A great way for toddlers to develop the fine motor skills needed for writing through play is to allow them to play with grains of rice. They develop these skills by picking up the tiny grains, passing handfuls from hand to hand, and scooping and pouring the rice.
Use shallow containers (new cat litter trays are brilliant for this) and pour rice along to cover the bottom. Then there are many things you can do:
• Use spoons, scoops, funnels and tubes to move the rice around
• Draw letters in the rice using their fingers
• Use the rice as terrain for small world vehicles
• Hide animals or treasure in the rice to be found
• Add sequins or foil shapes for exploration
Adding colour to the rice allows you to create themes and adds extra stimulation and interest. It is quite easy to do and this is the simplest method we have found and produces the most vibrant colouring.
You will need: poster paint, rice, a tray and a zip-lock freezer bag.
Pour some rice in the bag and then squirt in some poster paint (no need to measure). Seal the mag and then massage the rice around in the bag. If it isn’t fully covered then add some more paint and do it again until fully covered. The children love doing this part! Once fully covered in paint, spread the rice over the tray and leave to dry, move it round occasionally to stop sticking. Then play!