Let’s Move: Cutting Straws!

The Fine Motor Dilemma

Some kids just really aren’t into cutting–or possibly any fine motor activities, for that matter.  But fine motor skills are really important, and the earlier kids start getting playful practice with them, the better.  Those tiny finger and hand muscles need to be strong enough to hold and use a pen or pencil.  They need to have the strength to eventually cut on a cutting board, type on a keyboard, or wire a circuit board!

But how can you tempt those kids?  The ones who’d rather be running around or playing with trucks?  The kids who can’t get enough of balls or other gross motor activities?  Scissors and paper? Boring!

The Fine Motor Solution

The trick to getting those extra active kids engaged is to make the activity fun and…active!  Keeping safety in mind, of course.  So, grab some safe kids’ scissors, your kids (age 3 and up), and a pack of plastic or paper straws, and let’s get to work!

When you cut paper, the paper scraps pile up in a heap on the table.  But, when you cut straws–the pieces of straw BOUNCE across the room!  They fly off in various directions!  And after the cutters of those straws stop giggling, they have to go collect all those pieces!   The result?  Kids who want to keep cutting, over and over again!  Success!

Without even being aware of it, your kids are strengthening their fine motor muscles.  And of course as they go gather up the pieces of straw, they’re building both fine and gross motor skills.  But what about all those pieces of straw?  Use ’em up!  Save them for a rainy day activity:  lace them onto pipe cleaners or string; poke them into play dough, glue them onto paper…  Those same kids who might not normally want to engage in those types of activities might just surprise you.  Since they were the ones to cut up the straws, they will likely be a little more interested in using them in lots of different ways.

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