Fine Motor Principal: # 6 Re Post: “Freedom to Be”

I apologize for the disappearnace of this post from my blog history!  A dear reader discovered its absence and graciously ask that I repost it.  So thank you for making me aware of this!

“Freedom to be…..” Each child needs the opportunity and freedom to just be who they are: a child!  Children learn not only fine motor skills but gross motor, social, language, cause and effect plus much more through their own play!  Here’s several outside play suggestions!  Don’t forget its very important for adults to play as well!!!!

For large muscle development: Playground equipment of all kinds, digging in dirt, riding toys for outside play, helping rake leaves, wash cars, and so much more

For small muscle (fine motor) development: Picking or cutting flowers, planting seeds, pulling weeds, water play with various hose nozels, making snow balls (for you up north!), with adult supervision hammering, painting with various sized brushes

But also please remember, that free play is very necessary for developing the imagination!  “Its not the end product its the process of doing something that counts for learning.”

A book well worth reading on the importance of play for both adults and children: Play: How It Shapes the Brain by Stuart Brown.

For adults he discusses how certain large businesses while interviewing their future employess asks questions about their play history: very interesting:)

P.S. Don’t forget to visit me at for further blogs!


Lyn’s New Blog and Website

We are celebrating the completion of my new webpage designed by a talented young man Harry Chisholm (!  My blog will no longer be at but will be at .  However, the “lynslines” will direct you to the new webpage if you go there.

To celebrate I am giving away a copy of my book: Alphabet Soup: Stirring Your child’s Interest in Letters.  If you will leave a comment or even just your name, I will add you to the drawing.  Thank you for your reading support and past comments!  I have learned so much from each of you and your blogs!!!! Lyn

Preschool Teachers Adventure Conference 2013

MP900227619 (1)The Preschool Teachers Adventure Conference will be hosted at Houston’s Woodwind Presbyterian Church’s Preschool on January 26! This is a great conference to earn CEU credits as well as catch up on the latest in preschool topics! Besides its just FUN!!!!

I will be speaking about “Red Flags in Motor Development of Preschool Children”

” Teaching the Alphabet Through Practical Play”

“Sensory Motor Issues in the Classroom”

Come join me! Hope to see you there!

Handwriting Worksheets: Beware #3


Problem: A visually sensitive student is overwhelmed by the numerous problems on a Mad Minute worksheet!  The sheer number of problems to be completed in a timely manner is causing extreme anxiety!


Solution: To reduce the visual on the page:
a. Fold the paper into halves or quarters
b. Use an index card to block out part of the page or use “The Reading Focus Card” ( turned sideways as in above picture.
c. Make sure the visually sensitive student is not sitting under flourscent lights which increases the glare on the paper. Try colored worksheets rather than white ones to help reduce the glare.
d. In extreme cases, wearing sunglasses will also help reduce the glare of white paper.

Handwriting Worksheets: Beware! #2

<When writing on unlined paper with his eyes closed, the second grade student's letters are 3/4 inch high.  The space on the worksheet is unlined and allows for 1/4 inch high letters.

Problem:  When a child writes letters with their eyes closed either for fun or for professional observation, the height of the letters produced can represent the “comfort level” of his finger movements.  If the height of the letters are 3/4 inch, this is more appropriate for a kindergarden student than for a second grade student.  As he must tighten down his fingers to place the letter in the worksheet’s smaller space, hand fatigue and decreased writing speed can result.

Solution: Copy the worksheet allowing for larger spaces or allow the writing on an extra page.  If ask to write on the back of the worksheet, two problems appear: 1. usually there are no lines on the back.  We all write better with lines. 2. Flipping the worksheet from front to back and then back to the front can be very distracting as well as taxing on the child’s memory as he attempts to remember the question and answer, flip the sheet and then write.

To help with improving the size of his writing, a program such as “Callirobics” ( may be helpful.  Also it would be important to look at his pencil grip which may be a cause (though not only) of the larger writing.

Handwriting Worksheets: Beware!

MP900049596Handwriting worksheets vary according to the writing program that is being used.  Let’s look at the first of several worksheet “glitches” and how to fix them:

1. A worksheet has four lines for practicing a single letter..  A “model” letter to be traced is at the beginning of the first line but is not repeated at all.  Dots are placed for each letter on the lines.

Problem:  The child will trace the model letter and hopefully make the first independent letter correctly.  The second independent letter is modeled after the first independent letter.  The third independent letter is formed according to the second independent letter not the model. As the child loses focus on the model letter especially on the fourth line, the letter will more than likely be formed incorrectly.

Solution:  Place a model letter at the beginning of EACH line as well as in the MIDDLE of each line.  Make sure the model letter is traced correctly!  Once the letter formation is in the tactile (touch) and proprioceptive (body movement) systems, it’s almost impossible to change!

Note: This pencil grip is highly inefficient!  But that’s another blog!:)

Tips from my 92 year old Dad

Thank you for your patience as I took care of my 92 year old dad who recently had surgery and is doing quite well.  I have learned so much taking care of him !  For those of you who have older parents, friends or relatives, these tips may be helpful:

  1. One major goal of my Dad is to be independent.  I have learned to enable not disable him by assisting rather than doing the task for him.  I have tried to understand why he gets upset when he can’t do something or I won’t let him do something for safety sake.  Independence is so important to him!
  2. Sit down and listen to him.  He may repeat stories but they are my heritage and his eyes light up when he shares them!  We have video taped Dad telling his stories so that we can pass them onto his great grandchildren.
  3. Food brings my Dad joy!  I have learned that 92 year old teeth need softer foods to chew and much more flavor!  Rather than criticizing his love of anything sweet, I have tried to decrease the amount of sugar in a recipe and make sure he has plenty of nutritious food.
  4. Pick my battles!  Some things don’t matter in the big picture!

I would love to hear tips from you who are walking in my shoes at this point!  Then we will return to our discussions about kids!

Handwriting Questions

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Alphabet Soup: Fun Activities to Stir Your Child's Interest in Letters by Lyn Armstrong O.T.R