Toddlers and preschoolers will have fun experimenting with gadgets and gears in this fine motor STEM activity. If you want to mix up your toddler sensory bins and sensory trays then this activity is perfect! This activity is easy to set up using household objects, and promotes hands-on learning for toddlers. Engage fine motor, language and cognitive skills with this fun, fine motor STEM activity for toddlers.
Gadgets and Gears Fine Motor Play
Fine motor activities help kids strengthen fingers and hands, in preparation for early learning activities such as drawing, printing, painting and coloring.
This gadgets and gears activity promotes the use of fine motor skills while providing an opportunity for kids to explore movement, weight and size with small gadgets. The ways in which these objects can be manipulated provides insight into their ability to manage other functions. For example, hinges allow doors to open and close, and wheels are necessary for kids to pedal a tricycle! While this activity needs to be closely supervised, your toddler will love it!
What you need for a gadgets and gears fine motor tray
The materials you provide to your toddler will vary depending on the items you have around the home or workshop, or that can be easily attained at low cost at a dollar store or hardware store. Make sure you use items that are large enough so that they can not be a choking hazard – close supervision is required at all times for an activity like this.
In this tray you’ll spot clasps, a hinge, a wheel and some rollers, a nut on a screw nail, and a spring.
Other options include spinners from board games, clock parts, clothespins, or even wind-up toys. The goal is to provide objects that can be manipulated in some way.
- Place the objects in a divided tray. Upcycle a produce tray for this activity if you have one in your recycle bin!
- Provide just a few items at a time so your toddler will not be overwhelmed, and will be able to give some attention to each manipulative. Your child can help sort the objects and place similar items together, based on size, color, or function.
- Demonstrate one or two of the gadgets to pique your child’s interest and encourage experimentation.
- Continue to guide the play with minimal intervention as your toddler becomes engaged with the gadgets.
This activity draws attention to the way gadgets move. Toddlers will love observing wheels that spin, hinges that flip, and clasps that open and close when squeezed.
You can easily introduce fine motor STEM into your daily plans with fun, hands-on activities. With minimal time and expense your toddler can explore and learn with gadgets and gears!
Some more great activities you may enjoy are:
About the Author
Heather is a former preschool teacher and founder of preschooltoolkit.com, a website providing early learning resources for teachers and parents. She focuses on creating fun crafts and activities that engage developmental skills while promoting hands-on learning through play. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+