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Paper Plate Art: Sunny Side Up!

Preschool Fine Motor Skills Activities: Paper Plate Art: Sunny Side Up!

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My Sunshine

Looking for something to do on a rainy day? Let the sun shine in! This project uses supplies you probably already have in the house, and turns them into a sunshiny project that will work your preschooler’s fine motor skills (the muscles in the hand they need to strengthen to learn to write.)

What You Need:

  • Construction paper in a variety of colors
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Safety scissors
  • At least one paper plate

What You Do:

  1. Put a nickel on the table, give your child a piece of yellow construction paper, and show him how to tear the paper into small pieces, to match the size of the nickel. After your child has torn several pieces of paper, have him glue his pieces to the paper plate so that they are overlapping, or at least touching.  He should continue tearing and gluing until the entire paper plate is covered and very few white spaces show. (This project might not be completed in one "session.") This yellow collage will be the base for his sun.
  2. The yellow collage is the base for your child's sun. Now it's time to add the details. Draw a set of triangle on orange construction paper (enough to go around the paper plate), give your child a pair of safety scissors, and ask her to cut them out (more practice using those fine motor skills!). When she's finished, she can glue them to the back of the paper plate to create the rays of the sun.
  3. Now it’s time to give those hand muscles a final workout! Ask your child to use the markers to decorate the sun—with a happy face, different patterns, or whatever she’d like. Then hang her finished project from the window and let the sun shine in! More ideas for paper plate art…
  • Cover the paper plate in red, yellow, or green and add a stem and leaf to make an apple
  • Cover the paper plate in pink, add a nose, ears, and curly tail to make a pig
  • Cover the paper plate in orange and add eyes, a nose, and a mouth to make a jack-o-lantern
  • Draw lines on the paper plate to make it look like a beach ball and have your child cover each section in a different color

Remember that the process is more important than the final product.  The more your child draws and cuts when adding the details, the more fine motor practice he’ll get. So break out those extra paper plates, and let him get creative.

Sarah Richards has an M.A. in Early Childhood Development and a B.S. in Child Development. She's spent 6 years teaching kindergarten and first grade. Before that, she was a child development specialist for young children with special needs. She has also worked in the preschool classroom.

Updated on Jul 3, 2013
Printable Workbooks from Education.com
Find a printable workbook to go along with this fun activity. See Workbooks
See more activities in: Preschool, Fine Motor Skills
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