I’m always looking for new ways to use materials I already have on hand, preferably without tweaking them too much, so they can maintain their value of having multiple uses. It was with this notion in mind that I came up with inviting William and Corinne to make designs using glass pebbles from the dollar store as a means of practicing fine motor skills.
Although I had a very specific and intentional purpose for the kids in doing this activity, I began differently than usual. I simply got out the glass pebbles and began playing with them on the preschool table in our kitchen. Of course this drew the attention of both William and Corinne, and soon they were playing along with me, arranging the glass pebbles into lines that twisted and curved.
Making glass pebble designs is a great fine motor activity for a range of abilities. William is now four years old and Corinne is two and both of them benefited from using the pincher grasp to handle the pebbles and place them where they were desired. This use of the first two fingers and the thumb to pick up the pebbles and move them around is very similar to the grasp needed for holding a pencil correctly.
***Please note that since these are small pebbles, children should always be supervised during this activity to avoid the danger of choking.***
After a while of making abstract designs using the pebbles, I began encouraging the kiddies to make objects, such as faces, trains, or butterflies.
Making glass pebble designs kept my children busy for an extended period of time, much longer than I had expected. Because of this, and it’s lack of prep or set up, glass pebble designs is a simple fine motor activity we will refer back to with frequency.