We’ve previously talked about the importance of fine motor skills for toddlers & preschoolers. As part of the developmental skills that your child learns as they grow, encouraging your toddler to improve their fine motor skills is essential. Below, we will be highlighting the top-recommended fine motor activities that parents can do with their children at home.
What is a Fine Motor Skill Activity?
Fine motor skills involve the use of small muscles in the hands and fingers. As your child develops, they will begin to use these muscles more and more. However, unlike gross motor skills, mastering these motor skills takes time, coordination, and patience.
So, what exactly is a fine motor skill activity? These activities typically are everyday activities that require you to use precise hand motions such as grasping or pinching. Academic skills such as holding a pencil, drawing, and cutting paper are examples of fine motor skills.
Many of the games that your child plays with also require the use of fine motor skills such as lego and puzzles. Even simple tasks such as tying shoelaces give these small muscle groups a workout.
Oftentimes as parents we can forget that these motor skills don’t come as easily to our toddlers and preschoolers as they do to us. That’s why it is important that you incorporate fun activities into their daily routine which develops their finger and hand muscles.
7 Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers
Below are some of our favorite fine motor skill activities for preschoolers and toddlers. Not only are they easy to set up (a win for parents) but they promote creativity, sensory development, and a whole other range of childhood developmental skills.
At Vivvi, we find that one of the easiest ways to help your child develop fine motor skills is to use these simple activities to play with them, either in the classroom or at home.
Thread a Fruit Loop Necklace
This is a classic fine motor activity for toddlers. The ‘thread a fruit loop necklace’ activity is both fun and delicious! All you need is a piece of string and a handful of colorful fruit loops. Knot one end of the string and tape it to a solid surface such as a table. Then ask your child to carefully thread each fruit loop onto the string to make a necklace.
This activity requires hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and concentration. Your toddler will need to use the small muscles in their fingers to grasp all the objects needed to make the necklace. Don’t worry if a few fruit loops get munched on in the process – that’s the whole point!
Painting With Water
Painting with water is an easy art activity that everyone will love. For this activity, you will need a chalkboard and colored sidewalk chalk. First, you can get your toddler or preschooler to scribble all over the chalkboard with as many colors as they like.
Once that is done, it’s time to paint with water. Fill up a small tumbler with water and get paintbrushes of various sizes. Take turns with your toddler to paint interesting shapes and pictures onto the chalkboard. The act of grasping and holding the paintbrush will strengthen your child’s finger muscles.
Make a Monster Out of Playdough
What child doesn’t love playdough? As a child-friendly play material, playdough is great for improving their fine motor skills. Kneading and mashing the playdough into wonderful shapes and creatures requires dexterity.
Gather some googly eyes, pipe cleaners, glitter, bottle caps, and any other craft supplies you like. Set these up on a table or on your toddler’s favorite play mat and ask them to make their very own playdough monster.
Make a Rattle
This is a great example of a sensory activity that also works for building your child’s fine and gross motor skills. Making a rattle is very easy to do. In fact, most of the items that you’ll need you probably have in your kitchen already.
All you need is a clear plastic bottle and some small toddler-friendly items that you can fill the bottle with. If your child has a tendency to put everything in their mouth, perhaps fill the bottle with cereal or small biscuits. Take it in turns to fill up the bottle and then screw the bottle cap tightly. Once you shake, it will make a perfect rattling noise that will give your child hours of endless entertainment.
Trace Lines of Chalk
Tracing lines of chalk on the sidewalk is another great fine motor activity for toddlers. The aim isn’t for your child to trace a perfectly straight line. Instead, let them make lines that twist and snake their way in multiple directions.
Similar to when you ask your child to trace letters when they’re learning how to write, the tracing lines of chalk activity requires their concentration and builds up the muscles in their hands.
Pebble & Shell Sorting
If you are lucky to live close enough to a beach, or perhaps while you are on your annual vacation, this simple pebble and shell sorting game is the perfect way to encourage your toddler to develop their fine motor skills.
Collect shells and pebbles of various shapes, sizes, and patterns. Aim to have at least two of each shell or pebble. Then mix them all up into a big pile. Help your toddler to then match all of the similar-sized and colored materials together.
Stack Plastic Cups
Colorful plastic cups make for endless fun activities and games for toddlers. One such fine motor activity is stacking cups to make a tower. In most grocery stores, you should be able to buy a handful of plastic cups in various colors.
Line them all up on a table and turn them upside down. Show your toddler how to make different shapes and towers with the cups. Then sit back and watch as they create their own towering structures. While it will provide many smiles and laughs (especially if the tower falls over), it is also training the small muscles in their hands that they need as part of fine motor skill development.
Vivvi Early Learning Model: Why We Place Importance on Fine Motor Skills
As with all early childhood development milestones, one skill often depends on another. That is why our early learning program makes sure to put importance on the development of motor skills – especially those of the fine motor kind.
From the ages of 2 to 5 years, our inquiry-based learning program incorporates activities and games that are centered around fine motor skill development. We encourage your child to develop their grasp, learn how to write their name, eat with utensils, and much more. All while having a lot of fun.
To learn more about how we support your child’s early childhood development, get in touch with our team today and we’ll be happy to walk you through our early learning models.