You can’t go wrong with magic painting. Such a cheap, easy and tidy activity, plus it was working on Finn’s fine motor skills, particularly grip.


  • Usborne Dinosaurs Magic Painting book
  • Paintbrush (included with book)
  • Bowl of water


Finn will pick up a paintbrush or pencil correctly, then after a few seconds of use, hold it in his palm, like a fist, with the point protruding near his little finger. This fist-like grip is called a palmer grip.

We are working towards Finn maintaining a tripod grip, when the paintbrush or pencil is supported between the thumb and middle finger, with the forefinger resting on the pencil shaft. In the tripod grip, small bending movements of the fingers move the tip of the pencil (or brush) up and down the paper. We did this activity to practise maintaining a tripod grip for longer periods.

Finn loved predicting what colours would appear when he ‘painted’ the page with water. As he painted, Ioan talked to him about the dinosaurs in the picture. If he was unsure, he referred to his A-Z of dinosaurs.

For more information on pencil grip, read this article by Skills for Action.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Physical development

ELG 04 – Moving and handling:

Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.