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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Kindergarten is about developing the whole child, and these fine motor mats with a back to school theme will help them start to develop those writing and cutting skills as well as preparing them for the world of school. For many students, August comes around far too quickly and school comes along before they’re truly ready to let go of summer vacation. However, for kindergartners, this is their first experience of formal school and they’ll be excited to get into the classroom and begin learning!
Fine Motor Mats In The Classroom
It’s essential that kindergarten students learn how to use their hands to manipulate small tools such as pencils and to perform precision tasks like cutting and modeling with playdough. These fine motor skills provide the bedrock for writing uniform letter sizes as well as key skills such as typing, drawing and building. At the start of the year, it’s not uncommon to see kindergarten students struggle with using their fingers for precision work, so using these fine motor mats will be a great place to start the learning process.
How To Use Back to School Fine Motor Mats
This fun free fine motor printable comes with ten common classroom objects, each with its name written in traceable letters underneath. If you’re using them as for fine motor playdough mats, print them full size and laminate them to have them reusable. You can also print 2 or 4 to a page if you’re planning on using them as a challenge for scissor work.
Kindergarten Activities For Back To School
For teachers, the start of the school year can also be stressful, so having these free fine motor printable sheets can be a lifesaver for when you need a quick activity or center. Some possible classroom uses for these back to school theme fine motor mats include:
Use playdough – while most fine motor skills focus on pencils and scissors, playdough can be a great gateway for those students struggling with hand strength and grip. Turn these into fine motor playdough mats by laminating the sheets and having students create the shapes out of playdough on top. They’ll have to focus on the shapes below, and you can add a challenge by having them use different colors (without mixing them of course!)
Create a mosaic – if you’re looking to create some back to school theme artwork for your classroom, give students a selection of small brightly colored bits of paper and model how to stick them down over the top of the shape to make a mosaic. You can run this as an independent center, but it works best as a guided session so you can teach them how to find good pieces for the edges before filling in the middle.
Get cutting – if you print these fine motor mats 4 to a page, you can have students practice their scissor work by having them cut out the shapes. They could then stick them down onto cards to create a matching game where they have to match the item to the words, or as visual labels around the room to help them learn where each object lives in your classroom.