I recently noticed an activity on Itty Bitty Love (Anne, a Montessori teacher's blog) where her students clicked Carabiners together to make a chain as an activity to develop fine motor skills. I thought it was a fabulous idea and most of all, I knew my three-year-old would love it.
Carabiners are simple snap hooks that you can find at camping, hiking, sports, local hardware stores or perhaps even in your garage. Ours are coloured but you can also find them inexpensively in plain colours too. They also come in different sizes. I presented Otto (43 months) with three different sizes to see what would work best.
I thought the smaller Carabiners would be the easiest for him to use as they are the lightest but Otto had the most success with the larger ones. The larger Carabiners were easier for him to manipulate and hold open the snappy part while connecting it to the next one. While ours are not sharp be careful as the children's fingers can get caught in the opening.
To begin with, Otto found these super annoying and he almost threw them away. He also didn't want another demonstration, he was determined to work them out himself. It took him around half an hour to go back to the work and it didn't take him long to start connecting the Carabiners and from there he loved this activity. Even though he can now use the larger ones easily, he finds the smaller ones challenging. I recommend for children three to four-year-olds to start with the larger size (our larger ones are 10cms/ 4inches in length).
Let's see what they look like in action!
These pictures were taken on Otto's second effort/session with the Carabiners. These are the larger ones, it took a little practice and lots of effort but after two sessions he was able to connect them - and found it satisfying!
You can see this is hard work for little hands. This activity requires strength, coordination, concentration, problem-solving, and persistence. Activities like this are ideal for preschoolers as they are helping to prepare the hand for writing and other fine motor activities like scissoring.
I love this activity as it's fun, once the child starts connecting the Carabiners they just want to keep going.
There is a sense of accomplishment when the child can see them linked together and their 'chain' getting longer.
There is also a feeling of success when you hear the 'click' when the Carabiners have clicked together.
Let me know if you try this at home!
Our Carabiners range in size from 6 cms (2.4 inches) to 10 cms (4 inches) long.