4 skills your child should have before he/she's set up to succeed in violin lessons
(or, 10 skills we will be working on with your small child during their first year of lessons):
Preschool age children can often count to 10, 20, or even 100, but sometimes cannot recognize the written numbers. This picture links to a great activity that can help with that -
Another skill pertaining to number recognition is knowledge of ordinal numbers. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers are essential to learning the violin. Talk to your child about lining things up in height order, and discuss which comes "first", "second", "third", etc.
Finger Strength and Dexterity:
If your child is not writing yet, or has trouble holding a crayon to color, they might lack the finger strength/dexterity to play violin just yet. For gaining strength, specifically in the LEFT hand, try letting them squeeze Silly Putty. Also, "finger pops", i.e. tapping each finger individually against the thumb, can help to build strength.
Lacing cards, seen below, can help with dexterity and fine motor skills (click the picture to link to directions for making your own)...
Montessori activities for pre-handwriting skills are also great for pre-violin skills. Let your child use tweezers (left handed) to sort puff balls from one bowl to another, or kitchen tongs to move larger items.
Squeezing a turkey baster in the bathtub (left handed), can also build strength and dexterity. All fun stuff and super useful!
Crossing the Midline:
Crossing the midline means that one hand spontaneously moves over to the other side of the body to work there. Before this ability is established, you may have noticed that your young child tends to use the left hand on the left side of the body and the right hand on the right side of the body. -Quoting from ot-mom-learning-activities.com
If you've noticed your child is still working on this skill - read through the article linked to in the picture below, and try some of the activities mentioned...
The ideal is that your child can focus and follow directions for up to 15 minutes. I often start 2 - 4 year olds with 15 minute lessons (as opposed to 30 minute lessons), and my expectations for their practice time at home is based more on correct repetitions and building a routine than amount of time spent practicing.