How to Teach the Fine Motor Activity of Paper Tearing

Paper Tearing Chicka Name Trees TeachMagically

I LOVE paper tearing to work the fine motor skills! Think about it…the “pointer” finger and thumb naturally pinch together when you tear paper. The fingers naturally fall into my “pencil grip”. Tearing paper is a precursor to writing plus paper tearing is FUN!!!

After reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and watching the video (yep…still on YouTube) we created our own torn paper coconut trees then added our names with cut out letters.

Yep, getting that name work in there!

I also love making Humpty Dumpty Sitting on a Wall to work those muscles!

Paper Tearing Humpty Dumpty on a wall


How do you teach paper tearing for fine motor activities?

1. Use “crab pinchers” instead of fingers

Tell students they need to get out their crab pinchers, and they make a pinching motion with the thumb and forefinger. This helps them realize the only body parts needed to tear are these two fingers….pointer and thumb.

2. Give two choices
Students can “tear in the air” or “use the table as their friend” (holding the paper down with one hand while tearing with the other). Have students practice  to find what works best…plus they will have fun going back and forth as they practice.
3. Moven the paper, not the hands
It can be difficult for students to know when to stop when tearing larger pieces of paper. Have the students rotate the paper, always tearing in a downward motion towards themselves.
Paper Tearing for fine motor skills Humpty Dumpty Display Teach Magically

Teacher reminders for fine motor activity of paper tearing!

Control the paper size
Give out appropriate paper sizes for the task at hand so students have a reference
point. It will also save your paper supply!!
Use very slow, systematic steps to show how to do it; be explicit.

Make sure to go check out my store, Debora Marines TeachMagically for more resources for  learners! And you can follow Debora Marines TeachMagically for new products, discounts, updates, and freebies. 
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Make everyday magical,
❤Debora from Teach Magically

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