Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

Whenever we put together a new piece of furniture, E is all over it, and she loves screwdrivers, screws and related items. I have no comparison point but I have to say I’m pretty amazed at her skills with a screwdriver.

To give her a way to further explore those interests and hone her skills without having to worry about the grown-ups trying to make progress putting together an actual piece of furniture or the limited number of screws it takes, I set up an invitation for fine motor play with screws and anchors, a screwdriver and a cardboard box for her.

 

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors (E was 33 months old.)

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You’ll need:

  • A cardboard box.
  • Screws and anchors.
  • A screwdriver or other means of making holes in the cardboard.

 

Please note: I chose to give E free reign over the screwdriver and let her punch her own holes. You do not need to do that with your kids! If you have concerns about how safely your child can handle a screwdriver (regardless of age), make sure to adjust this activity to his abilities (see suggestions below).

If you do decide to let your child handle the screwdriver in this way, make sure to use a box that doesn’t make it too hard OR EASY to punch holes. If the cardboard is too thick, there’s a risk of the screwdriver slipping off the box which can lead to injury. If the cardboard is too thin, it might be too easy to make a hole, and the screwdriver may go through the side of the box unexpectedly. This too poses a risk of injury – maybe even a greater risk than cardboard that’s too thick.

As you can see in the pictures, we simply turned over an Amazon box, and it was perfect for us. While it still took a bit of muscle to actually go through the bulk of the cardboard, it was pretty easy to cut through the top layer, which helped a lot to prevent slippage of the tip of the screwdriver.

Always supervise activities such as this one closely, explain how to safely handle items and step in if your child starts using them in an unsafe manner.

 

 

I’d made the first hole while I’d set up the activity, and E chose to start out fitting a screw into it.

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

Where there’s a screw, there’s an opportunity for some screwdriver practice!

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

She left the screw in place and started experimenting with an anchor in a different hole.

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

It wasn’t very easy to fit the anchors into the holes – I’d just randomly grabbed items from the garage, and while the screwdriver and screws were a pretty good match, the anchors were wider but much shorter than the screws. E tried different techniques to get the anchors in there more easily before deciding that she just needed to push harder. 

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

She put all her body weight into making new holes

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

so she could put in more screws and anchors – now she even combined the two.

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

She thought she’d be able to make the screws fit the anchors better and tried different ways of making that happen.

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

Suddenly, E got up to go get “Dr. Seuss’ ABC“, and we took a quick alphabet break.

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

Afterwards, E went right back to making holes

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

and picking out that perfect anchor.

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

Periodically, she’d pull anchors and screws back out of the cardboard, and here she’s checking out the empty holes from inside the box. {The box was laying on its side.}

fine-motor-play-with-screws-and-anchors-12

Overall, her favorite part was screwdriver practice. {Love how focused she was on this task!}

Simple Fun for Kids: Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors

 

 

Additional suggestions:

  • Depending on your child’s abilities and your comfort level,  you can cut halfway through the cardboard to make the tip of the screwdriver less likely to slip, or just punch the holes altogether. It’ll still be just as much fun for your kid!
  • If you punch the holes yourself, you can do it before your child gets started on the activity, or you could work with your child throughout the activity and let her point out where she wants the holes.
  • Use different sizes of anchors and screws, they don’t all have to match.
  • Use nails and have your child push them in with his hands {you may have to use thinner cardboard}.
  • Use a sheet or block of styrofoam instead of cardboard.

 

 

Does your child like real tools? Do you let him use them? Have you done any real life construction type activities lately? Leave a comment!

 

 

 

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