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The following activities were made with 2 thoughts in mind:

First, as former Montessori teacher I am always looking for ways to support my students with Autism in a unique manner that would interest them. I noticed last week how one my lil ones was struggling to sit and remain focus while we were working on his Discrete Trail Programs. However, the same lil one during his break session when given the freedom to select his activity, would select the Montessori/Teacch Tasks (Please see previous posts for more information on Discrete Trail or Teacch Tasks). It’s during this time that I would see him least distracted despite the additional movements/sounds from others. This made me think about putting together fine motor activities that would develop and lengthen his concentration in hopes that this engagement would carry over during the 1:1 session times and all the while,  strengthen his fine motor skills. I like to refer to this as impact teaching when activities like this target multiple skills.

Second, on a Montessori forum I belong to several teachers have noted the decline in their students handwriting as a result of the increase in children’s use of hand held devices. Therefore, the need for unique and interesting fine motor tasks are essential for all young  learners as a result replacing actual play with devices. Could this help fill the gap? Sure!

Sadly, things do add up quickly, so finding economical solutions are necessary because most of the items I make are donated to my center. To meet a need while live, my quick affordable go to place is Dollar Tree. The items with the exception of the tray and baskets are items purchased from this teacher’s favorite store (my long time dream is to own a Dollar Tree and just create all day long).

1. 3 Finger Pincer Grasp 

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Erasers from Dollar Tree can be used for a number of things. In this example, I use them along with the use of a clothes pin as a basic transfer activity. Clothes pins are found at Dollar Tree too and can be used for a number of activities (see my previous post on Dollar Tree activities to learn how). The adorable porcelain chair was a piggie bank also purchased at Dollar Tree and repurposed. You can find the piggie banks in the aisle where they sell crafts, vases and fake flowers.

2. Bead Slider

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Located in the school supply section, I found this oversized paper reminder clip. I turned it on its side and it became a mini bead slider, similar to the infant block maze.

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The shape and goal to fill the entire contraption will definitely be a winning ticket for some of my lil ones. This offers a bit of auditory stimulation too as the beads ping when they hit up against the metal. My lil ones love sounds, so I’m certain this will be capture some interests.

3. Put and Take

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Believe it or not, in the toy section is where you’ll find this toy target that I turned into a fine motor task using straws I purchased from Dollar Tree as well. You’ll need scissors to cut down the size. Some of my children are oral. If the straws become problematic, I may have to substitute them out for beads, so I’ll have to see. This activity while targets and develops the 3 finger grasp, this is also great for building on hand – eye coordination skills.

All of the activities presented start with the contents on the left. When the child is crossing the mid-line they’re working on coordination skills, order, independence and preparing their minds and eyes for reading as well has hands for writing. The best part about using Montessori design principals are that they’re so simple that most children find success with them.

I hope I was able to provide you with some quick and affordable ideas to help with your students in the classroom or children at home. Thank you for stopping in! If you’d like to pin this for future reference please use the links below!

Warmly,
Mandi