Rainbow month is here! Since most of the kids on my current caseload are little ones (under 3 years), I will be using this simple rainbow craft to go with my St. Patrick’s Day theme. I will have the paper strips pre-cut for them, but it would also be a great activity for older kids working on cutting straight lines to have them cut them out themselves. You may even be able to get the pre-kindergarten kids to be “helpers” and cut out the strips for the little ones.
With my little ones, I will use it to work on color recognition, using a glue stick to make pre-writing strokes, pasting, as well as hand strengthening and bilateral hand use to pull apart the cotton balls.
When developing an appropriate grasp on writing utensils, it’s best to start with bigger utensils. You’ve probably seen the paint brushes with oversized handles for easier grip or jumbo crayons that are wider than regular crayons. Sidewalk chalk is a great option, too. These types of utensils are easier to hold while strengthening the small muscles of the hands in preparation for regular-sized crayons, paintbrushes, pencils, etc. I like to think of a glue stick as a “utensil” as well.
The fist pre-writing strokes to develop are horizontal and vertical line strokes. The strips of paper (about 1” wide) make a little path for the glue. I like to pretend it’s a road for the glue stick “car” to drive on, making it a fun, non-intimidating way to work on visual motor control.
Once they have the line of glue, I will help them turn it over and give it a “pat, pat, pat” so that it sticks to the paper well. As a point of reference, pasting a small piece of paper onto a larger piece of paper is considered to be an 18-24 month skill. I anticipate that my toddlers will need a good bit of assistance initially.
Once they have the paper strips glued, I will help them make dots of liquid glue within the cloud. The liquid glue tends to be messy, but I like to give them the opportunity because squeezing the glue bottle is great muscle work for little hands and it helps them learn how to grade the pressure needed to get enough, but not too much glue out.
Lastly, have them pull apart cotton balls and place them on the dots of glue. They could, of course, just put whole cotton balls on the glue, but I always like to up the fine motor anti and add hand strengthening and bilateral coordination in wherever I can. Cotton balls are an interesting texture and they are actually harder to pull apart than you might think!
Ta-da! The rainbow creation is complete. Hang it on the fridge and talk about the colors, rub the cotton balls and talk about the texture, and tell them what a great job they did!