In the preschool years, learning how to make marks or write, cut with scissors, and manipulate smaller objects is a part of normal growth and development. Once school begins, many children struggle with small motor control, especially when it comes to holding a pencil (handwriting). By offering playful opportunities to help our children gain fine motor control, we can encourage finger muscles to grow and positive early learning experiences. The Wikki Stix Feed the Monkey Game is a great activity for encouraging finger muscles to grow while playing and having FUN!
Wikki Stix Feed the Monkey Craft
Materials needed: Brown, White, and Black Wikki Stix and one Monkey template (linked here)
To create the Monkey: Print the Monkey Template (linked here) and laminate for durability (if laminating supplies are not available, clear contact paper will work, too). Invite the children to outline the Monkey with brown Wikki Stix. Near the monkey’s mouth, have the children form a circle from one strand of Wikki Stix and place it on the template. The children should then fill-in the Monkey outline with additional brown Wikki Stix, but the mouth circle should remain OPEN (see photo above). Creating with Wikki Stix is a wonderful fine motor activity. Younger children may need assistance in finishing the monkey for the game.
If desired, the children can make the eyes, nose, or any other monkey facial features with additional Wikki Stix.
Materials needed: Yellow Wikki Stix and scissors.
Have the children cut several strands of Wikki Stix in half. The children can fold each half over and form into a crescent (banana) shape. Make several Wikki Stix banana crafts as they will be used in playing the fine motor game.
To play the game: Press the Wikki Stix created monkey craft onto a small bowl or container (leaving the mouth hole just above the rim of the container). The Wikki Stix monkey craft will adhere to the container without the need for tape or glue. Put all of the small bananas inside a separate container. The object of the fine motor game is to transfer the created bananas into the monkey’s mouth with various utensils. In the photo above, our kids used tweezers to transfer the bananas from the container to the monkey’s mouth. Other suggested transfer utensils might include: a spoon, small tongs, fingers (pincer grasp enhancement), or chop sticks (more advanced fine motor).
By creating and playing with Wikki Stix, kids will garner the fine motor control that is so important for a successful beginning to the formal school years!