My children go through phases. There may be weeks where they will be consumed with a tub of rice. Then overnight, the interest in that tub of rice wanes and they can’t get enough of using scissors. They’ll happily sit, cutting up paper, yarn, anything they can get their hands on – (I have caught them with various villain action figures between those blades). Then overnight their interests will move over to play dough and the scissors will sit in their tin tubs collecting dust until their moment of glory appears again.

When play dough is all the rage in your household, here is a good fine motor activity for introducing the letter [s]. The more fine motor skill activities we provide for our children, the better we equip them to overcome handwriting difficulties, which may stumble them as writers.



We made some playdough stars by rolling up a ball of playdough, flattening it slightly with our palm, then pinching the edges to make a star shape. Describe the pinching like a bird pecking food to reinforce the pincer grasp.



To complement our stars, we also did some rainbow writing of the letter [s].


We consolidated the introduction to the letter [s] by placing all of our stars on our piece of paper and used our finger to trace of the letter [s].


Here are some ideas to further build upon the alphabetic principle of [s]

  • Show children a written lower case [s]
  • Model the mouth movement and sound [s]
  • Visually connect the picture/word “stars” with the letter sound [s]
  • Kinaestehtically open and shut your hands, simulating twinkling stars.

 N & M: 3 years, 11 months
May 2012

Lessons Learnt Journal
A version of this post was originally published as a guest post on Playdough to Plato.
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About the author

Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.

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