You may ask, how could tape of all things help young Pre-K students (ages 2 to 5) with developing fine motor skills? Believe it or not, the amazing properties of tape (color, cleanliness, move-ability) make it the perfect tool for developing young children’s gross and fine motor skills!
What Motor Skills do Pre-K Students Need to Develop?
The development of the mind-muscle connection is very complex. It’s extremely important for young children to develop both their “big” muscle skills and their “small” muscle skills to set them up for success in the classroom and beyond!
Gross motor skills are those which require whole body movement, using the bigger muscles of the body to perform everyday functions, such as standing and walking, running and jumping, and even sitting upright. They also include hand-eye coordination skills (like throwing, catching, kicking), as well as riding a bike or a scooter.
Fine motor skills, on the other hand, involve the engagement of small muscles in very deliberate (“fine”) movements, usually involving hands and fingers in coordination with the eyes. Developing fine motor skills requires a lot of practice. Without fine motor skills, a young child will struggle with movements that come naturally to an older person, like using a pencil, using scissors, tying their shoes, and many other important daily activities.
How can Pro Tapes® Products Help Develop Motor Skills?
Believe it or not, Pro Tapes® tape products make excellent tools in evolving these essential life skills.
Tearing tape to the right size and shape, cutting with a scissor, and peeling off the liner on double-sided products (like UGlu®) can all help with a student’s fine motor skills development.
There are also many tape-based activities that engage student’s gross motor skills in a fun (and organized) way! You can stick tape down just about everywhere – which means you can make race tracks, number activities and many other kinds of games on the fly.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the unique characteristics of tape that make it ideal for use in the classroom (and at home!), especially when you’re working with students as young as two to five years old.
1) Tape is Colorful!
It’s the first thing that any child will notice: tape comes in all kinds of colors! Just think back to the excitement of being given a big box of crayons to draw with. All of the colors options seemed dazzling!
Our tapes come in a fantastic range of colors:
- Pro® 46 Crepe Paper Tape comes in 12 colors
- Pro® Artist Tape comes in 11 colors (including 4 bright fluorescents that kids love)
- Pro® Pocket Spike Stacks have 5 bright fluorescent colors (plus, these rolls are kid-sized!)
While children obviously love colorful tape, educators love it too!
Our colorful tapes create the perfect educational opportunity for teaching young students about colors, shapes, names, numbers, and more.
Take this quick & easy project from Emma of Mummy Mummy Mum Blog for example. You can have students organize toys by their colors, and use tape to block off each category.
Bonus points for making different shapes out of tape for each color, too! There’s so many ways to customize this project to fit the lesson of the day!
2) Our Tapes Are Easy to Apply
Each of the tapes we’re featuring in this blog are easy for little fingers to unwind. Pro® 46, Pro® Artist, and Pro® Pocket Spike Stacks are made of soft backing materials (that is, the non-sticky part of the tape) and slightly less aggressive -but still strong for the job!- adhesives, which combined make the experience of peeling and ripping the tape easier.
3) Tape Cleans up Easily, and Leaves No Mess Behind!
If you feel like skipping the mess of paints and glues, tape is a great way to go! Our tapes stick to almost any surface, and they remove from most surfaces just as easily – without leaving behind sticky residues!
You can put tape down on your floors, walls, tables, desks, chairs – almost anywhere- without worrying about permanent damage to those surfaces.
Just peel up the tape when the activity is done, and toss it out… or re-stick it somewhere new! Tape is so versatile, you’ll find yourself applying it everywhere for quick crafts and labeling (the Pro® Pocket Spike Stack rolls are great for the latter, since they’re small enough to throw in your pocket and whip out when you need to label on-the-fly.)
4) Tape Makes it Easy to Practice Gross Motor Activities
Now that you know how our tape can be stuck down anywhere (and removed cleanly), we bet you’re starting to realize all the potential tape has for gross motor skill practice!
You can put down lines to create roads and parking lots for car toys to be pushed along, create all kinds of games like “Pom Pom Push”, or mark lines on the floor for children to walk and run and practice balancing on. You can even use the actual rolls of tape for hand-eye coordination practice!
5) … Tape Lets You Easily Practice Fine Motor Skills, Too!
Something as simple as unwinding, tearing, sticking down and peeling up tape is the perfect activity to train children’s fine motor skills. We adults may think it’s an easy activity, but for little hands, it’s actually quite challenging!
There’s all kinds of ways you can have students practice ripping and sticking down tape. This project where students wrap tape around sticks (by Deborah, of teachpreschool.org) couldn’t be any more simple; and yet, it’s a profound opportunity for children to practice all kinds of fine motor skills.
To quote Deborah,
So what benefit is wrapping tape around a stick? Well besides all the motor skills development involved (twisting, pinching, pulling, cutting) and the eye-hand coordination involved (getting the tape stuck where you want it to stick and keeping it going in the right direction) and the decision-making (choosing colors) and critical thinking (regulating how much tape to tear off the dispenser, calculating how much tape is needed to fully wrap a stick) and the concentration it takes to completely wrap a stick – the children are also exploring the freedom of creative expression and the use of their imagination. After all, a stick is not just a stick if you use your imagination!…
Well said! If you’re looking for more ideas on how to use tape for fine motor skill practice, check out our Pinterest board!
6) Tapes Like UGlu® Offer the Next Challenge in Fine Motor Skills
UGlu® is an excellent product for the Pre-K classroom: it’s a removable adhesive glue, but in a convenient tape-like format, which bonds to almost any surface. It comes in a variety of shapes like squares (dashes), strips and rolls.
Because UGlu® is non-toxic and less messy than liquid glue (and much less dangerous than hot glue guns!) it’s the perfect alternative product for sticking things together in the classroom safely.
Separating the liner can be tricky for a small child, but rest assured that with practice and patience, they will become experts!
Here’s How to Stick Down UGlu®:
- Remove one side of the liner by peeling apart the piece of UGlu®
- Place UGlu®, exposed adhesive side down, on the first bonding surface
- Press firmly across the entire surface of the remaining liner to ensure a strong bond is made between the UGlu® and the first surface
- Remove the remaining liner. Press the second surface together with first using strong even pressure for 10 seconds at each adhesive location to ensure a strong bond is created
And Check out this Video Demo on How to Stick Down UGlu®:
7) We have Specialized Tapes, Too!
Pro Tapes® makes all kind of unique tape products you may not even know about that can help around the Pre-K classroom.
Our Pro® Measurement Tape is a great example. Available in both Metric and Imperial measurements, this tape is perforated every 12 inches (25.40 mm), so you can stick a tape ruler just about anywhere!
It’s a great way to start teaching students how to compare sizes by measuring objects (or their feet and hands!) or for art projects.
Then there’s masking tapes like Pro® Scenic 714, which are specially designed for easy application and gentle removal for painting projects. It’s extra safe on walls, canvases and more. Use it when masking out lines for paintings, or helping students write their name out to make a “tape resist” artwork!