Funky Fingers and Dough Disco

Your children will enjoy funky finger activities in Nursery, Reception and Year 1. Here is some information and ideas for you to support you child at home and join in with funky finger fun.


The benefits of having 'funky fingers'!

When children begin to write, their fingers and hands have to work as hard as a marathon runner's legs! No one would run a marathon without training first, therefore in the Nursery and Reception we aim to make those little hands and fingers as strong as possible to improve our children's fine motor control.

Fine motor control skills are not only important for holding pencils, but also zipping up coats and fastening buttons, cutting with scissors, using utensils, completing jigsaws and the list goes on!


What is Funky Fingers?


Funky Fingers a series of fun activities for children to build up their upper body strength (gross motor skills) and finger/hand strength and control (fine motor skills). There are a wealth of activities that you can do with your child to improve these skills and get them ready to write. I can recommend visiting the website ‘Therapy Street for Kids’ which has a lot of information on the different skills to develop as well as lots of great ideas.


On this page there are:

  • Pre-writing and early writing activity ideas to get you started
  • Examples of warm ups children can do before picking up their pencil
  • The letter families to help you practice at home

Pre-writing activities to get you started:

  • Complete activities whilst lying on their tummy, taking the weight through their elbows.    E.g. watching TV, reading a book, puzzles.
  • Climbing, seesaw, tug of war and swing activities with the child holding onto ropes.
  • Craft activities – cutting, scrunching, gluing and ripping paper and bending pipe cleaners.
  • Toy tools such as sawing, drilling, hammering, screws and bolts.
  • Games involving flicking small objects e.g. flicking balls of paper of a table into a ‘goal’.
  • Place a firm elastic band around tips of fingers and thumb. Open and close it 10 times with each hand.
  • Dough disco – pinching, pressing, rolling, squeezing, finger tapping and walking (visit for dough recipes and for fun videos at the dough disco)
  • Holding a handful of items in hand and posting them into a jar one by one (buttons, coins)
  • Picking up items with pegs, tongs, tweezers.
  • Swimming
  • Ribbon dancing
  • Threading beads, straws etc.
  • Walking fingers e.g. along tape placed on the table. Ring and little finger curled out of the way.
  • Pop bubble wrap
  • Turn keys in padlocks
  • Tying knots into string and linking paper clips
  • Posting items into the ‘hungry guy’ (tennis ball with slit in the top)
  • Picking up sequins off a table or stickers off a sticker sheet
  • Interlocking construction


Early writing activities:

  • Tracing and stencil activities
  • Colouring in activities, staying inside the lines.
  • Dot to dots
  • Drawing letter shapes in the air to music
  • Copying over letter shapes
  • Drawing letters in sand or shaving foam spread thinly on a table.
  • Write with chalk, crayons, finger paints, pencils, pens etc.
  • Write letters in the air with eyes shut.
  • Recognition of letters through touch (stick letters, magnetic letters, fuzzy felt, sand paper letters).
  • Drawing or writing on vertical surfaces (chalkboard, whiteboard, tiles at bath time with bath pens).
  • Drawing or writing with chalks on the ground or pavement
  • Water painting on outdoor walls with paintbrush.

Letter family groups:

Long ladder letters:

l, i, t, u, j, y


One arm robot letters:

r, b, n, h, m, k, p


Curly caterpillar letters:

c, a, d, o, s, g, q, e, f


Zig-zag monster letters:

z, v, w, x

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