Activities that develop fine motor skills: 18 ways to have fun at home!

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Looking for fine motor activities for kids? Look no further! Whether you’re the parent of toddlers or kids in preschool, kindergarten, or grade 1 and beyond, the teacher of a child with autism or other special needs, or need some occupational therapy inspired activities to help develop handwriting skills and self-care tasks like buttoning buttons and zipping up zippers, we’ve got 18 fun and effective ideas to help strength the muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists!

If you’re looking for activities that develop fine motor skills in children, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve shared 18 of our favorites below, but first, let’s take a deeper look at the development of fine motor skills in children, why they’re important, when to be concerned, and how to help your child if he does have delayed fine motor skills.

Every child develops at a different pace. While some develop all of their simple motor skills ahead of schedule, others are much slower to catch up, and as tempting as it is to make comparisons, the range within which kids develop certain skills can be pretty wide, so try not to get too hung up on what other children are doing and instead focus on whether your child is meeting specific milestones for his age range.

And if your child’s doctor does express concern that your little one may have a delay in his fine motor skills as a standalone struggle or part of a bigger developmental disorder like autism spectrum disorder or sensory processing disorder, don’t assume the worst! There are so many activities that develop fine motor skills you can do at home to help your child with his development, and occupational therapy can do wonders in helping your child overcome his fine motor challenges.

What are fine motor skills?

When teachers and therapists talk about a child’s fine motor skills, they are usually referring to their ability to control the small movements in their hands and fingers, but fine motor skills are also essential in helping children make small movements with other parts of their body, like their feet, toes, lips, and tongue.

Can you give me an example of fine motor skills?

Examples of fine motor activities include writing with a pencil, cutting with scissors, eating with cutlery, as well as various self-care activities like brushing teeth, tying shoes, zipping zippers, and buttoning buttons.

Why are fine motor skills important?

When a child can’t control the small movements in their hands and fingers, they will not only have difficulty in a school environment, but they will also struggle with basic life skills like getting dressed and feeding themselves. The good news is that there are tons of things that can be done to help develop fine motor skills, and early intervention is key.

How can I tell if my child has delayed fine motor skills?

Is your child clumsy? Does he struggle to hold and use objects? If he’s older, can he use eating utensils? Does he avoid tabletop activities in the classroom, like cutting with scissors or writing practice? While this isn’t an exhaustive list, behaviors such as they can signify that your child has delayed fine motor skills.

What can be done to improve fine motor skills in children?

If you suspect your child has delayed fine motor skills, it’s always best to seek the help of a professional to identify the issues and ensure a proper plan is put into place to help develop the skills he needs to excel, but there are also tons of ways you can support your child at home.

A great way to improve fine motor skills in children is to incorporate activities to encourage fine motor skills into your daily routine. These activities offer simple yet effective ways to improve manual dexterity by strengthening the muscles in the hands and fingers needed to develop handwriting skills, and since they are fun to do, they offer a sneaky way to help your child work through his challenges without him even realizing it!

Here are 18 of our favorite activities that develop fine motor skills!

1. Fine Motor Skills Sensory Bin | Life Over Cs
2. Fine Motor Color Matching Flowers | The Kindergarten Connection
3. Painting with Qtips for Fine Motor Practice | Lemon Lime Adventures
4. Felt Apple Counting and Fine Motor Skills Activity | ABC Creative Learning
5. Apple Lacing Fine Motor Busy Bag | Coffee Cups and Crayons
6. Fine Motor Literacy Sight Word Activity | The Letters of Literacy
7. Developing Manual Dexterity | Optimistic Mommy
8. Safe and Easy Fine Motor Skills for Babies and Young Toddlers | Extremely Good Parenting with Kara Carrero
9. Fine Motor Skill Fun with Sight Words | Real Life at Home
10. Sticker Mural | Things to Share & Remember
11. Best Fine Motor Teaching Tools for Little Learners | A Dab of Glue Will Do
12. Fine Motor Play with Screws and Anchors | Simple Fun for Kids
13. Carrot Fine Motor Play | Best Toys 4 Toddlers
14. Seed Sorting Sensory Activity | Premeditated Leftovers
15. Early Writing Skills | Busy Mommy Media
16. Counting with Rainbows | Darcy & Brian
17. A is for Apple | Parenting Chaos
18. Big Bead Threading for Little Fingers | I Can Teach my Child

Whether your child is slightly delayed with his fine motor development, or has more significant challenges as a result of autism spectrum disorder or sensory processing disorder, this collection of fun activities that develop fine motor skills will be a fabulous compliment to whatever other treatment plan you choose to pursue to help him overcome his struggles. And since these activities feel more like play than work, they offer a stress-free way to support your child at home – or in the classroom – while simultaneously setting him up for long-term success.

If you and your little ones enjoyed this collection of activities that develop fine motor skills, please share this post on Pinterest!

Looking for fine motor activities for kids? Look no further! Whether you’re the parent of toddlers or kids in preschool, kindergarten, or grade 1 and beyond, the teacher of a child with autism or other special needs, or need some occupational therapy inspired activities to help develop handwriting skills and self-care tasks like buttoning buttons and zipping up zippers, we’ve got 18 fun and effective ideas to help strength the muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists!

And if you’re looking for more ways to support kids with special needs, please follow our Autism board where we share all kinds of fabulous tips, tricks, and ideas!

Gwen
Gwen
Gwen is a 40-something freelance writer and social media consultant who has an unhealthy love for makeup, hair, and fashion. She lives with her husband and 8-year-old daughter in Toronto, Canada and hopes to move to a warmer climate someday. Preferably tomorrow.