I watched him as he confidently dove into our activity. Getting my 4-year-old to do any craft activity is a challenge, he would much rather be outside running around.
Time outside is important, and we love it, but as a teacher, I also know it’s important to spend some intentional time strengthening his fine motor skills.
Coloring books don’t cut it. He has no interest in drawing his own pictures. He likes play-dough for a little bit, and sensory bins could last him for an hour…but tearing paper is by far his favorite.
“Look, Mommy!” His eyes were peeking over the giant pile of paper he had torn. He was loving every minute of this, which was good because honestly, his fine motor skills could use some refining.
Benefits of Tearing Paper
There are many benefits of tearing paper, but the most important ones are:
- Improve hand strength
- Improve hand-eye coordination
- Develop pincer grasp
- Kids love it
When tearing paper, kids are strengthening the muscles in their hands. These muscles are essential for fine motor activities like buttoning, zipping, writing, cutting, drawing, and coloring.
Get Started with Tearing Paper
There are many things you can do with torn paper. The best part about these activities is that they are quick and easy to pull together…not to mention kids love them.
Grab some paper you have laying around the house. You can tear:
- Scrap Paper
- Printer Paper
- Recycled Cereal Boxes
- Old Worksheets from Pre-School
- Junk Mail
- Paper Plates
- If you want to get really creative, your child can color or paint printer paper first and then use it for the tearing paper activities
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Tearing Paper Activities
- Tearing paper sensory bin. This is the easiest activity to set up and will keep kids entertained for a long time. Put different kinds of scrap paper in your sensory bin. Include newspaper, printer paper, construction paper, cardstock, and even recycled cereal boxes. When you get the sensory bin out, kids just tear the paper. You can allow them to tear it however they want, or you can make lines and shapes on the paper ahead of time for the kids to tear.
- Tear paper to color in these printables or make your own. Kids love making pictures with our monthly themes, or any of our pictures to go with educational themes: space, farm animals, transportation, and ocean animals.
- Practice name recognition with tearing paper. Tear several different colors, and cover the letters in your name. You can also add patterns to the colors kids use, or count the pieces of paper that cover each letter. You can also add more/less and see which letter took the most pieces of paper and the least.
- Use torn paper to help learn the alphabet with our alphabet pack. Cover the letters to help with letter recognition, or a picture that uses the beginning sound for the letter you are focuising on. In our alphabet pack, each letter has a full page for uppercase letter, lowercase letter, both uppercase and lowercase together, and a picture that has the beginning sound.
- Tear paper to learn basic math concepts. Use tearing paper activities to learn number recognition, counting, or shapes.
- Create your own picture. Let your child’s imagination go wild when creating their own picture from torn paper.
- Tear shapes. Tearing different shapes will give your child practice of controlling where they are tearing. Unlike the activities above (which don’t matter how big or small the pieces of paper they are tearing), it’s important to follow a specific outline.
To Really Strengthen The Muscles in The Hand
Try tearing different weights of paper. Tearing a newspaper is a lot easier than tearing cardstock. Tearing cardstock is easier than tearing a cardboard cereal box. As your child is tearing paper, continually challenge the muscles in their little fingers by giving them thicker paper to tear.
There are many ways to strengthen your child’s fine motor skills, but tearing paper is simple and fun. Grab some scrap paper and see what your child can create. Let their imagination go wild, but be warned. You will end up with a giant pile of tiny pieces of paper by the time they are finished.
PURCHASE THE PRINTABLES
Are you ready to start tearing paper activities today? Check out the printables in our store, or click the images to see the products. These printables are simple print-and-go fine motor activities that your kiddos will love and will last all year long.