Our Pre-Primer (and some of our Primer), (and actually some of our Level 1) students consistently check their fingers before playing each key. Rather than focusing on the sheet music, they look down at the piano keys every few notes, resulting in numerous pauses in each line of music.
We put together this Finger Power activity to encourage our young students to keep their eyes on the sheet music as much as possible.
We also use this activity to strengthen understanding of stepping up/stepping down. Getting the firework display reward keeps the students super focused on playing the 8 notes without looking down at their hands.
We have had a few tears from the youngest student who didn't get through all 8 notes. Sometimes it seems a little harsh for their turn to be over if they look at their fingers at any point, but it has been so effective. After having their turn terminated a couple of times, students are super focused and disciplined enough not to look at their hands. It has been really rewarding watching them all grow stronger in this area of trusting their fingers to find the keys on their own.
The trick is to repeat this activity for several weeks - even when it's easy for the students. It's important to remind them to carry these skills from the activity to their actual music books.