If you’re like me, as you’re wrapping Christmas presents, you keep little scraps of wrapping paper because you MIGHT use them later. Well, if you didn’t use those little scraps up, check out these fun ways to let your children play and learn with them all while building fine motor muscles.
Wrapping Paper Fine Motor Activities:
Ripping & Pasting
Ripping wrapping paper (even the cheap stuff) can be difficult if they don’t do it right. Initially, Lily, my 2 year old wanted to grab a fist full in each hand and pull the paper apart. Even my 4 year old, Caleb, wanted to rip the paper by pulling it in opposite directions. After a little instruction and some practice, they got the hang of it. I told them to pinch the paper front and back making their thumbs kiss in the front and their pointing finger kiss in the back. Then, I had them hold one hand still while the other twisted forward and down. Ripping is definitely an important skill to learn. Even as adults, we rip paper out of notebooks, checks out of the checkbook, and when you don’t have scissors around (and let’s face it… you can never find a pair when you need it) you rip coupons out, a phone number off a paper, the wrapping paper off a present, or a package of chicken nuggets out of your freezer.
Have you ever ripped the bar code off a coupon or ripped right through the phone number you just wrote down? Frustrating Huh? At this point, I’m just having my kids rip, but eventually, they’ll practice ripping in a straight line or later around objects. It’s a helpful skill to be good at.
I had my children keep their ripped paper in a small basket. When they were finished, I gave them ½ a piece of construction paper and encouraged them to make a picture. Their picture ended up more like a collage, but it was still a lot of fun. If you have older children, you might encourage them to rip around the images on the wrapping paper you provided them. For example, our paper had pictures of snowmen, snowflakes, candy canes, and Santa Claus. Children could practice ripping around those images without ripping through them and then glue them to the paper to make a scene. They might glue a family of snowmen with snowflakes falling around them and Santa Claus handing out candy canes. When finished, it would be fun to have your children turn their artwork into a story. Encourage them to write about what is happening.
It’s not necessary, but the best paper to use for this activity is the paper that has the dotted lines for cutting on the back. If your wrapping paper does have the lines, encourage them to follow the lines across. Initially, Caleb wanted to cut straight and then turn to cut out each square. To make things easier, I taught him to cut all the way across in one direction and then cut the strip in the opposite direction to create the squares.
If your paper does not have the dotted lines, I recommend encouraging your children to cut around the images on the front. Have them cut out the snowmen or birthday cakes or dinosaurs. Again, you could have them paste the pictures to a piece of paper to create a scene that they can write about in their journals. If you wanted to do something different, you might have them create a pattern with the pictures that they cut out.
Hole punching is tough for little hands, but with practice it can get easier. I can already tell my two are getting better and better, which means their little hand muscles are getting stronger and stronger! For our hole punching activity, I had my children cut the wrapping paper (that had dotted lines on the back) into strips of about 6 squares. Then, they used the hole punch to punch one hole in each square. This is good for learning one-to-one correspondence as well!
A fun activity for older children would be to have them roll a dice and then punch that many holes in the first square. Then, they would repeat the process for the other squares on the strip. From there, students could count or add up how many punches they made in all and compare their total to a friend’s to see who had more, less, or equal!
Do you have lots of extra wrapping paper? It’s a pretty cheap resource that you can use in many ways. Check out10 Creative Things to do with Wrapping Paper for more fun ideas to learn! Also, feel free to share what you do with others in the comments below or find me on Facebook or Twitter! I always love to hear from my readers!
God Bless You on Your Learning Journey ~
HEY! Are you interested in more ways to practice fine motor skills with your children? Check out these great resources!