Who doesn't love a box of crayons? I've seen people old and young alike sit down and instantly start coloring. They are one of the most basic items because they are great - you can nurture creativity and work on fine motor skills while having fun.
Here are some ways to use crayons to help encourage your preemie's development:
1) Start early - as soon as your preemie can hold an object, give him/her a crayon. Place a piece of paper in front of your preemie and help him/her make a mark on the page. Any effort should be praised. In the beginning your preemie will probably just make light, random marks or dots. And that' great!
2) Drawing lines - once your preemie can hold the crayon somewhat effectively, encourage him/her to draw a line across the page. And then down or up. It helps to draw dotted lines to follow or at least show a start and stop point.
3) Learning colors - since crayons come in pretty much every color, they are a great way to help your preemie learn colors. You can ask for crayons of a certain color or request that he/she colors with a certain color. Older preemies can practice putting colors in order from lightest to darkest.
4) Scribbles are important! Don't worry if your preemie has absolutely no concept of how to color an object. That will come with time. Praise all efforts at coloring across an area. Make it fun!