Monday, January 30, 2012

Chinese New Year Themed Preschool Activity: Chopsticks Practice

This is a really simple preschool or tot school activity that is great for fine motor skills. You can adapt it in many ways to suit the needs and level of your child.

After we made our pretend jiao zi, I let the boys practice transferring the play dough jiao zi back and forth from one bowl to another using chopsticks or a spoon. Aaron (3 1/2) was able to do this fairly easily with chopsticks, although sometimes he kind of cheated and helped the jiao zi along with his other hand. Andrew (2) got frustrated with the chopsticks but did really well with the spoon.

The consistency of the play dough jiao zi made them stick to the bowl more even than regular jiao zi, and I think that may have given the boys extra difficulty. You could try this with just small balls of play dough or with other small objects like miniature bean bags as well. I think they would work quite well.

It is interesting because small children here don't learn to feed themselves until they are much older than in America. Sometimes they don't start at all until they are even older than our boys, and then they start learning with a spoon and later move to using chopsticks. So several Chinese people have commented on how intelligent, skillful, and clever our boys are to be able to use chopsticks as such a young age. Of course this is kind of funny because they also do things with their chopsticks, like play the drum on their bowl, or squish their nose (the outside, but still) that don't really demonstrate those characteristics.

However, practicing using chopsticks to transfer things back and forth or just to eat with is great for building fine motor control. It is great hand eye coordination practice for any young child.

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