Creating learning activities is my passion. Nothing is more exciting to me then finding inexpensive items at Dollar Tree and turning them into multi-skill activities for early learners in minutes. They’re a sure hit in the occupational world, great for children needing Fine Motor work and are inspired by Maria Montessori teaching elements.
My latest Dollar Tree adventure had these awesome Power Clips found in the kitchen tool section. They come 6 to a bag and with three different sizes. Unlike wooden clothespins, the clips aren’t too difficult to squeeze for little hands. Second, the clips are the same color. You want them to be the same color so that the learner focuses on one element, the length. If they were different colors, the beginning learner’s focus would be on the color and size. We want one element to be the focus and that’s length and size; large, medium, small. When I saw these clips, I immediately I thought, fine motor and size discrimination!
Montessori practical life lesson using clothes pins is used to strengthen the pincer grasp. This specific grasp is the same muscles used in holding a pencil. Does this work prepare the child’s hands for this task? Absolutely!
And well, since we’re on the topic on how this activity benefits learners, you might be wondering why size discrimination is important. Early learners need to be able to differentiate and understand size comparisons. This will particularly be important when they are learning about upper case and lower case letters and learning how to write them as well. Early learners will need to be able to visualize how each letter looks (upper case or lower case), use muscle memory to reproduce the letters.
You’ll need a basket or a box. I used a box my husband was seconds away from recycling. The length on this box was perfect because when clipped it shows the length and size differentiation. I like using a box because I can use the box to hold the clips as well.
Next you’ll need either tape or construction paper, cut to the length of the clips. This will serve as a self correcting mechanism. When the child understands the concept of matching, they’ll understand the purpose is to match the clip size to the length. Measure out the tape, apply and you’re finished!
This activity is for ages 1 and up. For young ones like my boys, the clips were clipped to the box. The goal was for them to explore how to unclip. When they’re older around 2, and begin to understand matching, this will be perfect for them.
Stay tuned for updates, and additional activities using the Power Clips along with more learning activities you can purchase at Dollar Tree!