Fingerprint art is a fine motor powerhouse. These cute little Letter of the Week Alphabet finger print crafts don’t really show how many fine motor skills are bring addressed!
Four kids in eight years make a lot of fingerprints. Fingerprints on the fridge, fingerprints on the sink, and fingerprints on the windows. Then, there are the bins of artwork that I’ve got saved in the attic. We all have a couple of those bins of memories that a mama has got to save. The fingerprint and handprint Mother’s Day gifts, preschool crafts, and memorabilia.
As an Occupational Therapist who spent years working with kids, I can now practice the finger isolation needed in fine motor skills with my own kids, while creating fun artwork!
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It is not only fin to make fingerprint artwork, but educational too. Use fingerprints in fine motor patterns, addition, multiplication, and so many more ways…all while working on finger isolation.
What is Finger Isolation?
Finger isolation is using one finger to perform a task. Pointing with the index finger, wiggling all of the fingers individually, and counting out the fingers on your hand are finger isolation. This finger isolation is needed for many functional activities, like dexterity in managing pencils, paintbrushes, and other tools, typing on a keyboard, tying shoes, and many other skills.
Fine Motor Fingerprints
Many Occupational Therapists suggest fingerprint activities to their students for the fine motor benefits that the simple task allows. To create a fingerprint, a child needs to isolate one finger and bend (flex) the rest of the fingers into a fist. This is refinement from the fisted hand and “raking” motion that babies and young toddlers demonstrate. To create a fingerprint, the ulnar (pinkie side of the hand) are stabilized with the pinkie and ring fingers bent into the palm, or are positioned with the pinkie finger extended and abducted (spread apart).
This positioning allows the knuckle joints (metacarpals) to stabilize and allow the pointer and middle fingers to be used with more control. The separation of the radial and ulnar sides of the hand allows for more skilled fine motor manipulation.
So, how can you use fingerprints in activities?
Use fingerprints like you would a dobber.
Fingerprint math patterns.
Fingerprint pointillism art.
Draw circles and ask your child to add their fingerprints to each circle.
Fingerprint onto sight words, spelling words, or vocabulary words.
Finger Isolation Activities to Improve Fine Motor Dexterity:
Try these fine motor activities to work on finger isolation:
Fingerprints! Make a whole alphabet of fingerprint artwork, using the guide below. These are perfect for letter of the week letter learning or for just creating a A-Z art with fingerprints. Each fingerprint represents a letter of the alphabet. Simply show your child how to print in different colored paints. When the paint dries, use a black permanent marker to add details.
More Finger Isolation Activities
Squeeze a spray bottle using just one or two fingers.
Spin coins on their edges.
Roll small balls of play dough between the thumb and index finger. Repeat between the thumb-middle finger and thumb-ring finger.
Try sign language.
Play finger games like “Where is Thumbkin” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.
Finger pattern games. Ask your child to rest their fingers on the edge of a table. They can copy your hands as you lift indivisual fingers, seperate, bend, and tap your fingers in patterns. Ask them to copy using both hands at the same time, then work to copying patterns with just one hand at a time.
Finger Puppets allow kids to imagine and pretend while working on finger dexterity and movement of individual fingers in isolation of others. This is a great precurser to typing. Play with these puppets as a hand warm-up before working on keyboarding tasks.
Finger Painting This is a sensory and messy texture and wonderful for sensory feedback while working on finger isolation.
Play mazes with the fingers. This Sensory Gel Maze
is perfect for finger isolation.
Pick up stick games
Screw/Unscrew bottles, lids, nuts, and bolts
Use the activities in this post to work on the skills needed for so many fine motor tasks. Hopefully, you don’t end up with too many more fingerprints on the windows with all of this finger isolation practice!
I had just spent the afternoon cleaning the house, running loads of laundry, folding, wiping, swiping, and mopping. Our house sparkled.
But now. I walked into the bathroom and stared. The entire contents of the garbage can were in the toilet. The toilet paper was unrolled and piled as high as my 17 month old. The sink was running and thisclose to overflowing over it’s clean (cause I did just clean this room not an hour ago!) edges.
It looked like a burglar ransacked our bathroom.
But burglars never ransack the bathroom. Right? You just never see it in the movies. I mean, picture it: A cute family comes home from a meal out and walk into their house. All looks fine and normal until someone heads to the bathroom. The teenager opens the door and with a look of alarm, yells, “MOMMM! We’ve been robbed! They stole our fluffy Good Towels and used all of the toilet paper!” That would never happen. I could have called a motion movie maker and sold them on the idea of a burglarized bathroom, if they only saw it.
A sweet little cutie pie Toddler stood in the middle of it all and just looked Oh So adorable.
This is motherhood.
Sometimes, life can get so busy and hectic with the schedules, managing the house, working, fixing healthy dinners, being present, exercising, and not losing your cool from ransacking Toddlers. It can be easy to let one or more of these areas slide. How do you make it all work? I’m not real sure. I’m still working on managing all of the things that make a family tick…And when I seem to get the hang of it and get it all together? Something changes. Homework gets trickier, schedules change, and Toddlers learn to turn on showers.
That’s the thing about family life. It changes so fast!
So what did I do that day with the soggy towels and the happy Toddler? I picked up the mess and packed everyone up to go out to dinner. A night out without another meal to make (and clean up) made this mama smile.
We headed out for a dinner at Chick-Fil-A’s Family Mystery night. We showed up on a Friday night, had a healthy meal, and spent time together as family. My kids are still talking about it. The secret spy names, the mystery tasks, the flashlight. (My kids looooove flashlights.) It was such a memorable evening together with real, wholesome food, imagination, and creativity.
We walked in to see yellow tape and local police officers. There was a detective and missing lemons. But who stole the lemons? It was a mystery! The kids had to solve riddles and puzzles to find clues as we ate our dinner. With full bellies, we took a tour of the kitchen, only to find the Chick-Fil-A cow in the walk-in freezer with all of the stolen lemons!
It was such a relief to know that my kids were enjoying healthy and real foods. Did you know Chick-Fil-A uses fresh, hand breaded chicken every day? That there are only a dozen or so salads made at a time so that they are always fresh? That they have “food scientists” that plan out the menu items in a state of the art kitchen at Chick-Fil-A headquarters? That the lemonade is squeezed fresh and contains only lemons, sugar, and water? That there are many healthy options like chicken noodle soup, Greek yogurt parfait, and applesauce? This is simply amazing from a fast-food restaurant!
We went to a story time at a local Chick-Fil-A store and this mama enjoyed the one-on-one time with my Toddler (the very same that terrorizes bathrooms). With friendly store employees that truly care, this is a local activity that we will be attending again! You can see more local story times here.
And our third event was a memory-maker for certain. We visited the Pittsburgh Zoo for an after-hours event for animals, yummo Chick-Fil-A food, dancing, games, and prizes. My kids are still talking about the zoo event!
Thank you Chick-Fil-A for the memories and the knowledge that I can take my family out to eat wholesome meals in a family-friendly environment.