Nuts and bolts can encourage fine motor and in-hand manipulation skills. This activity is a great way to allow a child to fidget and still be engaged in an academically related task (can you tell that one of my jobs is in a school?).
1. Large box of nuts and bolts (after I bought them at a local hardware store I realized the Restore store also sells them much cheaper and for a good cause)
2. permanent marker
This could not be any easier to make. Use a permanent marker to write one letter on each nut, but make sure to write it on every side. I made several of each letter, especially the high frequency ones.
Directions for Use:
The child scans the array of nuts to find the desired letter and screws it onto the bolt. Pretty simple right?
Skills the Activity Promotes:
1. in-hand manipulation
2. fine motor skills
3. letter identification
5. visual-motor skills
6. visual scanning
7. figure ground
How to Grade the Activity:
1. vary the size of the nuts/bolts
2. look for single letters and work up to spelling whole words
3. vary the amount of nuts available for the child to scan
4. ask the child to switch hands
5. use tongs/tweezers to pick up the nuts and place in palm of hand before putting on the bolt
6. place several nuts/letters of a word in child’s palm and encourage the child to only use in-hand manipulation to move one nut at a time to fingertips to then place on bolt