There are many tools we use for learning activities in our classrooms. A toddler favorite is the Clay Hammer and Tee Tray. This is an excellent exercise to practice and develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The children love it!
The Importance of Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles that control the wrist, hand, fingers, and thumb. A toddler’s wrists, hands and fingers need to develop strength, dexterity, and fine motor control. Developing fine motor skills in early childhood helps build the foundation for future tasks including writing, reading, buttoning a shirt, and zipping a jacket.
Practice and Develop Fine Motor Skills
Activities that focus on fine motor work, such as the Clay Hammer and Tee Tray, are great for building dexterity and strength, enabling children to perform tasks without assistance and encouraging independence.
The action of hammering the rubber topped tees into the thick clay with the wood mallet develops the emerging coordination of the child’s wrist. After successfully hammering the tees into the clay, the child must then extract the embedded tees. This effort further develops fine motor skills and offers delight with the accomplishment. Once the tees are extracted, the child notices holes they created in the hard clay. With their best effort, the toddler proudly uses their pointer fingers to push the clay back into place. This is yet another fine motor exercise. Once complete, the child may repeat the activity or return the tray to the shelf.
In addition to working on fine motor skills, the heavy tray with handles on both sides also satisfies a toddler’s need to carry and handle heavy things by themselves which helps build their self-confidence. And what toddler doesn’t think it’s fun to hammer!