.
How to use the Valentine themed printables for preschool:
Simply place the pom poms on the matching colors on the winter fine motor mats.
While this seems like a simple activity (and it definitely is when you consider it will take about 2 minutes to prep if you have a fast laminator… I love my Fellowes laminator!!), it is not simple for preschoolers who are starting to work on the pincer grasp.
Make sure that you are supervising the activity because while most children wouldn’t, there is always a wild child in the bunch that will want to know what pom poms taste like.
Does each color have its own flavor?
Or will it fit in my nose or ears?
I love their curiosity, but…
Anyway, because this is a fine motor activity, it does require small materials and you should always supervise closely.
Says the mom who had to take her three year old to the emergency room because she shoved a piece of craft foam in her nose. *sigh*
The good news is that she has survived to age 14 with minimal damage…lol!
Additional Fine Motor Challenges:
- Use a pair of child-safe tweezers to pick up and place the pom poms. These fine-motor tweezers from Learning Resources are our favorite.
- Have the child use different fingers besides the pointer finger/thumb combination. Can they grab the pom poms with their middle finger and thumb? Or what about their pinky finger and thumb??
Additional Learning Challenges:
- Have your child identify each color as she places the pom poms.
- Have your child count how many of each color are on the mat.
- Identify which color uses the most pom poms. Or the least.
We found that using the pom poms on a laminated sheet worked fine as long as we worked hard not to bump the table and held our fingers high above the pom poms.
If you feel that your students would struggle to keep the pom poms steady on the mat, you can use the hook side of clear velcro dots on top of each dot and place the pom poms on the velcro.
You can also attach the loop side (the soft side) of the velcro to your pom poms to prevent the pom poms from getting stuck or leaving fuzz behind.
This will offer some resistance work when removing the pom poms from the mats.