This time of year, you may have a few plastic gold coins laying around. If not, these are those gold coins you see around March in dollar stores or in the party aisle of the store. They might be used in party decorating or as a fun addition to St. Patrick’s Day activities. We had a handful of gold coins in our house and decided to use them in some fine motor activities. Below are 6 quick and easy ways to improve fine motor skills using gold coins.
We’ve used coins to work on fine motor skills like in-hand manipulation before. Coins are a great way to encourage a skill needed for so many tasks!
Here are more ways to use coins to improve fine motor skills.
Fine Motor Activities using Gold Coins
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First, you will need a handful of gold coins. You can grab them here. You could also use play money like we did here or just use regular real money coins!
1. In-Hand Manipulation- Transfer the coins one at a time from the palm of the hand into the fingertips to drop them into a bank. don’t have a coin bank that’s big enough for the gold coins? No problem! Use a knife to slice an opening in the top of a cardboard box or container with a plastic lid such as a recycled raisin container. Younger children can drop the coins into an empty tissue box. In-hand manipulation activities can help with tasks like clothing fasteners, shoe tying, and pencil grasp.
2. Fine Motor Precision- Use the coins to practice fine motor precision and graded movements by stacking the coins. The more, the better, especially with older students. Stack the coins, one at a time, onto one another in a stack. Don’t let the coins fall! Precision is an important fine motor skill needed for many fine motor tasks.
3. Open Thumb Webspace- Make a “sandwich” with the coins and improve that thumb webspace to use in pencil grasp, scissor use, and activities such as managing clothing fasteners. Kids can hold three coins in a tip-to-tip grasp as they oppose the thumb to the pointer finger while ensuring the thumb is open in an “O” shape. Activities to improve an open thumb web space are important for pencil grasp and manipulation of small items.
4. Finger Translation- Another in-hand manipulation activity, this one helps kids work on the ability to rotate items like a pencil or a coin (a real one!) between the pad of the thumb and the pad of the pointer, middle, and ring fingers. This in-hand manipulation activity can be practiced by holding the edge of the coin and rolling it in a circular motion along the finger pads. Try these ideas to improve translation using small water beads and a plastic bottle.
5. Finger Isolation- Place several gold coins on the table in a line. Use the fingers of one hand to tap them one at a time as the child “plays” a tapping tune on the coins. Just like tapping out keys on a piano, this activity allows the child to improve finger isolation and dexterity needed for skills like shoe tying or typing. Finger isolation activities can be a helpful way to improve fine motor skills needed for tasks like typing, shoe tying, pencil grasp, and more.
6. Hand Grip Strength– Ask the child to place one or more coins in the palm of their hand. They should curl their fingers over the coin and SQUEEZE! You may want to ask them to try to squeeze the plastic gold coin into real gold! Squeezing the fingers into a gross grasp in a sustained grip is a fun way to work on hand strength needed for so many skills. Hand strengthening is one of the biggest needs for a functional pencil grasp, endurance when writing or coloring, and tool use of all kinds!
How would you use these fun gold coins to improve hand strength and fine motor skills?
You can grab the gold coins here and use them over and over again over the next month and the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day!
Want to send these activities home as a home program? Print off this sheet and add a couple of gold coins for a creative home exercise program!