Fine motor skills are the basis of so much for our kids. Improving fine motor skills is a massive game-changer in terms of confidence and independence as kids grow. Not to mention how important fine motor skills are for writing, cutting, and other activities in the classroom. All of the activities below are to strengthen the small muscles that help children complete tasks that require fine motor skills. Children are more likely to engage, build those muscles, and keep developing fine motor skills when the activities are fun! Let’s talk about some fun ways to build those fine motor skills!
Did Someone Say Playdough?
Playdough is every kid’s favorite toy, and even older kids enjoy mashing and bashing some playdough! The best part, though, is that it is so helpful in building up those fine little muscles that work in fine motor skills.
Playdough is now sold with so many little tools that help fine motor too! Think about the little slicing knife or the playdough scissors! (If you can’t trust the little one with real scissors yet, this is an excellent way to get the scissor exercise without any real blade!) Have the little ones roll out little balls or giant snakes, and all of those tasks will increase those fine motor skills!
Most dollar stores or even the dollar section at Target have some type of playdough and tools for really inexpensive costs. But if you don’t want to spend the money, no worries! You can easily make playdough at home and have the littles help develop some more hands-on fine motor skills. Cornstarch, baking soda, and water mixed together will make some fine playdough! Remember, it is all about having fun while building those fine muscles!
Kinetic sand is similar to the ideas of playdough. Give kids the opportunity to pick the sand up with a small shovel, move it into different containers, carefully create with the sand, or use it in a sensory box. Getting those little hands moving is what it is all about.
Tongs? Tweezers? Clothespins? Chopsticks?
Another fun and easy activity requires some utensils you probably already have in the house. Depending on the challenge you want to offer your kids, the tools here have varying difficulties. Take the kitchen tongs and have kids pick up pom-poms and move them from one container to another. Watch that determination. Make it about colors and counting, and use colored cups or label cups with different colors to make it a sorting activity. Use tweezers or clothespins to do the same activity with more of a challenge.
The rice race is also a fantastic game to play. Use tweezers, clothespins, or chopsticks to pick up rice and transfer it to a new bowl. See how fast you can move the rice and make it a race! Kid’s chopsticks are often a bit easier than traditional chopsticks, but the same idea can be used for those too! If you don’t have pom-poms or rice, try beans, seeds, or even some Cheerios! Kids love competition, so be creative with your goals and make it a game!
Kids love water. Of course, they love to make a mess too! Allow them to practice developing fine motor skills and make a little mess! The idea is to get a medicine dropper or a water dropper and some food coloring and mix the colors. Using the medicine dropper will ensure fine motor skill practice, and the food coloring and mixing of water is just a ton of fun!
Sponges make great fun and help work on those squeezing skills, which really is a precursor to using scissors and cutting! Give the kids a sponge and let them squeeze the water from one container to the next. You can absolutely make this one a race too for a little added fun. Put this in a sensory box and kids will be building fine motor skills without even thinking twice!
Threading or Lacing
We have all seen the toys in the stores for little kids that have them lace or thread a string through some holes. This is another wonderful application of fine motor skills. These can often be found in the dollar stores too. If you want to make it yourself, grab some cardboard and a shoestring and add some holes!
This task can be simpler or more challenging depending on the intricacy of the threading. There are even some beginner sewing kits out there that use yarn and a plastic needle if your kids are working on even finer, fine motor skills. A great way to help students with threading is to include my bracelet crafts into your school day!
Get a Garden!
Gardening requires a ton of skills, including fine motor skills! Planting seeds requires close attention to detail. Using a trowel in the garden is also great for building fine motor muscles. Besides some yummy fruits and veggies growing and the confidence and pride of growing the garden, the tasks included in a garden are almost all great for tiny hands to build fine motor muscles!
Painting, Cutting, Drawing, Coloring, Puzzles, and Blocks Too!
Fine motor skills are also built through the classics: painting, cutting, drawing, coloring, doing puzzles and building with blocks. Holding a pencil correctly, using a paintbrush, and cutting with scissors are all tremendous ways to continue to build those fine motor skills! Cut some hair out of toilet paper rolls or use paint to add color to a self-portrait! Puzzles help with fine motor and building with blocks too. As kids get older Legos are a huge builder of fine motor.
Developing Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are of ultra importance for kids, but there are some really cool, fun, and easy ways to ensure they are working on developing those fine motor skills. Learning through play is a concept that has been around for the ages and this is just another example of how they can learn and build skills while having fun! Try some of the activities, keep the kids busy, and remember those fine motor skills will be developing at the same time!
Looking to add other interactive and hands-on activities to your classroom? Check out these blog posts.