Check out this simple fine motor activity using nuts and bolts! It’s perfect for your list of robot activities. I have a random collection of nuts and bolts for of activities and crafts like this Father’s Day frame. Engineer was playing with them one day, and he had a blast! His enthusiasm for those simple pieces of hardware inspired me — that’s how this easy sorting and fine motor activity came to be!
Nuts & bolts make for a fun math and fine motor activity
Predictably, this didn’t take long at all to set up! First, I checked that each nut and bolt had a match. Then, I placed a selection of nuts into one container, with the bolt counterparts in another.
I didn’t give the children any instructions for the activity, as I wanted to see what they would do on their own. If they asked for help, I’d be there to prompt them with questions and suggestions. As it turns out, they didn’t need any assistance at all! I wasn’t really surprised about that, though.
The nuts and bolts were out for about a week during center time, as well as free choice time. During this time, the kiddos interacted with the materials in a variety of ways. Of course, some of the ways they used the nuts and bolts were a surprise to me! This is why I love doing “free exploration” with materials sometimes. Without the hindrance of my ideas, they choose to do so much more than expected!
I saw children sorting the nuts and bolts in a variety of ways. Some placed all the nuts in one pile and all the bolts in another pile. They sorted the nuts and bolts into many piles by size. Some of the kiddos even lined the nuts and bolts up from smallest to largest!
The children also explored which nuts fit with which bolts. They worked their little fingers hard attaching the nuts to the bolts. A few of the children were surprised to discover I had more nuts than bolts, so they worked to see how many could fit on one bolt.
What entertained me the most was watching the children building with the nuts and bolts! They stacked them on top of each other, trying to balance. A few of the students even used the nuts to attach multiple bolts to each other. Such creativity!
This oh-so-easy idea ended up touching on a variety of important preschool skills:
- Tons of fine motor work as they attached the nuts and bolts. Even picking up and sorting the hardware gave their fingers a workout.
- Lots of math skills – even more than I originally thought. They sorted, counted, and classified smallest to largest.
- Language skills as they discussed their findings and negotiated who was doing what. This ended up requiring a lot of back and forth!
- Creativity galore as they came up with new ways to create and play with the nuts and bolts.
- Sensory experiences as they touched the nuts and bolts, as they compared and contrasted them, and as they listened to the noises the hardware made.
For more nuts and bolts fun, check out the following ideas
- Filth Wizardy’s Giant Homemade Geoboard
- Spelling with Nuts & Bolts from No Time for Flash Cards
- How Wee Learn’s The Nuts and Bolts of Learning with Tools
- Printing with Nuts and Bolts and Screws from Picklebums
So, what do you think of this incredibly simple fine motor activity? Have your kids ever played with nuts and bolts?
Hands-On Preschool Materials
It is super important that we keep our classrooms stocked with materials that will give our students the hands-on learning experiences that they love (and need!). There are a few specific things that I always keep on-hand in my classroom. Check them out in the list below.
I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
- Safety scissors
- Dramatic play items
- Math manipulatives
- Dry erase markers
- Sensory items
- Play dough
- Craft supplies
- Playground balls
- Music and movement tools
- Books, books, and more books!
When it comes to preschool, this list is really just skims the surface of the wide variety of materials that can be used. The best thing about this age group is that they learn the most while playing. So, whether they’re playing on the playground, building with blocks, or creating a masterpiece, rest assured that the children are learning so many important skills, all while having fun!
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
Planning meaningful lessons for students week after week, all while balancing other teaching responsibilities and a personal life, can be a daunting task. That’s where Preschool Teacher 101 comes in to save you time!
Preschool Teacher 101 is excited to share with you some amazing lesson plans, activity packs, and much more! We offer a wide variety of themes that are frequently used in preschool classrooms, as well as some less common (but super interesting) themes. Click on the image below to learn more about our robot lesson plans!
Join The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101 today for exclusive access to our amazing products. And we even have three different membership options to suit your needs!
Natalie PlanetSmartyPants says
This is great not just for preschool, but for older kids too, especially for those who yearn for “real tools”! Great post!