It’s no secret that students thrive on consistency and predictability, so it only makes sense to begin each day with a consistent and predictable routine! Creating a structured morning routine that keeps everyone engaged and learning, while you are busy taking care of the day’s housekeeping tasks, can be a bit tricky. These January fine motor activities and morning tubs provide the soft start the kiddos need to warm up their brains, with just the right balance of meaningful learning activities to keep them engaged!
Plus, you get to sneak in a little extra fine motor practice!
Did I mention… January is the perfect time to adjust and tighten up your morning routine?!
And, I’ve included a FREE fine motor sorting activity perfect for your math centers!
January Fine Motor Activities for Math
Here are just a few of my favorite January fine motor activities for math!
Stack a Snowman
Winter time always has us dreaming of snow days, so I love to incorporate snow-themed activities into my winter student work! In this activity, students must order the snowmen cards from shortest to tallest.
Then, they use tweezers or tongs to grab cotton balls, and place them on the snowmen cards to measure each one!
Build a Snow Fort
Building a snow fort is always a hit during recess, so I love to see students excitement when they realize they get to build a snow fort indoors, only this time without the snow.
Students snap cubes together to build a given number, up to twenty. After they build, they are left with several mini snow forts.
Mixed Up Mittens
Anything with clothespins makes for a great fine motor activity. The grip students must hold to pinch and manipulate a clothespin translates to stronger pencil grasp.
In ‘Mixed Up Mittens’, students place the cards in number order. Then, they attach each one to a string using the clothespins.
Using paperclips, students first read the number, count out that amount of paper clips, and attach them to the strip of paper.
At the end, they have a set of scarves with different amounts of stripes!
Students read, and then, build numbers up to twenty using chain links.
As the numbers get bigger, their icicles get longer and longer!
This is a great activity for practicing 1:1 counting.
The students will build numbers 1-20 using buttons on both a plain snowman or a snowman with ten frames.
For this activity, the students match the number on the clothespin with the appropriate ten frame tree.
Pinching clothespins is great for strengthening their pincer muscles!
Having a Ball with Number Bonds
With white pom poms and a domino, the students will practice composing numbers.
Place the “Having a Ball with Number Bonds” sheet into a sleeve protector for repeated use. Add a handful of dominoes to a bag or bin.
First, the students will draw a domino from the bag and then build the number bond with “snowballs” (white pom poms). Then, they complete the number sentence by writing it on their sheet with a dry erase marker. Erase and repeat!
Feed the Penguin
This activity is the perfect example of how you can blend academic standard with fine motor work! Students place the correct number of colored pom poms in the penguin’s mouth.
Then, they write a number sentence that matches the pom poms. This makes for a great math center!
Hats Off to Patterning
Students strengthen their pincer grasp as they use tweezers to place the next “hat” (pom pom) in the pattern.
Pattern Block Pictures
This activity is not only great for strengthening fine motor muscles, but it is also a fantastic activity for shape recognition.
Students roll a die, grab the corresponding pattern block, and precisely place the block on their pattern block mat until the entire picture is complete.
For this shape activity, the students actually compose the shapes using yarn or popsicle sticks.
Then, they can count the number of sides and vertices for each 2D shape.
Sort the Snowballs
Students strengthen fine motor muscles as they use tweezers to grab and sort each color “snowball” to the appropriate colored snowman. When finished, they can count how many of each color they sorted for each snowman.
You can grab this “Sort the Snowballs” activity for FREE at the end of this post!
January Fine Motor Activities for Literacy
Here are just a few of my favorite January fine motor activities for literacy!
Build a Snowman
Students use the snowman letter cards to stretch out a word. Then, they use chain links to attach the cards and the build the snowman!
This activity combines segmenting, blending, and muscle control all in one!
During this activity, the students will practice middle sounds by sorting the marshmallows to the correct hot cocoa mug.
To help strengthen fine motor control, they will link the cards together.
First, the students will read the color word on each “button” on the snowmen.
Using tongs or tweezers, they pick up and move that colored button, pom pom, or other small manipulative into the space!
Sledding through the ABCs
Practice letter recognition, upper and lower case letters, as well as sequencing the letters of the alphabet with this “Sledding through the ABCs” activity.
This is a perfect activity for that basket of chain links you may have stashed away in your classroom!
Practice beginning sounds and upper and lowercase letter recognition with this “Snowman Sounds” fine motor activity.
Students will attach the upper and lowercase letter “arms” to the appropriate snowman.
Fishing for Digraphs
For “Fishing for Digraphs,” the students will isolate the beginning digraph sound.
Then, they will use the key on the mat to cover each picture with the correct color.
Match the Mittens
Here is another activity that will put those chain links to good use!
The students will match the cards with rhyming pictures, and then, link them together.
Dough Shop Syllables
Play dough is always a hit with the students! Plus, rolling, pressing and stretching the dough is excellent for strengthening fine motor muscles!
For this activity, the students will place a ball of dough inside each circle and then smash one ball for each syllable. After counting the number of syllables, they can build the picture with play dough!
Sight Word Sweaters
This activity is just like the “Mixed Up Mittens” math activity, but is great literacy practice! After reading each sight word, students hang the sweater cards on the line using clothespins.
This is engaging partner work, a small group warm up during the winter time, or independent practice!
Popsicle Stick Pictures
Students build winter-themed pictures with popsicle sticks and then write short sentences using the same sentence prompt, “Look at the.”
Tools for January Fine Motor Activities
Here is a complete list of tools the students will need to complete these January fine motor activities:
- Gator Grabber Tweezers
- 1″ White Pom Poms
- Chain Links
- Play Dough
- Colored Popsicle Sticks
- Pipe Cleaners
- 1″ Pom Poms
- 1/2″ Pom Poms
- Snap Cubes
- Mini Clothespins
- Pattern Blocks
- Foam Dice
More Fine Motor Ideas
Grab the full set of January fine motor activities, HERE!
Don’t forget to include a few fine motor activities on the 100th Day of School!
Start preparing your February fine motor activities now!
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