Fine motor ice picking this winter ice is an activity that was an instant hit with my preschoolers! It may have been the reference to Christof’s ice business from Frozen that got them excited, or the real hammer that I was letting them use, but either way, they were motivated!
Safety first! Remember that styrofoam is a material that needs constant supervision, especially for those little ones who may still put things in their mouths.
Our ice picking business that we set up in my preschool classroom encouraged hand-eye coordination and strengthened fine motor muscles. We even added counting ice picks into the learning fun! In my opinion, our ice picking activity is a must-do with preschoolers and you may even have the supplies on hand already.
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Fine Motor Ice Picking
For this activity we used:
- blocks of styrofoam
- golf tees
- hammers (real – use 7 oz or lighter, and toy ones)
- safety goggles (optional, for safety!)
I had tray set up with rectangular styrofoam blocks, golf tees, and a hammer on them. I demonstrated on the carpet during circle time what the expectations were with this activity.
When I do this, I provide opportunities for students to see how I would play. I also show exaggerated non-examples. With this activity I pretended to hit my hand with a real hammer, while my preschoolers yelled, “No, don’t!!” at me. I also give a few students a chance to try out the activity, so their peers can see me help individual students succeed, which may answer questions that they hadn’t thought to ask yet.
During the ice picking activity, I sat near the kids who were hammering the golf tees because there were real hammers along with the toy hammers being used.
The great thing about this activity is that the toy hammers worked well too!
If your child has never used a hammer before, guide him while showing him how to pinch the tee with the fingers and thumb on his non-dominate hand. The hammer goes in his dominate hand.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
The hammer should tap the head of the golf tee. Some of my preschoolers tried to just push the golf tees into the block of pretend ice. It doesn’t work as well for sure!
While the golf tee ice picks are being hammered into the styrofoam ice, it’s easy to add learning into the activity.
Count the taps that it takes to get the golf tee all the way into the ice.
Count how many ice picks are in the ice.
How many ice picks are there if you take 2 out?
How many will there be after you tap that ice pick in?
Which ice pick is the tallest in the ice? Which is the shortest?
Is this the kind of activity that your own students or children will love?
Remember…you don’t want the ice to melt, so work those ice picks quickly, but carefully!