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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

A Helpful Hint to Improve Fine Motor Skills

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“Mrs. McCarthy, I like to color but my crayon just won’t stop at the line!” said Kate.  Some young children have yet to develop the fine motor skills needed to make their crayon “stop at the line.”  This often makes a child reluctant to color, even though coloring is great practice for improving fine motor skills.  Here’s a good trick to help your young child “feel” the line, while making coloring neater.

You will need: 

  • A bottle of glue
  • A piece of white paper
  • Optional: sugar or salt.


  • Start by drawing one large shape on the white paper (circle, square, triangle, heart, etc.) After your child goes to bed, run a continuous, thin line of glue along the edge of your drawing.For more texture you can sprinkle salt or sugar on the wet glue.Shake off the excess before setting it to dry.
  • Let the glue dry overnight. It will harden and be clear. You should be able to feel a slightly raised border.
  • When your child colors inside the shape he or she can “feel” the raised edge and know where to stop their crayon.
  • You can also do this trick with large pictures from a coloring book.Tear out the page to be colored, and run the glue line over the picture’s edge.  Let it dry and harden overnight. It should be ready for coloring the next day.

Children love “hitting the bump” that makes their crayon stop! It gives them confidence and control.  As their fine motor skills improve, eliminate the raised edge.

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