We are always looking for ways to practice fine motor skills and we love learning centers that serve more than one purpose. It might be a sensory table that incorporates literacy skills or an art activity that also teaches about shapes. We get “more for our money” so to speak, when children practice multiple skills at the same time. This Color Sorting activity doubles as Fine Motor Practice and keeps our children busy forever.
Our sensory table was filled with these Rainbow Chick Peas this spring and the students (and teachers!) loved them! We followed Dyan’s tutorial at And Next Comes L to make them and they turned out to be so beautifully vibrant and inviting. They have a nice weight to them which makes the sensory experience different from a rice or lentil bin. Plus, they are easy to locate when they fall on the floor and a cinch to clean up.
Since the children had previously had lots of experience just playing with the chick peas, we added clear tongs to the bin to start. (They are from the Dollar store and come in a 4-pack. Look near the party supplies.) They spent time scooping and grabbing the peas with the tongs.
For the next add-in, I programmed a 6-count muffin tin with colored circles to match the six colors of the chick peas. I attached a piece of Xyron Magnetic tape to the back so that the circles would stick to the bottom of the tin, but also so that it would be easy to change them to shapes or numbers or whatever we are going to do next.
At first, it was easier to sort the peas by hand. This child had the tongs in her right hand, but decided to use her left to do the color sorting.
After a few attempts, she started to use the tongs to do the same thing. Tongs are wonderful for fine motor practice because, depending on how the child holds them, they mimic a scissors motion or strengthen the pincer grasp needed to hold a writing utensil.
Sorting is such a fun and satisfying math activity– one of our students’ favorites! Have fun playing and learning with your children today.