We made some alpha rocks at Camp Mom last week, an idea that has been floating around in my head since I saw this post last summer. We prepared by picking up all of the smoothest pebbles we could find, and giving them a quick wash and dry. Instead of stamping letters on the rocks, however, I decided to show the kids how to use rub-on letters to 'up' the fine motor challenge a notch. (I grabbed the letters for 99 cents at Michaels; I see they're also available here.)
I cut out the individual letters. The kids took each letter, placed it on a rock (shiny side up) and rubbed over the letter with a stick until it "magically" transferred on to the stone. There is a momentary wow! factor which is quite reinforcing. Especially since it takes a bit of effort for little hands to stabilize the small rock in one hand while moving the stick with the other. This requires some coordination, but, once mastered, the kids are off and running. And you can feel great knowing that this kind of coordination also prepares them for other fine motor tasks that require one hand to take the lead while the other hand assists, such as stabilizing the paper while writing, cutting paper with scissors, buttoning and zippering, and so on, and so on.
And once you're done with all of that work you have a great set of alpha rocks which doubles as pretty, playful, and practical decor. Ours are planted on the backyard table right now for some naturally-occurring word play. So. Much. Fun. Especially when you find messages like this one...
This rocked my world the other day. Gotta love it!