Pencil Control Worksheets (You can make at home)

These are some easy handwriting exercises that can be done at home.  Does your school-aged child have difficulty with line awareness, pencil control, or letter formation?  Is your preschooler just learning to control the pencil while making strait lines or shapes? 
It is easy to make fun worksheets that apply to your child’s needs/age-appropriate level/skills…and interests!

Pencil Control:

Use a highlighter to make strait, angled, and curvy lines…or add different twists and turns for your older child to trace along.  For a new hand writer, thick lines are appropriate, and the school-aged child can work on very thin lines.
Ask the child to keep the pencil lines inside of the yellow guide.  Fun stickers at the end of the lines always help 🙂

 Graded Pencil Control Activity

This handwriting activity can be “graded” (adjusted to start out very easy for the child and then changed just slightly to make it more and more challenging).  Grading an activity is helpful for the learner because it allows the child to feel success and gain confidence during a task, but also builds success with more difficult  levels.
((I love Little Guy’s knight costume sleeve in this picture.  He rocks the knight costume at lease once a day  haha!))
Draw shapes with the highlighter with progressively thinner lines.  This is a great pencil control exercise for shape formation and showing the child how to make sharp corners and curved lines.  This is excellent pencil control work.

Pencil Control with Line Awareness

Start with a shape like, our square.  Draw a square around it, taking turns with your child, making larger and larger shapes.  It’s a lot like doodling you did in your notebooks or while talking on the phone, right?
Taking turns with your little handwriting student helps them to see an accurate shape right next to the lines that they are drawing…with sharp edges and strait lines.


Copying and Spatial Awareness

Big Sister LOVED doing this one.  She filled out the whole sheet and had so much fun!  She would roll the dice, count the dots, and draw the dots (in the correct arrangement) in the squares on the page.
Counting, Copying, and Drawing with accurate spacing all work on her visual perceptual skills and spatial awareness.  These skills are essential for forming letters on lines, placing letters close enough to others in a word, and when copying lists of words.
Make early handwriting fun and your preschooler will have success…and love it!

Snowflake Party

One day last week, us Aunts got together for some much-needed sister hang-out time, play time for the cousins, and a little “blog meeting”.
We had a snowflake party planned with a bunch of fun little ideas to do with the kids. 
I mean, we found these snowflake cups big-time discounted after Christmas, and had to use them somehow, right??
((The babies had fun putting crafting popsicle sticks into one cup, and then one-by-one, putting them back into the other cup…sounds fun to me!))
We set the table with some cotton batting and silver tinsel. 
Blue Legos are optional. 
A little helper thought it fit in with the blue theme pretty well 🙂

Snowflake Sensory Play

We already had a batch of fake snow made up.  We added into the bag, foam snowflakes, glass gems, and glitter for fun Snowflake themed fine motor and sensory play!
Did you see the post where we shared our Mess-Free Fake Snow?

Snowflake Crafts

We made snowflakes with pipe cleaners and beads.  This is a great fine motor activity and SO much fun.  My kids are always asking to make necklaces and bracelets with beads and pipe cleaners. So, they really loved this one.

Just a side note…This little niece was READY for a party.  Check out that fashion she’s got going on here.  LOVE it 🙂
Another snowflake craft…
Glue crafting sticks together in a star shape and dip strips of Scotch tape into glitter.  Press the tape down onto the sticks.  Instant glittery and mess-free snowflake!
We also showed the kids how to fold and cut paper to make snowflakes.  They loved cutting triangles and snips into the paper.  And especially LOVED opening them up to see the pretty snowflake.  They helped us hang the snowflakes and all of the crafts on the window.
There was a little break from the snowflake theme and party mode to take a Super hero break with dish towels for capes.
FUN STUFF!  And so cute 🙂

Snowflake Snacks

Snowflake snacks were marshmallows  (they were snowballs of course 🙂
And bugles (Hats!)
Have you done any fun snowflake crafts or activities?  We would love to hear about them 🙂

Fine Motor Play with crafting pom poms

Fine motor play for toddlers is a win in our house.  Toddlers seem to love moving, scooping, dropping, and sorting items, so why not incorporate fine motor skills into the activity?   

Looking for more creative ideas for toddlers?  Try these ones

Fine Motor Work for Toddlers and Preschoolers

This activity is so easy to put together and fun for different ages.  My Toddler and nephew (both 16 months old) were immediately loving this one.  They saw the pile of crafting pom poms and the bottles on the table and were instantly popping the fuzz balls into the empty water bottles.
NOTE: If you try this activity with little ones who love to explore with their mouths, please keep a very close eye on them.  Or put this one on hold for a few months. 
Pushing the pom poms into the bottles is great for working on a tripod grasp, and the littler kids tended to push the ball into the bottle by using their index finger (Index Isolation).
 When kids develop isolation of individual fingers, it improves their dexterity, separates the sides of the hand, and allows them to manipulate small objects with accuracy. 
As they progress in fine motor development, you will see the ring finger, and pinkie finger fold down into a fist as they use just their thumb, pointer finger, and ring finger to manipulate little objects.  The ring and pinkie fingers are then able to stabilize the hand during activities such as handwriting, cutting with scissors, and shoe tying.   

Color Sorting for Preschoolers

Little Guy (who is 3) sorted the different colored pom poms into bottles.
 We had fun with this for a long time.  They were occupied before and after nap time with this one!
To get the pom poms out of the bottles, I was able to pull them out quickly.  The little kids were not able to get them out, but it was not too difficult for Big Sister.  











Bilateral Coordination for Toddlers

The toddlers had a little trouble at first, managing the bottle with their helper hand while concentrating on putting the pom poms into the bottle top.  This is a really great activity to work on bilateral coordination for little ones.  After a while, they both got better at it.  That was pretty neat to see.  It really helps, too, that the bottle made a loud crinkly sound when they squeezed too  hard.  What a great auditory cue for them to lessen their grip on the bottle
Don’t have the pom poms at the house???  Use cotton balls.  
Have fun with this! 

MORE Fine motor activities your child will LOVE:

Share It Saturday #8 and Our Week in Review

Happy Weekend!
We love to start our weekend off right by highlighting all of these amazing bloggers who are linking up each week with us at Share It Saturday.  It is fun to look through the listing of links and pick out new and creative ideas to do with our own kids.  We love to see each and everyone of your ideas. 
This week, we had a little trouble picking just four of our favorites.
So, we didn’t pick just four. We went all out and picked EIGHT awesome ideas that can blast the cabin fever from your home.  We picked a bunch of fun ideas that can be done during these cold, icy, wintery days (That Groundhog DID say spring would be right around the corner, didn’t he???)
But, while winter continues outside, we are enjoying fun, sensory, messy and creative indoor play.  And our featured posts for this week will give you some great ideas!  Stop by and check them out.  You will want to see what these ladies are up to!
But First, We wanted to share a bit about our week with you…
We took one nice (40 degree) day and braved the cold while walking through the zoo to the aquarium.  We spent a few hours in there and Baby Girl LOVED seeing all of the fish.  She ran around from tank to tank yelling and pointing 🙂

Of course, you must find the Nemo fish when you go to the aquarium…
When we left, it was warm enough to stop and check out a few animals for a bit.  Little Guy was pretty fascinated by the breath that you could see coming out of the Polar Bear’s mouth.  He’s still talking about that!
Another day this week, we had a cousin play date and had a little snowflake party.  Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming blog post and lots of fun details like snow flake crafts, food, and activities 😉
The snowflake party kids took a little break so the cousins could play Super Heroes with dish towels.
SO Cute!!
 Tuck a dish towel into the kid’s shirt collars and you get an instant Super Hero!
So, let’s get on to the fun stuff…
It’s Share It Saturday Time!
We had even more links posted up this week than ever before…
We chose 8 awesomely fun indoor play ideas!
Creatively Content made these amazing works of Mixed Media Art.  These pieces are really fun!
Raise A Boy Shows us her Favorite toys for boys aged 2-4.  I know my Little Guy would go crazy for these toys.
Mama to 3 Blessings had fun with a Shaving Cream sensory activity that turned into works of art.
Fantastic Fun Learning used a creative way to paint.  This looks like a great fine motor activity too!
Over The Big Moon shows us how to play this fun Family Night game.  This looks hilarious!!
Apple Of Mama’s Eye made homemade finger paints. What a great indoor play activity.
Frogs & Snails & Puppy dog Tails shows us a super fun Pirate Indoor Treasure Hunt idea! How fun!


Mess-Free Indoor Snow Sensory Play

Fine Motor, Sensory Play, Hand Strengthening…

We made Indoor Snow one recent weekend, when we had a big cousin sleep over.  There were six kids aged five and under staying overnight at our house.  I had this activity planned for us to do together, (because I procrastinated ) and had to get it together to take to a Winter Festival at our church the next day.  

((Taking the Messy Play on the Road))

We’ve made this before and I have the recipe listed on our Messy Play Day post.
We shredded the toilet paper and the kids had a BLAST!
It started out so neat and kind.

 And then turned in to this.
And this.
Of course it did.
Why wouldn’t it? 
((Ok, that part of this post was NOT mess-free…the end result is mess-free. I promise.))

So, then we popped the Ivory soap into the microwave…

mixed it up with the toilet paper…

And played!

THIS is the mess-free part.
We made the Indoor Snow into a mess-free play that was great for hand strengthening, fine motor skills, and sensory play.   My little helpers added foam snowflake stickers, glass gems, and glitter.  We put the whole mess into a gallon sized baggie.   This was so much fun for them to play with and explore.  

Fun Times!!

Broil-Top Cake

 This yummy cake is our go-to dessert for a quick and easy cake.  It tastes like a coffee cake and tastes even better the next day.  We always had this cake growing up, it was our mom’s recipe and it is fun to make it now that we have families of our own.


Yellow Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk

Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.  Add eggs beating for 1 minute after each.  Mix the dry ingredients in separate bowl.  Add dry mixture and milk alternating.  Grease and lightly flour 9 1/2×13″ glass baking pan.  Bake 375 for 30-35 min.

For Topping
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

In medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup butter and 2 tbsp milk.  Cook and stir until butter melts.  Add 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, stir until dissolves.  Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.

Pour all over the cake (works great with boxed cake in a pinch).

Place under broiler and watch it, you don’t want to walnuts to burn.  It will start to bubble and turn golden brown.

Remove from broiler and let sit for a little before you serve.  It tastes great warm or cold, tastes especially great the next morning with a cup of coffee 🙂



Potato Stamps- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

This activity was so much fun…it started out as potato stamping and turned into my little children turning into little green Leprechauns as you will soon find out.
 I sliced the potato in half and used a knife to carve out the shapes.  I let my daughter pick the theme and she asked for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  
I filled one cup with yellow paint and the other with blue.

 We talked about constellations and the Little Dipper. 

This turned into a beautiful birthday card for Pap Pap
We wrote on it:
“Twinkle Twinkle Little Birthday Star” 
Then this mommy made a huge mistake of running to the bathroom and came back into the kitchen to see this…

 Someone thought it was a good idea to turn themselves GREEN!
 It made some really great hand prints.
Look at her hands!  She was running around the house saying she was the Grinch lol. I was seriously freaked out when I saw these.  The paint dried so fast (thank goodness. or I would have put down the camera).  Now when I ask her what colors make green, she knows and answers with a huge smile.
Needless to say, this turned into an early morning bath.
All I can say is they had fun 🙂

Multi-age Letter Learning Bin

This was an easy little activity that worked for all of the ages. 
My Pre-K kiddo copied the words,
My Pre-Schooler liked telling me all of the things that started with “D” and exploring the bin,
and my Toddler loved checking out all of the fun things in the bin.
(Especially the ducks…Baby Girl looooooves ducks!)

I’ve seen the letter sensory bin idea over at Life With Moore Babies.  
She’s linked up at our Share It Saturday link up party and I knew my kids would love to do something like that!

We went on a scavenger hunt to search for toys that started with D and everyone had so much fun!
We found Dog puppets, ducks, a doll, and a Dad (ok, this was another doll and a small stretch to get a “D” word, but they got it :).   We also had dinosaurs, a D magnet, a few foam letter “D”‘s, a plastic “Diamond” bracelet, a plastic dime, and Dora.
I wrote all of the words on the writing sheet for Big Sister.  She’s so into copying words right now.  And learning lower case letters.  She loved pulling the object out of the box, asking me which word matched up, and then copying.

 My silly Baby Girl. I have 6 shots of this.  She was hil-arious.
 And she knew it!