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Developing Fine Motor Skills in Toddlers Part 2

I’ve been wanting to do some art and craft with Noah, but I’ve been hesitant to start, because I don’t think I can deal with the mess. We live in a fully carpeted serviced apartment in Adelaide at the moment, and the only places that are carpet-free are the kitchen and bathroom. 

First, I got him some washable bath crayons from Crayola.

I let Noah use them on the kitchen floor, and he had quite a bit of fun scribbling with them. Sometimes, I would also allow him to doodle on his high chair tray during meal-times, though he seems to prefer cleaning away his ‘artwork’ with a wet wipe more than actually creating any kind of art.


I started looking around for a ‘cleaner’ way for him to doodle, and was pleased when I came across a cheap, no-brand, travel magnetic doodle board at Target. However, the pen isn’t attached to the board with a string, which means I’ve lost it on a couple of occasions. Noah also likes to put the pen in his mouth, and because it’s quite small, I’m concerned that he might one day try to swallow it. The quality of the board isn’t very good, and after some time, parts of the board can’t be properly erased anymore. I’ll probably try to get him a better quality one when we go back to Singapore, instead of bringing this one back.

has pretty good reviews online!

Doodling on the tiny magnetic doodle board



I spotted a water-based doodle mat at Kmart, and thought Noah might have more fun with that instead, because it’s bigger. I also really like the Aquadoodle Travel Doodle, which will be very handy when we travel, but decided to try the cheaper version first.

Our water-based doodle mat came with a stencil and some foam pieces for tracing, but I don’t want to run the risk of Noah eating the pieces, so I haven’t given them to him yet. He’s more than happy to scribble on the mat with the water pen, though I have to watch him closely, because he sometimes puts the pen into his mouth. I also like that there are some simple step-by-step drawings all along the perimeter of the mat, which I’ve used as a guide to draw some things for Noah. He still hasn’t learnt how to hold the pen properly, despite me trying to correct his grip, so that is something that we have to work on.

Doodling on the mat 


‘What do you mean I shouldn’t squat on my drawings?’ 


Another mummy blogger suggested that I get him Water Wow books, which I actually never heard of. A quick search on Amazon yielded some very interesting reviews and I got C to bring some back when he went to the US for work recently.

This is a huge hit with Noah, because it has his favourite vehicles, and he can play with it for quite some time. I love that the water-based paintbrush/pen can be stored neatly in the cover, and that the book is such a handy size. It fits perfectly into his backpack, and he carries it around with him when we go out for meals, so that he can play with it while we eat. The book is a bit misshapen now, because he’s been playing with it so much, and the water kind of does that to the sturdy pages, but it can still be played with, so it’s not really a problem. I also got the other books in the series, plus the splash cards, but I’m saving them for when we get back to Singapore, since he’s quite content with one book only at the moment.

I would get this if I had a daughter!

Noah ‘painting’ 


“Ec- tor!” (His version of ‘excavator’) 


I really like this series of Melissa and Doug books, because they are so convenient and clever! The pictures are really cute, and the colours appear ‘magically’ when we sweep the brush across the page. No need to colour carefully within the lines, or worry about him getting paint all over himself. The best part is that when the page dries up, the colours disappear, and we can paint the same picture over and over again. There’s also a list of items to find on each of the pictures, and I think older kids might enjoy doing that.

Noah still hasn’t learnt how to hold the pen/brush properly, and even when I try to correct his grip, he reverts to his preferred way, ie holding the top of the pen/brush. I’m hoping that with more practice, he’ll soon get the hang of it.

PS. For more recommendations on Melissa and Doug toys to develop fine motor skills in toddlers, see Part 1.

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