Manipulatives increase strength and coordination in the small hand and finger muscles. For this activity, we added beads to a craft stick (placed into play dough) that we deemed, our “Unicorn Horns”.
Picking up the bead and manipulating it in your child’s hand until it was pinched between their thumb and forefinger, involved translation, shift and rotation movements of the bead within the hand. This promoted the tripod grasp.
Maneuvering the beads from their hands fostered visual discrimination as your budding writer selected the pattern that fit their mental image of what a unicorn horn should look like. Lastly, this activity was self-correcting, which encouraged creative thinking, problem solving skills, and spatial reasoning.