The 10 Best Activities To Improve Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills
Everyday tasks like brushing your teeth or tying your shoelaces require the use of fine motor movements. These daily skills can be quite difficult for young children, and they might need a little extra practice before they truly get the hang of it. In this guide, I will give you the 10 best activities to help your child improve those important fine motor skills.
What are Fine Motor Skills?
Fine motor skills are those precise and detailed movements that you make with little muscle groups like your hands, fingers, and toes. Thanks to these skills you have developed, you can feed yourself, clothe yourself, and just be more independent all around.
Why Your Child Needs To Practice Fine Motor Skills
Did you know that 37% of a kindergartener’s school day requires the use of fine motor skills?
Why is that statistic important to us? Because if a kindergartener feels like they are not competent enough to do school tasks, they will start to lose their confidence and self-esteem.
As a parent, you play a critical role in the development of your child’s fine motor skills. By creating a strong foundation at home, you are encouraging your child to become more confident and independent.
Fun Fact: Research shows that children who have high levels of self-confidence tend to be healthier adults!
10 Best Activities To Enhance Fine Motor Skills
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Activity 1: Playdough
Playdough is one of the first and greatest tools you can use to enhance your child’s fine motor skills. It helps to strengthen those little muscles in their hands and fingers which are later used for more advanced fine motor skills like writing and cutting.
Activity 2: Scoop and Pour
Grab two bins (or kitchen pots), some measuring cups, and a funnel, then let your kid scoop and pour literally anything in your kitchen. It can be rice, oatmeal, pasta, or even water!
Scooping and pouring help to improve your child’s dexterity and hand-eye coordination which are important fine motor skills. It also helps them with basic life concepts like cause and effect and self-awareness.
Activity 3: Scissor Time
I know this can be scary for many parents, but using scissors provides a great foundation for pencil control. What I love most about scissor time is that it requires bilateral coordination as your child has to hold the scissors in one hand and the paper in the other hand.
This activity can be very inexpensive also. Grab a piece of paper, draw a dotted line, and have your toddler cut along the line!
Tip 4: Clothespins Play
If you have some extra clothespins hanging around, they are a wonderful tool for fine motor development! I am constantly buying these because we go through so many of them doing various activities!
A great activity to help with fine motor and learning their ABCs is to draw all the letters on the clothespins and have your child put them in order. They can either hang them from a string or clip them onto a cardboard box! I like doing the cardboard box because I can also write the letters there and it turns into a fun and easy matching game!
Activity 5: Free Drawing
While there is no need to formally teach your child how to draw, it is important to give them paper and crayons. Even if they are just scribbling all over the page, they are starting to develop those critical fine motor skills.
As tempting as it is, you should try to avoid those enticing preschooler workbooks. Toddlers shouldn’t be learning to write at such a young age. Instead, let them draw and play freely because kids learn best through this freedom.
Activity 6: Sponge Play
I am not sure what it is about sponges, but kids absolutely love them! So, grab a new clean sponge, and a bucket of water and let your kid play freely!
It might be a little messy but it is worth the muscle strength that they will gain from squeezing the sponge! If you’re a busy mom, this is a great activity to do during bath time!
Activity 7: Painting
Painting is one of those activities that has endless benefits! For toddlers, painting enhances those little muscles in their wrists, hands, and fingers. Learning to paint is the first step to learning proper writing!
Activity 8: Threading
Whether you are threading dry pasta onto a straw or making a fruit loop necklace, threading is a really great activity for your little one.
I love these activities because it helps to develop dexterity and hand-eye coordination as the supplies, like a fruit loop, tend to be on the smaller side.
Activity 9: Puzzles
As with many of these activities, puzzles are a great way to strengthen those little muscles in your child’s hands and fingers.
What I love about puzzles is that once your child masters one, they can move on to a puzzle with more pieces to continue improving those ever-important fine motor skills.
Activity 10: Building Blocks
I have said it before, and I will say it again… building blocks are the ULTIMATE toddler toy!
They are amazing for fine motor development, critical thinking, planning, hypothesizing, and so much more!
Building blocks are also a quantifiable way to see if your child is developing their fine motor skills properly. For example:
- By 15 months: Should be able to build a tower with 2 blocks
- By 18 months: Should be able to build a tower with 3-4 blocks
- By 2 years: Should be able to build a tower with 6-7 blocks
Whether you want to use playdough, pasta, or puzzles, working on fine motor movements with your child is super important. Not only will it help them with basic life skills like writing, or tying shoelaces, but it will also make them feel more confident and empowered!
If you are looking for other developmentally-friendly activities, be sure to check out this article!