The 10 Best Fine Motor Activities For Toddlers

Looking for some easy fine motor activities for toddlers? Well, look no further! Here are 10 super simple activities that will help your child develop their fine motor skills.

With technology and electronic devices being such a prevalent part of today’s society, more and more children are struggling to master fine motor movements.

It is now more important than ever to incorporate fine motor activities into your toddler’s daily routine!

What are Fine Motor Skills?

Fine motor skills are essentially the coordination and dexterity of the fingers, hands, and wrists. These motor movements are the basic foundation for all daily tasks. Since we use our hands for almost everything, it is important we start developing these skills early on!

These 10 fine motor activities for toddlers are a great way to help strengthen those important small muscles in your child’s hands and fingers.

As children practice these skills, they will gain the confidence to learn how to manipulate and interact with objects in their environment.

Examples of Fine Motor Skills:

Practicing these fine motor skills is the best way to help your child to become more independent.

Here are a few examples of basic fine motor skills:

  • Zipping up coats
  • Tying shoe laces
  • Brushing teeth
  • Eating independently
  • Drawing and painting

While these skills may seem very basic to the average adult, young children may need a little extra practice to truly master these tasks.

Why Fine Motor Skills Are Important for Child Development

Fine motor skills are essential during child development because they are the building blocks for larger, more complex skills. By implementing basic activities into your routine at home, you are encouraging the confidence and control necessary to master those more advanced tasks such as writing, typing, and drawing.

These skills are also incredibly important to help your child succeed academically. Children who have well-developed fine motor skills are more confident and eager to complete school tasks that involve skills like cutting, drawing, or writing.

10 Easy Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers

Here is a list of 10 easy and simple activities to help your child improve their fine motor skills.

While there are specific fine motor toys that can help enhance these skills, they are definitely not necessary. Most of these activities can be completed just using items you most likely already have in your home!

1) Play Dough

There are so many amazing benefits of play dough! While it may be a little messy, it is something I encourage all children to play with!

As kids twist, stretch, and shape the play dough they are exercising and strengthening those little muscles in their hands and fingers.

Try encouraging your toddler to create shapes, form balls, and even put the pieces of dough together like a puzzle. You can also make letters or numbers out of the dough as a fun way to practice letter recognition and counting!

If you don’t have any at home, here is my favorite recipe for homemade playdough.

play dough as fine motor activity

2) Scoop-and-Pour

Grab two bins (or kitchen pots), measuring cups, and a funnel and let your child scoop-and-pour rice, oatmeal, pasta, or even water!

These types of activities are also a great way to help your child gain the amazing benefits of sensory play!

Having a scoop and pour station in your home can help improve your child’s dexterity and hand-eye coordination. It also helps them with basic concepts like cause and effect and self-awareness. 

3) Scissor Time

I know this can be scary for many parents, but encouraging your child to use scissors provides a great foundation for pencil control.

Supervised scissor time can really help to improve 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!

4) Threading

Threading activities are a great way to help kids develop important fine motor skills like hand-eye coordination and pincer grasp.

Since this activity is so simple, you can really get creative with it by finding different materials to use!

For younger children, it is better to start with big items like old toilet paper rolls threaded onto a long wooden spoon. As kids get older and build up their dexterity and coordination, have them thread dry pasta onto a straw, or make a fruit loop necklace!

Fine motor activities

5) Drawing

This is one of my favorite fine motor activities for toddlers because of how simple it is!

By providing toddlers with drawing supplies you are helping them develop their fine motor skills as they learn to hold and maneuver their drawing utensils.

While 2-year-olds may just scribble back and forth, as they progress through the stages of drawing, they will become more advanced with their grip and drawing skills.

As tempting as it is, you should try to avoid those enticing preschooler workbooks. Toddlers shouldn’t be learning to formally write at such a young age. Instead, let them draw and play freely because kids learn best through play.

6) Sponge Play

I am not sure what it is about sponges, but kids absolutely love them! Grab a couple of clean sponges, and a bucket of water, and let your kids play freely!

It might be a little messy but it is worth the muscle strength they will gain from squeezing the sponge! If you’re a busy mom, this is a great activity to do during bath time!

7) Painting

The benefits of painting for toddlers are truly endless. It is best to try and let your child paint freely, without guidance. You might be surprised at some of the things they come up with!

When toddlers paint, they use their grip and hand muscles to control and maneuver the brush. This hand dexterity is actually one of the first steps to learning proper writing.

Painting is also a fun sensory activity for kids! You can use watercolors, finger paints, or even sponges to make it a more hands-on experience for your little one.

8) Clothespins Play

Clothespins are a wonderful tool for fine motor development! I am constantly buying these because we go through so many of them doing various activities!

I really like how children have to squeeze together the two ends in order to open and place the clothespin somewhere. This is a playful way to exercise and strengthen their little tiny muscles.

A fun activity to help with fine motor and learning ABCs is to write 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! If you write the letters on the cardboard box first, you can turn it into a fun and easy matching game!

9) Puzzles

Puzzles are one of the best activities for toddlers. Not only do they help to improve fine motor skills, but they are also a great activity for cognitive development.

You can start with very simple puzzles like shape sorters or wooden animal puzzles. As the kids get older, they will be able to manage puzzles with more challenging pieces and greater details.

10) Building Blocks

This is one toy I would definitely recommend for every household. I truly believe 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

These 10 activities are great ways to promote fine motor development in kids!

Remember to keep it fun and let them explore freely! With enough practice, your toddler will be a pro in no time!

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