Example of a fun fine motor skills activity for kids
Motor Skills,  Parenting,  Special Needs

75 Fun Fine Motor Skills Activities for Kids (Free PDF Activity Included)

Fine motor skills activities for kids: explore fun games and everyday life activities that will help your child’s fine motor skills development + Download your free scissors skills activity (a bilateral hand coordination activity, also good for hand muscles and hand-eye coordination)

Fine motor skills are the ability to move the small muscles in our hands and wrists to complete a task. They are an important component in children’s development.

Fine motor skills start developing during infancy.

Even newborns can grasp objects. At that time, fine motor skills are a basic reflex, but by age three to six months, babies are actively reaching for objects with both hands and transferring from one hand to another.

Fine motor skills are essential because children will use them daily for the rest of their lives.

Some examples of the use of fine motor skills in everyday life situations are:

  • zipping up a jacket
  • squishing clay between fingers
  • holding onto a toothbrush while brushing your teeth
  • turning pages of a book
Fine Motor Skills Activity_Cut Paper with Scissors / Download at the end of the post
DOWNLOAD THIS ACTIVITY WORKSHEET AT THE END OF THE POST

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Fine Motor Skills Components / Examples of Fine Motor Skills

Several sub-skills or components build up the overall motor skills.

Examples of some (not all) fine motor skills components are:

  • Arm, hand, and finger strength 
  • Grasp which will build up from a palmar grasp reflex (that allows babies to grasp objects), adding in subsequent phases including the raking grasp (using fingers -not the thumb) like a rake and the pincer grasp (holding objects between the thumb and first finger), until they fully master the grip.
    An example of the use of grip is holding a cup.
  • Bilateral hand coordination, using both sides of the body in the same activity (for example folding a washcloth)
  • Hand-eye coordination or the ability to grasp or touch an object while looking at it (for example pouring liquid into a cup)
  • In-hand manipulation or the ability to manipulate objects within the hand (for example,  picking up a crayon and moving it into a different position using just their fingers)
    • Translation (moving an object from the palm of their hand to their fingertips and vice versa)
    • Shift (ability to separate an object with fingers, like separating two pieces of paper)
    • Rotation (rolling an object between the thumb and fingertips, such as a marble)
  • Precision: the ability to grasp, use and release an object without a mistake (a good example of this is fastening a button without fumbling). 

Let’s move to our favorite fine motor activities designed to help your child develop and work on all small muscles of the hand to improve manual dexterity!

75 Fun Fine Motor Skill Activities

There are so many ways to nurture fine motor skill development. Here are 75 different activities to help your child’s development. 

String Activities 

Fine motor skills activities don’t need to be complicated. In fact, one of the most valuable tools can be a simple piece of string. It’s common for an occupational therapist to try these activities for fine motor control in occupational therapy.

  1. Make a pasta necklace
  2. Weaving ropes
  3. Using lace cards (if your child loves the Very Hungry Caterpillar book, then they will love these ones)
  4. Tying Shoelaces (this wooden set is a fun option, the first part is a puzzle that created the shoe)
  5. Threading Beads (you can start with large beads and increase the difficulty over time by decreasing the size of the beads)
  6. Sewing a Button
  7. Wrapping string around pegs on a peg board
  8. Braiding string
  9. Stringing Cheerios
  10. Wrapping colored string around a stick

THREADING BEADS ACTIVITY FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Arts and Crafts

For creative kids, arts and crafts are all excellent fine motor activities and a great way to work on hand-eye coordination, bilateral hand coordination, hand prehension, in-hand manipulation, or hand-muscle strength.

Plus, there are so many fun activities in art that both older children and younger kids will love to try over and over again.

  1. Modeling clay (little hands making small objects is perfect for building hand strength)
  2. Modeling with playdough (kneading, pinching…)
  3. Simple origami activities
  4. Dot to Dot pages
  5. Making dot art with paint dotters
  6. Cutting construction paper into different shapes with child-safe scissors
  7. Building animals with pipe cleaners
  8. Building a spider web out of yarn
  9. Finger-painting. Let them finger paint! Have them use different fingers to make straight lines. Start with the index finger and let them repeat with each finger to develop that finger strength/precision. 
  10. Placing stickers on sticker books 
  11. Drawing with chalk
  12. Painting with water
  13. Ripping or crumpling paper then gluing to make a beautiful mosaic
  14. Cutting food for the week’s meal prep with kid-safe knives
  15. Building a Fairy House in the front yard
  16. Stamping on a paper
  17. Doing paper garlands

EASY ORIGAMI ACTIVITY FINE MOTOR SKILLS

More fun fine motor activity ideas!

  1. Wrapping rubber bands around a toilet paper or kitchen paper toll
  2. Pin and Poke
  3. Pulling beads from putty 
  4. Picking beads into a bottle or another container with a narrow opening
  5. Using kitchen tongs to pick pompoms and placing them on a paper plate
  6. Playing cards (shuffle cards, distribute, hold them in your hands)
  7. Playing with finger puppets
  8. Coloring / Drawing
  9. Writing / Calligraphy
  10. Popping bubbles in a silicon pop sensory toy 
  11. Color-matching pegboards

COLORED TISSUE PAPER CRAFT FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Everyday Tasks that Develop Fine Motor Skills

One fun way to help your child’s development is simple activities that are also life skills. In fact, one of the best ways to foster your child’s fine motor development is to have them help with everyday chores. Here are a few simple ideas that you can try with your own young children

  1. Water play by helping wash dishes
  2. Letting them play with your office supplies like using a hole punch or typing on a keyboard
  3. Sweeping or mopping
  4. Zipping up their coat
  5. Fastening buttons (decrease the size of the button when they are ready for an added challenge)
  6. Flipping Pages in a Book
  7. Have an old lock and key? Let them practice placing the key in and out of the keyhole
  8. Picking berries
  9. Weeding
  10. Filling cups with water
  11. Spraying and wiping down the table after meals
  12. Washing the windows
  13. Picking up small toys on the ground
  14. Placing coins in a piggy bank
  15. Sorting small objects such as small beads or coins
  16. Buckling → use a backpack you already have, or try a buckle toy to help them practice (with this buckle toy you can do zipping and laces too)
  17. Screwing in screws
  18. Screwing and unscrewing bottle-tops

PLAY DOUGH ACTIVITY FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Games

Countless games are designed to be the perfect fine motor practice that your 5-year-olds will love to play (or a kid with fine motor skills issues).

  1. Board games
  2. Puzzles
  3. Building with legos or blocks
  4. Playing Jenga
  5. Stacking objects such as rocks
  6. Pick up Sticks
  7. Mazes
  8. Letter matching eggs
  9. Building with magnetic blocks 

Sensory Play

  1. Sensory Bin

Sensory Play is one of the most important things you can implement in your children’s routine to foster their development. It stimulates different parts of their brains and can be done in fairly simple ways, like a sensory bin. 

In order to make a sensory bin, you only need a few items. Fill up a bin with one of these items and a few toys (like toy cars or a cup and funnel) and let your kid run wild:

  • Dry beans
  • Dry rice
  • Coffee beans (The smell is incredible with this one!)
  • Dirt
  • Soapy water
  • Shaving cream
  • Gravel /  Rocks / Pebbles
  • Uncooked pasta
  • Water beads

If you are nervous about adding a sensory bin into your routine, there are plenty of other sensory play options. Here are a few examples:

  1. Making your own sensory bottle (←in this post, I share seven different ways to prepare a sensory bottle for kids)
  2. Popping bubbles
  3. Bursting bubble wrap
  4. Squeezing clothespins
  5. Building mud pies
  6. Ripping the bark off of windfall branches
  7. Breaking sticks

Interested in more sensory activities? Check out our list of sensory activities for kids of all ages (40+ Activities and a free Sensory Meny PDF)

Download your Free Scissors Fine Motor Skills Activity

Download your free scissors skills activity (a bilateral hand coordination activity, also good for hand muscles and hand-eye coordination):

 

 

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