List of ideas for developing fine motor skills


The following list was compiled at the Teach Preschool fan page. The fans were asked: "What is your favorite way to develop fine motor skills?" The answers below came from teachers, educators and parents.

-----> I love the eye droppers and colored water and tongs with pompoms. I also like hammers to bang golf tees into floral clay. The clay is hard and the small hands love to bang those golf tees.

-----> Cutting things like clay or cardboard and pinching activities like clothespins and clips - eyedroppers as well.

-----> I have screws of many sizes and nuts to fit. The twisting on and off is my favorite. Boys get more interested in this.

-----> Stringing beads. You can use pipecleaners for kids who need extra help.

-----> Tongs.

-----> Playdoh makes four different types of fundamentals sets. One each for: cutting, rolling, squeezing and stamping.

-----> Picking up and laying down pennies!

Stringing beads or even better - cereal with holes.

-----> Music. Using simple hand movements while listening to songs helps children build fine motor skills.

-----> Legos! As far as simple fine motor skills activities go, they are very popular with my PreK class!

-----> Lacing shapes.

-----> Beads on a string or put thin dowels into Styrofoam and put beads on them!

-----> I sometimes fill an egg carton with little snacks - goldfish crackers, gummies, etc. The kids love to pick the small items from the egg slots...great for fine motor practice - it also teaches the "reuse" concept by re-using the egg carton.

-----> Squeezing pipettes :)

-----> Playing with educational toys really, but I love to have them color and use their imagination.

-----> Writing/drawing on vertical surfaces strengthens core and arm muscles as well as fingers and is a helpful activity; even scribbling will encourage handwriting later. You can even tape paper under a coffee table/other low surface and have kids lay on their back and draw if you are brave! Using short pieces of chubby crayon encourages a natural ... See Morepincer grasp. So does holding something in the palm of the hand while writing( something small/soft, such as a small pom pom, in the palm, then curling last two fingers in to hold the item) All ideas from our occupational therapist...

-----> Picking up and sorting beads with clothespins and I love cutting playdough with scissors too!

-----> Tearing strips of paper from old phone books. The paper is thin and generally tears in a straight line.

-----> My toddlers like to peel stickers off of a cookie sheet and stick them onto paper.

-----> Lacing cards. You can buy them or make them from poster boards. Cut out animal shapes, hole punch the edges, and have child thread yarn. Also jigsaw puzzles, light brite, and playdough helps with fine motor skills.

-----> Usually, we play 'ublek' (made from flour and water) to make velocity.

-----> Artworks like drawing, painting, pasting, cutting..

-----> My kids enjoy water play so I set out eye droppers and colored water to explore with. Tongs are fun to grab pompoms and sort into different color bowls also!

-----> I like to set out play dough and child-sized scissors. They do not need to be sharp scissors and as the children cut the play dough, they are strengthening their fine motor skills and coordination.

-----> Use the suction cup shaped plastic things you stick to your bathtub. Turn them over and give the kids a dixie cup full of water and a eyedropper. They have to fill each suction cup up with water from the eyedropper. They spend hours concentrating on this.

-----> We also like to play Scatterpillar Scramble (cheap game you can buy at Target or Walmart...great fun).

-----> I recently had them washing baby doll clothes. They had to wring them out, squeezing hard to get the water out, then use clothespins to hang them on our clothes line to dry.

-----> Playdough...using funnels and sand.


#13 Shara - owner 2013-04-20 08:19
Quoting ESL Teacher:
Great list of ideas. Thanks for sharing. I'll use some of them in my lessons.

Thanks for the comment!
#12 ESL Teacher 2013-04-20 06:43
Great list of ideas. Thanks for sharing. I'll use some of them in my lessons.
#11 ryanwinter 2012-05-02 03:24
i added some of these to my clever fingers box really good stuff :)
#10 Dorcas 2012-04-25 14:23
Thanks so much. This is very helpful.
#9 Kitty Kate 2012-04-25 01:13
Awesome list of fine motor activities!!! :) Thanks for the great ideas!
#8 madeline 2011-08-20 16:42
;-) I like workshop with kids, but I am out of good absorbing ideas how to make them do the things I want them to do so they can follow through simply as I want to direct them, like painting, where to start first thing first? :cry:
#7 Patty Shukl 2011-06-27 13:53
You could dance and move to all of Miss Patty's songs:
#6 Guest 2010-09-17 09:59
Hi Nancy: Thank you for the advice. I never buy cartons that have broken eggs (which could cause a big problem, yes!) and so 2 years of putting dry snacks into kid has gotten sick. Whew! ;-)
#5 Guest 2010-09-17 09:46
I love to recycle, but the egg carton is kinda icky for food. They are not sanitary for eating food out of. Just a heads up.
#4 Guest 2010-05-10 06:35
GripStrength and handwriting

HandTutor can help to improve children's eye hand co-ordination and treat children with fine motor skill problems e.g. poor handwriting and cutting etc. The HandTutor provides active exercises through rehabilitation games that can train and improve the specific deficit in the ability of the child to use the appropriate grip strength thumb and index finger) to hold the pencil or pen. Fine motor training intended to improve this disability needs to work on exercises that teach the child how to balance the strength in the index finger and thumb flexor (closing) and extensor (opening) muscles.

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