SchoolFamily Voices

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.

Fun, Summer Activities that Develop Fine Motor Skills

Here are three enjoyable outdoor summer activities that help develop fine motor skills. They require no paper, pencils, or electronic devices! Plan each activity for a different summer day.

For the first, you will need:

  • A beach pail and a small, clean paint brush (about 3 inches wide, the kind used for indoor trim.)


  • Fill the pail about ¾ full of clean water
  • Let your child "paint" on the back side of your house, garage, or shed.
  • The up-and-down and side-to-side motions will help your child strengthen muscles needed for drawing, printing, and other fine motor tasks. Children love to see the "paint" disappear as it dries. This activity keeps young children productively occupied for a long time!

For the second activity you will need:

  • Thick sidewalk chalk (available at Wal-Mart, Dollar Stores, etc.)


  • Let your child draw and write on the driveway, sidewalk, or patio. Encourage big pictures, letters and/or words. (For example, a "Welcome Home" message to a returning family member.) Their art will last until the next rainstorm!

For the third activity you will need:

  • A can of shaving cream and an old tray or cookie sheet


  • Once outside, fill the tray or cookie sheet with shaving cream
  • Let your child draw using their finger, or a small Popsicle stick. They can draw pictures, write their name, practice capital and lowercase letters, or write words in the shaving cream. Your child can erase by smoothing a hand slightly over the cream.
  • Clean up is easy with the hose or a bucket of water.

Take advantage of the good summer weather and let your child learn while playing outside!

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#3 Shari 2013-04-22 18:27
Even more fun than shaving cream is whip cream that they can eat while playing on a clean, indoor surface. Also shaving cream on the shower wall when they are taking their baths. Lots of fun!
#2 Lauren 2010-07-07 22:50
These are great ideas - I can't wait to try them out with my nephew!
#1 carol 2010-06-29 23:05
What a delightful idea to use shaving cream as a writing medium!

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