Our 5 Favorite Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers

Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers

At Strelitz International Academy, we work hard to ensure your child is set up for long-term academic and personal success, and it starts the moment they walk through our doors. Our preschool program is designed to help your child hit all major developmental milestones. Whether that be social development, language development, physical development, or motor development, we help with it all. One of the most important milestones we help with is fine motor skills. Through the many fine motor activities we provide for our preschoolers, your child can go into our elementary age IB World School Primary Years Program Virginia Beach prepared for the next step. 

Fine Motor Skills—Why They’re Important

As children develop, they hit a few key milestones—learning to crawl, learning to walk, learning to speak, and learning to perform daily tasks. Part of their development is learning fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are the skills or tasks that we perform daily with small muscles throughout our body. This includes zipping up jackets, brushing our teeth, tying shoe laces, grasping a pen, typing on a keyboard, etc. Learning to strengthen and control these tiny muscles is the process of developing fine motor skills. This developmental stage is essential in helping children become independent and prepare for primary school.

Our Favorite Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers

While we continually develop our fine motor skills throughout our life, preschool is the age where fine motor skills are just beginning to develop. It is for this reason that preschool is the most crucial stage for increasing fine motor skills. Children can learn this through various age-appropriate activities such as playing with playdough, blocks, puzzles, doing arts and crafts, and playing pretend. 

Fine Motor Skills Puzzles

Playdough

Playdough is one of the best ways for children to develop fine motor skills. With playdough, preschoolers can squish, squeeze, pull, poke, press, roll, and pinch the dough into exciting shapes. This tactile experience is entertaining and helpful for developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. 

Blocks

Another fine motor activity that preschoolers can participate in, is blocks. Whether this is wooden blocks, legos, Lincoln logs, or others, blocks introduce balance, alignment, transferring, etc., to their small muscles. 

Puzzles

Similar to blocks, puzzles help children develop fine motor skills by helping them recognize shapes, twist them, flip them, turn them, etc., to fit into a specific hole. These small movements help to strengthen their muscles and make them more adept.

Crafts

Another great fine motor activity for preschoolers is participating in arts and crafts. This can include any craft, such as painting, drawing, coloring, or even origami. By gripping a pen, pencil, paintbrush, or crayon, the muscles in their fingers learn to move independently of their wrist and hands. Similarly, origami requires folding, cutting, etc., which uses spatial awareness in addition to fine motor skills to create an entertaining result. 

Play

Interestingly enough, playing pretend is also an effective way to strengthen fine motor skills. Pretending to cook a meal, eat a meal, or go grocery shopping allows preschoolers to practice their fine motor skills in a fictitious real-world setting. Through these activities, they can learn how their bodies function in relation to the space around them without the dangers that come from actually cooking.

Fine Motor Skills in Later School Years

Fine Motor Activities in the Classroom

The development of fine motor skills not only helps children perform daily tasks but also prepares them for success in their later school years. Activities such as writing, typing, performing labs, filling out tests, etc., all use the fine motor skills developed in childhood. While it is possible to learn these skills later on in life, why not set your child up for success earlier? Instead of having to catch up, they will already be ahead. 

Strelitz International Academy—Incorporating Fine Motor Activities in the Classroom

Practicing motor skills is an essential part of their childhood development. Preschools and daycares should incorporate these fine motor activities into everyday classes to help children grow and learn. At Strelitz International Academy, we provide preschoolers with a wide variety of activities that promote fine motor skills development. Through self-directed learning and teacher-guided play, preschoolers continue to develop their fine motor skills and general motor skills. We offer Magna-tiles, blocks, play dough, puzzles, and dramatic play areas (kitchen, baby dolls, and cars), that all aid in this development.

It is through our preschool program that Strelitz students can progress and enter our elementary age IB World School Primary Years program in Virginia Beach. Our preschool/kindergarten graduates learn and develop in a way that sets them up for later success in our program. Discover how the IB program works and learn more about how we introduce new skills to our preschoolers by visiting our website. 

Increase your child’s long-term success. Speak with the Director of Admissions and schedule a tour today by calling us at 757-424-4327.

Most Significant Long-Term Advantages of Preschool Programs

Teacher and students in a preschool classroom

As a parent, you are dedicated to the long-term success of your child. You want them to thrive and become active members of the community at large. To set them up for success, it is important that you provide them with a quality education.

Strelitz International Academy is a private preschool near Virginia Beach that is dedicated to setting your child up for success in school and beyond. Our program is designed to have long-term advantages on your child’s life. Sounds too good to be true? Allow us to explain.

High-Quality Programs Have Lasting Effects

When discussing the long-term advantages of preschool programs, it is important to note that all evidence provided relates to the effectiveness of high-quality programs. But what makes a preschool program high-quality?

High-quality programs allow children to initiate their own learning activities, and create an environment in which children feel safe, secure, and loved. This includes kind and caring teachers, involved parents, an adaptive curriculum driven by the child, and developmentally appropriate activities. With this understanding, children are able to develop and thrive intellectually, socially, and physically.

Long-Term Advantages of a High-Quality Program

Now that you have a better understanding of the type of program that provides advantages, let’s take a look at the advantages themselves. The long-term benefits of a high-quality program can be split into two main categories—school performance and social integration.

Higher School Performance

According to a study performed by MIT College of Economics, children that attend high-quality preschool programs are more likely to graduate high school, more likely to take the SAT, and more likely to enroll in college.

Due to the nature of these programs, children develop a stronger connection and appreciation for education and the school system. This appreciation follows them through their primary school years and continues through their secondary school years and beyond.

Better Integration Into the Community

In the same study, students that attended a high-quality preschool had fewer school suspensions in high school and were less likely to experience juvenile incarceration. In addition, these advantages can increase in later life in regards to overall income, health, and life.

According to another study by the National Bureau of Economic Research “Other important sources of benefit from the program are gains in parental income while participants are young, gains in later-life income, and decreases in criminal activity. The study finds an overall benefit-cost ratio of 3.2:1 and an internal rate of return of 11 percent.

When decomposed by gender, the results are much stronger for males because the main benefits are reduced criminal activity and improved health, both of which show stronger effects for males.”

A High-Quality Program—International Baccalaureate

One of the high-quality programs available to students in the United States is the International Baccalaureate (IB) World School program. The IB program allows students to drive their own learning experience, think critically, solve problems, become more culturally aware, and engage with a diverse community.

While the IB program is not currently available for preschool students, Strelitz International Academy (SIA) utilizes the same teaching style with its preschool children. By taking a similar approach to learning, preschool students at SIA are provided a high-quality program and prepared to take on our IB elementary program in Virginia Beach.

High-Quality Private Preschool Near Virginia Beach

Strelitz International Academy offers private pre-k programs in Virginia Beach. Our students are set up for success from the very beginning of their education journey. We take on a proactive teaching role in your child’s life, guiding them towards educational rigor, emotional development, and community engagement.

Students that attend SIA go on to attend rigorous programs in high school and beyond. Our well-rounded curriculum strives to impact your children and help them thrive in the world outside of school. Are you ready to increase your child’s long-term success? Speak with the Director of Admissions and schedule a tour today by calling us at 757-424-4327.

Fall Fun at Strelitz International Academy

One of the endearing qualities about preschoolers is that everything, including the changing seasons, is still a new experience. This is an age when it’s easy to get children outside where they can appreciate the wonders of nature. Encourage your child’s curiosity and creativity with hands-on activities that celebrate the beauty of fall.

We created a variety of fun options for our students to explore, from playing in piles of leaves to investigating the pumpkin patch to making new friends in the petting zoo. Other encouraging activities included cornhole games, pounding pegs into pumpkins, making leaf rubbings, and of course, eating fall snacks!

This is only one of the special experiences that are part of our Early Years Families Program, where we concentrate on helping children flourish. We’d love to have your child join our school community. Enrollment is now open for our 2022-23 school year. Click here to find out more.

While you might not have a pumpkin patch or a petting zoo at your disposal, there are lots of options for celebrating autumn at home. In southeastern Virginia, we’re fortunate to be in a part of the country that usually offers a full spectrum of leaf colors in October and November.

Playing in a pile of them never gets old (see above) but there are even more fun activities that start with a leaf hunt, and end with your little ones getting creative with whatever they find.

Sticky Leaf Tree

What You’ll Need: fall leaves, contact paper, markers, tape.

Peel the back off of a long piece of contact paper and place it sticky side up on the table. Draw the outline of a tree with markers, then tape it to the wall. Your preschooler can then fill in the tree by sticking on the treasures they’ve found outside.

Leaf Rubbings

What You’ll Need: fall leaves, white paper, a white crayon, watercolor paints, and brushes.

Place the leaves under a white piece of paper and give your child a white crayon to scribble over the paper. This creates a rubbing. When your little one paints the rubbing with watercolors, the leaves are revealed.

Leaf Confetti

What You’ll Need: fall leaves, hole punch, glue stick, white paper.

Who knew confetti could be both pretty and biodegradable? This activity couldn’t be simpler and helps practice fine motor skills. Give your preschooler a hole punch to make confetti by hole-punching the leaves. Both the leaves and the confetti can be glued down to make some fabulous fall art. Another option is to crush up the leaves and glue them down on a tree template.

Leaf Memory Game

What You’ll Need: fall leaves, clear contact paper, card stock.

For this activity, make sure you have at least two of each leaf you gather. Cut the cardstock into rectangles large enough to fit your leaves, then do the same with the contact paper. Place a leaf on each piece of cardstock. You might want to use a small piece of tape or a glue stick to make sure it doesn’t move around. Then, place the contact paper carefully over each card. Once you’ve made all of your pairs of cards, turn them over and shuffle them around. Then have your child flip over two cards at a time to find a match.

Are you looking for a private Virginia Beach preschool for your 2 or 3-Year-old?

Strelitz International Academy is known for providing some of the best private school education in Hampton Roads within a warm and nurturing environment. We believe your child will flourish in a smaller class with a unique curriculum. Our exemplary teachers, staff, and administrators are all committed to putting your child on the path to a lifelong love of learning and educational excellence. To find out what other parents have to say about SIA, click here. Please give us a call at 757-424-4327 to find out more, or to schedule a visit to our campus.

Summer Fun for Toddlers

Two toddlers playing with magnet pins

Adventures in Science Week Led us to Many New Discoveries!

Science offers so many exciting ways to engage young students. Our Adventures in Science Week was a fun-filled five days of activities and experiments we hope might start our early learners on the path to a life-long love of science.

Toddler Class

Magnets are pretty magical, even if you understand the properties behind them. For our magnetism activity, we learned how to use a magnetic block to push and pull paper clips through a plastic bag, watching as a trail of clips lengthened as we swirled it on top of the bag. The children also built with the magnet blocks, quickly figuring out that they only attached when they were placed in the right direction.

During our playground time, we traveled into another area of science and scooped up a cicada to examine. Our children were very curious to look at this bug! We taught the concept of evaporation by wetting down boxes and having the children “water paint” them as they dried.

For our weather unit, we created our own clouds and rainbows in a container using common household ingredients. The children were fascinated as they watched shaving cream puff up into clouds. Dripping watercolors over the clouds created a mesmerizing rainbow as the colors seeped through. The students were so entranced that we found another colorful science project involving the properties of oil and water.

Infant Class

Our adorable infant class also had a fun week, beginning our regular outside water play. The babies saw some older toddler friends in the opposite playground and had a good time interacting with them. What a great organic way to learn about being a part of a larger community, and the roles we all play within that community!

The class continued working on sitting up and tummy time. At Strelitz International Academy, we spend a lot of time focusing on strengthening core and neck strength in our wee ones, all through play activities. This is essential to helping them move up to the next level of their gross motor development.

You can recreate a simple sensory activity at home that was a big hit with both the babies and teachers. All you have to do is pour a handful of baby soap into a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer or whisk to stir it up, adding a little bit of water to loosen it up. Voila! You’ve made soapy foam bubbles!

Our Adventures in Science Week activities are just a few examples of the many ways to keep your young ones engaged and creative during the summer months. At Strelitz International Academy, our lively educational games keep your children active and learning all year long. Since the early years are crucial to healthy brain development, we encourage inquiry through play, singing, early literacy, and verbal acquisition at all developmental stages.

Searching for a “top private school near me”? We are a top private school serving Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake with a proven track record of exceptional education. Strelitz’s International Academy’s IB Primary Years Program offers an integrated curriculum of core subject areas, supported by our specialty classes. Our culturally enriched curriculum benefits students in a variety of ways.

Our Infant/Toddler Program is for children six weeks to two years old. We’d love to welcome your child into this stimulating, supportive environment. There are still a few spots open for the 2021-2022 school year! For more information or to schedule a tour of one of the best private elementary schools in Virginia Beach, please contact Carin Simon, Admissions Director at 757-424-4327 or email.csimon@strelitzacademy.org. We look forward to hearing from you.

Advantages of Preschool for Toddlers

Three girls studying and doing there daily chores

As your sweet baby grows into a more independent child, you may be thinking about preschool. Even though it might be hard to send your little one off to school for the first time, providing your child with a quality private preschool education sets your son or daughter up for success.

The emotional skills and understanding of the world that children develop while very young will help them become constructive members of society throughout their lives. Research shows that preschool graduates are better prepared for school and eventually, earn more money as adults.

Here are some important reasons why private preschool is so important for toddlers:

Preschool Teaches Children How to Learn

Young children are constantly soaking up experiences like a sponge through playing and observing the world around them. Acclimating them to a school setting while toddlers is a great way for children to learn in ways that interest them, and instill the idea that learning, and school, is fun.

Preschool Develops Social Skills

Preschool is probably the first place where a child will spend long periods of time with other children and adults outside the family. This new environment provides the chance to learn essential interpersonal skills, such as how to pay attention, listen, cooperate, make friends, and learn the basics of conversation.

Preschool Teaches Children How to Self-Regulate

Inevitably, any time children play and engage in activities together, conflicts arise. Those times of frustration and anger are opportunities for teachers to provide “teachable moments,” where they can encourage children to notice the effect their behavior has on others and start practicing how to resolve conflict. These emotional skills will be vital to preschool graduates throughout their entire lives.

Preschool Boosts Pre-Literacy Skills

A big part of every preschool day are the variety of games and activities that help children build pre-literacy skills. These can include singing alphabet songs, learning rhymes to help distinguish between sounds, listening to stories read by their teacher, and playing with magnetic alphabet letters. An early positive association with reading often leads to a lifetime love of it.

Preschool teachers help children develop language capabilities by introducing new vocabulary and asking thought-provoking questions.

Preschool Gets Children Ready for Math

Along with reading, preschool builds the foundations for future success in math through calendar time, guided play and fun activities like sorting, matching, or counting games. Certain board games are also useful at helping young students develop an understanding of categories and numbers.

Preschool Nurtures Children’s Curiosity and Creativity

Young children have lively imaginations. It’s important to nurture their active minds to fuel learning and creativity. Preschool environments are set up to encourage and stimulate exploration. A good preschool teacher will encourage children to be curious and develop their own ideas and thoughts. They will ask questions and listen to children’s ideas rather than pushing “correct” answers.

Preschool Teaches Children How to Be Responsible

Preschool children are often given chances to practice how to be responsible. These include washing their hands, keeping personal belongings in cubbies, and putting toys back in their proper spots. In addition to self-care, preschoolers learn how to take care of others by helping other children learn skills they’re more competent at or by helping out in the classroom.

Preschool Helps Children Develop Cognitive and Motor Skills

Children build cognitive skills by engaging in activities that challenge them to try new things, ask questions, solve problems, and be more aware of the world around them. Preschool is centered around these types of activities, so children are able to learn more.

But the mind isn’t the only important part of your child’s development. In addition to outside play time, many preschool activities help children develop fine motor skills and physical coordination. For example they might be given projects that involve drawing, threading beads, even cutting with scissors.

Preschool Prepares Children for Kindergarten!

Over the years, kindergarten has become increasingly academic. A high-quality preschool education program will offer children the skills development they’ll need to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.

After having learned basic social and communication skills, they’ll be more comfortable cooperating and asking for help. With strong pre-literacy, cognition, and math foundation skills, they’re less likely to struggle.

The Best Private Preschool in Hampton Roads

Are you looking for a private preschool in Virginia Beach for your 3 year old? The best preschools help children develop a drive to learn that they will take with them throughout their time in school and throughout their lives.

At Strelitz International Academy, our staff, administration, and teachers believe in inquiry-based education rather than the standardized curriculums used in public school. Our Early Years Programme follows the guidelines of developmentally appropriate practice promoted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children(NAEYC).

The Strelitz International Academy is an International Baccalaureate® World School for students between the ages of 3 and 12 (kindergarten through 5th grade).

A private preschool might just be the perfect choice for your toddler. We invite you to come join us, learn more about our curriculum and our dedication to helping children learn so we can get their journey started. Click here to find out more, or please give us a call at 757-424-4327.

Top Preschool Learning Activity Ideas in 2021

Teacher guiding small students at Strelitz International Academy

Learning at home can be difficult for some children, but it can be even more challenging for parents—especially for those who have no previous teaching experience or training like you would find at a top private school in Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia beach. So, what’s a flustered mom or dad supposed to do when the kids are getting antsy and you’ve run out of ideas on how to keep them entertained while also providing learning tools at the same time? We’re here to help!

Below are a few fun and educational activities you can do with your children at home to keep them active and excited:

Simon Sez It: Okay, so the name of the game may be grammatically flawed, but this old standard can help keep kids active and teach them to pay attention at same time. If you’re not familiar with the concept, you are Simon and everything “Simon sez” must be done by the children participating. So, if you say “Simon sez, hop like a bunny,” everyone should be bouncing around, including you.

The idea is to trip your audience up by rattling off several “Simon sez” things to follow in a row, then doing one gesture without saying “Simon sez” first. Example: “Simon sez, hop like a bunny (you hop). Simon sez, touch your nose (you hop and touch your nose). Stop hopping (you stop).” Anyone else who stops hopping is “out.”

Scavenger Hunt: Create a “map” for your children to follow, then provide clues to help them move on to each new phase of the hunt. You can do this in your home, the backyard, or at a local park. There are several ways you can create clues. One is to take a picture of something where the next clue will be. Your children then need to find that object and go to it.

To make things a little more difficult, you can cut the picture up and they will need to piece it back together first. Or, you could create a cypher where the number “1” is associated with the letter “A” and so on, then leave clues with numbers that, when solved, will lead to the next clue location.

Example: 2-1-20-8-18-15-15-13 spells out “BATHROOM.” For extra fitness, throw in an activity at each clue station, such as “Do 10 jumping jacks before solving” or “Make up a crazy dance move.” For additional fun, you can also leave small toys, treats, or snacks at each stop.

Missing Number Match: Write numbers from 1 to 9 on a popsicle stick, leave one number off each stick. Then write a single number from 1 to 9 on nine different clothespins. Give your child one of the popsicle sticks and have them find the right clothespin that matches the missing number. Then have them clip it to the stick to fill in the sequence.

When doing a search for a “top private school near me,” click on Strelitz International Academy. We use similar educational games to keep your children active and help them learn at the same time while they are under our care. As a top private school serving Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake, we’d love to have your children come join us, so we can all learn together.

If you’re ready to send your children back to school, contact us on 757-424-4327 or schedule a visit to learn more.

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