I recently came across Shonette Bason's rather wacky 'Dough Disco' idea for developing fine motor skills. It took me a while to pluck up the courage to give it a go...I tried to convince my TA's to lead it, but they told me I had no self-respect left to lose and should therefore do it myself!
After a few sessions I started to get the hang of it, and the children enjoy it so much they ask for it on a daily basis. We have a new motto in Nursery...'If your fingers aren't aching, you're not trying hard enough'...not to be taken out of context!
If you haven't heard of it before, here's Shonette demonstrating...
We like to start off with a slowish Ed Sheeran song, and then increase the pace and energy to Jessie J's Laserlight (the chorus is a good opportunity to rest the fingers and jump/bounce around for a bit).
Initially the children found it difficult to use individual fingers, especially in a given order, but the development of strength and coordination is rapid. I noticed a spin-off benefit in that the children were also getting better at showing numbers using their fingers in our maths sessions.
This gave me the idea of adding counting into our dough disco sessions. It has worked very well indeed...adding rhythm and physical activity seems to really help the children with their counting. We now count using numbers up to 50, counting forwards and backwards between given numbers.
Counting along to music leads you towards using multiples of 4 in order to keep with the rhythm, e.g. let's count forwards from 4 to 12. This means we're always crossing 10's boundaries, which is a good thing to practise.
I'm tempted to try using the tango so we can count between multiples of 3. I could even 'dust off' my 1980's progressive rock album collection, with all it's weird and wonderful time signatures, and practise counting between multiples of 5 or more. See...I've still got some self respect left!