Improve Printing and Fine-Motor Skills Using An Old Tennis Ball!


A pendulum ball has the potential to improve the quality of fine-motor skill when used at home and in the kindergarten classroom. 

Cutting, pasting, and printing are prime activities in a Kindergarten classrom. 

They are activities that give children practice to develop the fine-motor skills they need to meet the writing requirements of first grade.

Is the child who makes a mess of these activities unable to see the lines?

Is his (again, it's mostly boys!) motor development inadequate for the task?

It's important to distinguish whether the product is sloppy because the child doesn't care.

Is his attitude is one of get the job done and over with? 

Did anything work?


Is it truly inadequate fine-motor skill development?

Is it that the child can't or won't sit still?

You, as parents, may well be aware of your child's fine-motor development...long before your child's teacher raises the issue in the first progress report.

Did you know what to do about it?

Did you do more of the same activity in hopes that fine-motor would kick in?

Teacher compensations may include selecting gross-motor tasks for these children. Straight line cutting replaces cutting along curves. Large scissors or large primary pencils may replace their smaller versions. Increased attention by the teacher when performing these tasks sometimes helps.

It may take all of the kindergarten year, and most of the first grade year for these children's fine-motor skills to develop, adequately.

Drawing attention to the less than desirable quality of the product rarely proves effective in changing the situation.

More of the same certainly doesn't seem to work.

The most desirable solution is one where the activity is pleasing to boys while working on the skill, simultaneously. Squeezing a ball would work if that activity involved the eyes.

Unfortunately, it doesn't meet the criteria needed to have the desired effect.

Cutting, pasting, and printing are all
hand-eye coordination activities!

More practice at doing the same activities, in which there is little success, is a slow process. It has the potential to move from I can't ... to ... I won't!


Coloring, where the expectation is to stay within the lines, won't appeal to boys. The girls will almost always outshine the boys. There are exceptions, of course....the boy who is artistic, for instance.

The criteria, then, for a desirable activity is one where:

..hand-eye coordination is uppermost
...there is rhythmic increase opportunity
...there doesn't appear to be a connection to the classroom activity
...there is boy appeal (girls like it, too)
...the parent or teacher can use language of opportunity and encouragement.

An old tennis ball suspended from the ceiling is a wonderful way to improve cutting, pasting, and printing.  Done right, eye-hand coordination and finger dexterity improve very quickly.

This pendulum ball activity helps to develop control of each individual finger ... on each hand.  It also helps a child who has a lazy eye work the muscles so that both eyes converge on the same point ... at the same time.

In doing these activities, a child can make rapid gains in observation ... in thinking ... in problem-solving ... and in sensory integration.


The kindergarten teacher may even remark on significant improvement in your child's attention, learning rate, and performance levels.

So ... enjoy this fine-motor development activity with your child.  Remember to use the language of opportunity and encouragement

Fine-motor skill development is excellent preparation for the learning requirements of first grade.
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