I am teaching the 3 year old early preschool class and we have been working on our fine motor skills. Some of the children are having a very difficult time with this area. Today we did an activity that involved squeezing a clothespin to open it and using it to pick up small pompoms. All the children grasped the concept which I was very pleased about---but some of them had a very difficult time squeezing the clothespin--and I realized that they just don't have the fine motor strength --- so I am brainstorming activities that will help them develop the strength and dexterity in their fingers and wrists---this is what I've come up with: Sponges ( fill up a bowl by soaking water up with a sponge and squeezing it into the cup), bean sorting (2 or 3 types of dry beans in a bowl and picking htem up one at a time to seperate into bowls or cups), making squishy bags (snack size zip-loc bags half filled with hair gel and adding sequins, foil confettit etc. and sealed with duct tape) that they can squeeze and pinch to make the sequins etc move around), bubble wrap (pinch and squeeze it to pop it), and water squirters (rubber ducks and fish that you put under the water and squeeze then let go to fill and then above water you can squeeze to squirt the water) I would love to be able to do a water gun because the trigger action is great for strenthening the index finger muscles, but I know I can't do that! I was going to make somthing that we used years ago--balloons filled with flour and tied make great squishy balls but we aren't allowed to use balloons in the center at all. I had thought about asking my director to make an exception if I tied the balloons inside panty hose so that if the balloon was to break the kids couldn't get it in their mouths. I do have one squishy ball and of course playdough and peg puzzles and the other "manipulative" toys like lacing cards etc-- but I'm looking for ideas for things that are outside the nor that the kids would be excited about playing with.