Apple Fine Motor Activity and Back to School Inspiration

We decided to explore an apple’s seeds noticing it’s details and talking about how every little thing that we do can be inspiring.  We cut an apple in half and practiced a little fine motor skills (something we LOVE adding to creative play and learning activities!) and used tweezers to pull the seeds from the apple.

Using tweezers to pull out the seeds is a great way to practice tripod grasp that is needed for proper grip on a pencil.  The action of squeezing and holding tweezers requires use of the intrinsic muscles of the hands, which are needed for endurance in coloring, writing, and manipulating clothing fasteners (all school-based activities that our kids will be doing this school year!)

                                    Apple fine motor activity

Parenting and all of the details that goes into it is kind of like an apple and it’s seeds.  They are so small but they are very much there.  They are something small that grows into that huge and productive apple tree.

Fall and back-to-school seem to bring with it an apple theme.  There isn’t a classroom out there that probably doesn’t have an apple in it somewhere, whether on a bulletin board, a desktop pencil holder, or a door decoration.  Fall means back-to-school and back-to-school means an apple for the teacher!

Apple Fine Motor Seed Activity

Apple fine motor activity with tweezers

While manipulating the tweezers to pick up and position the seeds from the apple, kids can develop and build their eye-hand coordination skills which are needed for reading, writing, performing hands-on learning activities, and performing tasks like turning the pages in a book or manipulating papers and books in a desk.

What a great Fall themed back-to-school project this apple activity is!

While my daughter and I worked on this fine motor apple activity, we chatted about the seeds and how they grow from tiny little things into big apple trees. 

We talked about our family and how it’s grown and how each of us in the family continues to grow.  We even talked about the jobs and responsibilities that each of us has in our family.  I asked her about what she thought about how we do those jobs.  There were some funny responses: “Moms work hard. You do a lot of laundry”, and “She does a lot of making messes” (referring to her two year old sister)!

They notice every little thing.  It’s those little details of life that don’t go unnoticed. They pick up on words, facial expressions, phrases, feelings, and social interactions.  Then there are the routines.  If one little detail of a typical daily routine is omitted, they notice. When day to day household jobs and activities happen, they notice.

Our kids are perceptive. They see all and they are learning.  They are watching us and they are learning from us. It can be overwhelming as a parent to have these little people who are growing and learning based on what they see us do.  It can be a hard job to raise children who are kind, truthful, and generous. Being a parent is a big responsibility.

It can also be amazing and beautiful to know that our littlest actions are inspiring our kids to be great.

Knowing that back-to-school means a change in routine from the lazy days of summer to even more “jobs” for parents (Helloooo, packing lunches, washing school clothes, preparing school supplies, signing 235 school forms, and helping with homework!), it can be even MORE overwhelming to head back into the school year.

Have you ever wondered what your children thought about you and all of the sometimes overwhelming details that are part of your job as Mom or Dad? The kids in this adorable video found out:

I love the antidotes by the parents in the video, especially knowing that the crumbs, messes, and toys that are taking over the house really WILL be gone someday and the house WILL be clean and quiet.
What is your favorite part of the video?

Share it with your friends!

Full disclosure: This post is sponsored by Office Depot® OfficeMax® and The Motherhood.  All opinions are my own.

Apple fine motor activity for Fall

The Non-Handwriting Guide to Practicing Handwriting

Handwriting practice doesn’t always have to involve writing.  This easy activity helps kids with visual processing difficulties or visual motor integration issues to address spatial and line awareness needed for neatness in handwriting while working on a fine motor component and form producing component that are essential for effective spatial use and line awareness in written work.

This activity is part of our month-long handwriting series where we are sharing creative and easy ways to address common handwriting issues in our 30 Easy Quick Fixes for Better Handwriting series.

You’ll also want to join the Sweet Ideas for Handwriting Help Facebook group where you can find support and resources for handwriting. 

Try this line awareness and spatial awareness handwriting activity using puzzle pieces and crayons to work on handwriting in a fun and creative way that doesn't require writing.

Spatial Awareness and Line Awareness Activity

This spatial awareness and line awareness activity is a powerful way to work on so many skills…without actually working on copying or writing.  We’ve shared a similar activity to this one before with our Improve Handwriting with Cookie Cutters post.  

In this activity, you’ll need just a few items to get started.  (This post contains affiliate links.)
Pencil (Use a mechanical pencil and here’s why.)

Start by pulling some puzzle pieces out of the wooden frame.  These wooden alphabet puzzle pieces are perfect for this activity because of their size, their simple colors without patterns, and the lack of plastic handle that some wooden puzzle pieces have. (These puzzles have the plastic handle that would get in the way for this activity, in case you are wondering what I’m talking about.)

Try this line awareness and spatial awareness handwriting activity using puzzle pieces and crayons to work on handwriting in a fun and creative way that doesn't require writing.

Bilateral Coordination in Handwriting

You’ll place a few letters on the paper and use the pencil to trace the puzzle piece.  Tracing the puzzle piece is a great exercise in bilateral coordination. This skill is needed for efficiency in handwriting.  When we write, we often move the paper to adjust for arm placement on the page.  Using both hands together to move and adjust the paper on the desk as we write with our dominant hand helps us to write effectively.  It can be awkward to trace the letters at first, but after a few tries, it should become easier.  

 Try this line awareness and spatial awareness handwriting activity using puzzle pieces and crayons to work on handwriting in a fun and creative way that doesn't require writing.
Note: If you are concerned about getting pencil marks on the edges of the puzzle pieces, use a  mechanical pencil to trace.  The plastic case of the pencil will rub up against the side of the puzzle piece and leave the puzzle letters pencil marking-free.  

It is not necessary to trace all of the letters right-side up.  In fact, positioning them in any position is a good exercise in form constancy for another portion of this activity (I’ll explain more about this part below!)

Try this line awareness and spatial awareness handwriting activity using puzzle pieces and crayons to work on handwriting in a fun and creative way that doesn't require writing.

Visual Motor Integration and Handwriting

Next, remove the puzzle piece from the paper and use the crayons to trace around the pencil letter.  You want to show the child how to trace the lines with different colors, leaving a small space between each color.  This task helps in several ways.  Tracing the lines in this manner helps to work on visual motor integration skills needed for appropriate line awareness and spatial awareness in handwriting. 

Taking in the visual input that we receive while writing and creating written work in handwriting tasks requires visual motor integration to form letters, position them on lines, and space between the letters and words.

If your child is having trouble with this activity, try taking turns with different colors, like we did in this copying and spatial awareness activity

Once you have traced (and traced and re-traced) the letters so that they have many colorful layers, try placing the puzzle pieces back onto the traced letters.  Because some of the letters might be rotated or turned, locating and identifying the correct match for the puzzle pieces challenges the child to use form constancy skills. This is a skill needed for identifying letters or numbers (or shapes and real items) no matter how they are positioned.  

Try this line awareness and spatial awareness handwriting activity using puzzle pieces and crayons to work on handwriting in a fun and creative way that doesn't require writing.
Looking for more creative ways to work on handwriting without actually working on written work? Try some of the fun ideas you can find here.
Be sure to check out all of the easy handwriting tips in this month’s series and stop back often to see them all.  

You’ll also want to join the Sweet Ideas for Handwriting Practice Facebook group for more handwriting tips and tools.