20+ Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills
When I was a young mother of a precocious two-year old, I focused on teaching her everything she would need to know for Kindergarten. We worked on knowing what the colors were, how to count to 20 verbally and with objects, and the ABC’s. However, I overlooked the importance of developing fine motor skills with my daughter.
Did we color? Sometimes. Did we build with blocks and knock them down? Yes. Did we play? All the time. But, the learning activities I did with my first daughter focused more on making sure her brain knew the information, not whether her hands were able to hold a pencil, cut with scissors, or draw lines.
Popular belief is that girls develop their fine motor skills faster than boys do. And, up until my third child started Kindergarten, I thought that was true. But, when my third child, and second son, ended up with better handwriting, drawing skills, and number formation than his older brother or sister – and his younger sister also had better fine motor skills, I began to question whether more depended on the practice their hands got when they were two and three, than what gender they were.
Fine motor skills need to be helped along. Our society’s push for earlier literacy and mathematics skills requires little hands to be better able to manipulate pens, pencils, and crayons earlier and earlier. Part of me wishes we could let our children develop at their own pace and I mourn the loss of playing just for playing.
However, there are so many play activities that help develop fine motor skills available now that helping these little hands grow and develop is easier than ever – and these activities are a lot of fun to do together.
Besides being a fun way to play with young children, and building the muscle and coordination necessary for later activities, fine motor skills help children in other ways. One of these other benefits is confidence. Children enter Kindergarten, or formal schooling, already knowing how to hold a pencil, cut with scissors, and mold with clay. This, coupled with any other knowledge the child has gained prior to school, will help the child feel more comfortable completing the tasks required in formal schooling. It’s a great confidence booster to be able to look at the paper, and know you completed the activity well.
If I could go back to when my oldest was two, would I do things a bit differently – probably. But, wouldn’t all mothers’ change how they parented their first child? We all learn so much because of the first child. . .
Instead of going back, we are going forward. I let my oldest two children play with the clay when my younger two are. We all do activities together to build fine motor skills. There’s no “you’re too old”. If they want to participate, then they participate. Fine motor skills can be developed at any age, but the important thing to remember is to work on them together.
Here are some great activities from the Kid Blogger Network for developing fine motor skills in young children.
Pipe Cleaner Activities
Here are four fantastic and fun fine motor activities that use pipe cleaners. Click on the pictures or links below for more details.
Mamma Smiles has a great pipe cleaner fine motor activity that has children make fun bird feeders, too.
Fireflies and Mudpies shares a beautiful way to make suncatchers out of pipe cleaners.
Pre-K Pages shares an activity from Sunny Day Family that has young ones planting shamrock shaped pipe cleaners.
Sugar Aunts uses pipe cleaners to help toodlers create fantastic landscapes.
Here are five fantastic fine motor activities that use yarn to strengthen little hands.
Cutting Tiny Bites shares a great fall themed activity using yarn wrapping.
Nurture Store offers a great yarn activity that children will love to wear.
Childhood 101 shares a fun game that encourages fine motor development.
Kids’ Craft Room shares a great fall activity by My Little 3 and Me.
The Jenny Evolution shares a fun 3-D Apple activity.
Here are seven pom pom activities for both toddlers and preschoolers.
Crafts On Sea shares a fun pick-up practice for toddlers.
Crafts On Sea also shares a fantastic craft using pom poms.
Pleasentest Thing has created a fun busy bag idea using pom poms to encourage fine motor play.
Teach Me Mommy added a fantastic STEM activity using pom poms and recyclables.
Buggy and Buddy offers a great way to practice sorting as well a fine motor skills for toddlers.
Sugar Aunts offers a fantastically simple, but great, way to help toddlers develop fine motor skills.
Bottle Cap Activities
Here are four, fun, fine motor activities that use bottle caps.
Apple Green Cottage offers a fantastic memory game for preschoolers.
Play to Learn Preschool shares a fantasic craft exploration to help develop fine motor skills.
Powerful Mothering developed a fantastic game that both toddlers and preschoolers can play.
Apple Green Cottage shares a fun button snake toddlers love to use.
Straw Fine Motor Activities
Here are four great fine motor activities that use straw to facilitate the development of the skills.
Powerful Mothering shares a really fun way to help toddlers and preschoolers practice their fine motor skills using silly straws.
Kitchen Floor Crafts offers a fun straw game for everyone to play.
Living Life and Learning shares two fun activities that use straws, a collander, and pipe cleaners.
Fireflies and Mud Pies shares a great STEM activity involving building with straws and clay.
There are many more fine motor education activities pinned to my Fine Motor Pinterest board, including preschool units.