Oliver’s teacher e-mailed the other day and said that Oliver needed to practice colouring at home. We had known for a while that Oliver had trouble with penmanship and so we had spent the summer getting him to practice holding a writing utensil. Our cottage was flooded with connect the dots sheets, mazes, and pre-school erasable books. By the end of the summer, he could hold a crayon with the correct fingers, but it was still a struggle for him.
Now it is almost Christmas and my son, who hates to colour or write or do anything crafty like cutting, is falling behind his classmates. He needs to develop his fine-motor muscles and Mom and Dad need to ensure he practices. So I started to prepare a list of activities that might help him:
- Beading bracelets
- Perler beads
- Putting coins in a piggy bank
- Using tweezers
- Lacing cards
- Colouring books
- Connect the dots
- Cutting shapes
But then the November issue of Chirp arrived with its fortune teller activity! What a fun way to help Oliver develop his fine-motor muscles! If you don’t have a subscription to Chirp (I’ll try not to hold that against you…), you need to get one (no kid in Canada should grow up without it!). Here’s the link so you can get your own: Chirp Magazine or you can often find them at the library as well. Oliver had plenty of fun quizzing everyone in the household with his weather-related fortune-teller.
I loved the activity (three cheers for Chirp!), but then I thought I could take their idea and make it even more rich for the classroom. Here’s why I’m so excited with my version:
- First and foremost, I love the activity because of its focus on fine motor development. Oliver had to cut, print, colour, fold and when he plays with it, he is using his tripod fingers (the fingers necessary for writing).
- Geometry: The template is an assortment of squares and triangles. Before you start colouring it, have your Kindie find the big squares, the small squares, and the medium squares. How many squares can they find? How many triangles? What shape do two triangles make? Do you see different types of triangles?
- Number sense: Oliver first had to write the numbers symbolically and I encouraged him to put them in order. Once he was done and started playing with the fortune teller, he was practicing one-to-one correspondence. We even snuck some more math into the teller by putting math activities on the inside (count as high as you can, count backwards from 5 or 10 etc).
- Reading or spelling: By using colours as the first layer, I am asking Oliver to learn and practice spelling the colour names. Oliver needed help, but now he can spell ‘red’ and ‘pink’ independently. He’s still working on blue and green though!
- Other curricular competencies: We changed the inside ‘fortunes’ to be activities. Some of them are academic (like sing the alphabet song) while some of them are just for fun (do the floss)!
Why else is a fortune-teller a great classroom activity? Because of the opportunities for differentiation!
- Have a child that can read? Have them choose colours with more than 4 letters.
- Have a child that can write? Have them write the names of the colours as well as colour them in.
- Have a child who can count higher than 10? Have them choose numbers higher than 10.
- Want to use the activity in another grade level? Have the children choose the ‘fortune’ to put in the center.
- Have other curriculum outcomes to cover? Include them as fortunes on the inside.
Rory is in grade 2 and made his fortune teller all by himself. I wasn’t even allowed to look at the inside until it was finished. Then I found out my fortune was, “You will be a cow!”. I may need to check his work first next time! Here is his version before he folded it.
Not sure how a fortune teller works? Here is a video of Oliver improving his fine-motor skills by using his!
However you choose you use it, your future looks bright with fortune-tellers! Want to tell your own fortunes? Click here for a template and instructions that you can use with your Kindie-kids!