10 Fun Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers
As parents, we want to give our kids the best start so they’re prepared for life. That's why we read to our kids, teach them how to share and be nice so they can make friends, and we even give them routines to help them learn how to get through a day with relative calm. But there's one more thing we can do to help little ones succeed in school; we can give them lots of opportunities to practice their fine motor skills.
Fine motor skills help children learn hand-to-eye coordination using the small muscles in their fingers, hands, and wrists. This skill set lays the groundwork for kids to grasp pencils and utensils, tie their shoes, and use safety scissors on their first day of school. But while those tasks may seem rather basic to a grown-up, they require practice for young kids to master. To help give your toddler’s fine-motor muscles a workout, here are 10 great fine motor activities to try at home.
Image and activity via Laughing Kids Learn
Threading activities are great for toddlers because they give them the opportunities to grasp and guide an object. Using a simple cardboard toilet paper tube and some colorful straws, little kids can thread the straws into pre-cut holes to make funky sculptures. Add a challenge by creating a simple threaded cardboard tube and ask your child to copy what they see.
Image and activity via Chalk Academy
Grasping and guiding can be a tricky skill to master, so why not make it fun? Create an eye-catching color wheel on thick paper and add matching colorful clothespins. Your child can learn how to use their fine motor skills while also learning their colors. Add a pre-literacy challenge by writing letters or numbers on the colors and asking your child to use the clothespins to clip the letters and numbers.
Image and activity via Busy Toddler
Any fine motor skills activity that weaves in math and reading skills is a huge bonus. That's why we like this sticker name activity that gets kids using their fingertips to pull and stick stickers to pre-written letters. When they are done, they can feel proud that they spelled out their name, and you can feel good that your child just got an excellent fine motor skills workout.
Image and activity via My Happy Place
Playdough is magical when it comes to learning fine motor skills. Kids love to pinch, pull, stretch, and roll the dough, which doubles as a fantastic sensory activity. The playdough acts as a resistance, making your child work their muscles to manipulate the dough into various shapes. With a touch of imagination, kids can create all kinds of creative things while also building up those fine motor skills.
Image and activity via Craftulate
Tongs and tweezers can help littles learn how to grasp while guiding small objects, boosting their hand-to-eye coordination. Kids can have fun using a muffin tin, some construction paper, pom-poms, and tweezers or tongs. If they get bored with colorful pom-poms, try adding a challenge and have your child sort small toys or other objects.
Image and activity via Kids Activities
Scissors can be exceedingly frustrating for small children. They can see where they want to cut, but the act of simultaneously squeezing, guiding, and hand-to-eye coordination can be too much. This fun activity gives kids the chance to chop some messy lion hair plus color and play. Grab a simple paper plate, some crayons, and scissors, and let your child practice making small snips. Add a challenge and give them line drawings to cut out once they master making snips.
Image and activity via How We Play and Learn
Opposite from the sticker name game, this activity asks kids to practice their picking skills by using their fingertips to pry off painter's tape to save their toy animal friends. Simply tape a few small toys to a piece of cardboard, a sheet pan, or another tray and let the fun begin. Add a challenge and use rubber bands! Wrap a few small plastic toys in rubber bands and have your child unwrap them. They will be using the same skills to set their animals free.
Image and activity via The Chaos and the Clutter
We love this colorful activity because, like the threading fine motor activity, it gives kids the opportunity to focus on grasping and guiding small objects. Tots can stick toothpicks into playdough and then "thread" buttons onto the toothpicks. Or, they can use the playdough to stick buttons together, building a neat sculpture.
Image and activity via Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds
Kids love water, so use it to your advantage. Grab a bucket of water and turkey baster and let your little one have a blast squeezing the baster to fill it with water and then squeezing it again to shoot the water out. This game is wonderful to play during bath time.
Image and activity via Learning4Kids
If your child loves playing tongs and tweezers, then try this fun activity. Cut up a pool noodle and have your child use tongs or tweezers to pick up colorful pom-poms to balance on the top of pool noodle section. Add a challenge and ask your child how many pom-poms they can get to balance on one noodle.
More Toddler Activities:
- Sensory Activities for Babies and Toddlers
- Science Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Literacy Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.