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Improve Fine Motor Skills While Having Halloween Fun

Posted Oct 24 2012 11:07pm

Tis the season for trick-or-treating, costumes, pumpkin carving, and candy! But you can easily infuse learning moments in with the fun. With a toddler of my own, I like to encourage him to do activities that will help improve his fine motor skills (skills which involve the small muscles of the body that increase the strength, fine motor control, and dexterity).

We created the game called “Catch That Pumpkin Seed!” As I stood at the sink cleaning off the seeds we had scooped from our pumpkin that morning, Michael wanted to help (as usual). So I guided him in pulling a chair up to the sink so he could play in the water as I continued cleaning. What I discovered was his pure joy in trying to catch the seeds that fell into his pot of water. So I gave him a spoon and started to “accidentally” drop more seeds into his pot. Children are naturally altruistic and will do almost anything to help; my son thinking he was helping made it that more exciting for him.

Every time a seed would fall, we would yell “Catch that pumpkin seed!” and he would giggle and scoop up the seeds with his spoon. As he improved at catching each seed I decided to make the activity more challenging by changing spoons and giving him one with slots. Now he had to catch the seed just right to keep it on the spoon. The repetitiveness of making very small movements helps improve fine motor skills that are needed for tasks like buttoning jackets and hand writing. Catching those pumpkin seeds also helps increase hand-eye coordination, especially if you have the water running to make the seeds move around in the pot.

As he played, we talked about where the seeds came from and how they actually got into the pumpkin. After all the fun was over and the seeds were clean, we went and read “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. It was pumpkin filled happy day, with a easily infused learning activity that will help improve fine motor skills.

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