Inside: Use these fun fine motor skills activities for preschoolers to help your child develop the skills necessary for preschool and beyond.
As a mom, I witness daily how crucial it is to support the continuous development of your child’s fine motor skills.
Fine motor skills pertain to movements done using the hands’ and forearms’ small muscles.
In kids, these skills are essential for helping them reach, grasp, move and use various objects and tools.
This ability is also a key foundation for other significant competencies including hand-eye coordination, writing and drawing, and self-feeding.
Kids develop their fine motor skills through play.
Here are some activities that will help your little one practice and enhance these abilities.
Activities That Build Fine Motor Skills
1. Playing With Construction Toys
Playing with wooden building blocks, child development experts say, helps kids enhance not just their fine motor skills but their gross motor ones as well.
These toys also help kids develop hand and eye coordination and problem-solving skills.
Aside from letting your child put blocks on top of another and building things out of construction toys, here are some other games and activities you and your little one can do with them:
- Addition and subtraction games – Prepare a pile of blocks and ask him to count how many would be left if he removes a few pieces from it. Introduce the concept of addition as well by asking him the total number of blocks in the pile if he adds one or two blocks.
- Musical instruments – Give your child some child-friendly chopsticks or even some spoons and let him play by arranging the blocks like a drum set.
- Pattern recreation – Build something with the blocks and encourage your child to recreate the structure or object. This activity is great for teaching kids the skill and importance of recognizing and following patterns.
2. Practice Cutting With Scissors
Using scissors is an excellent way to work on fine motor skills for young kids. In fact, scissor skills are one of the things your kids should know how to do before they reach kindergarten.
There are countless ways to practice cutting paper, but these Star Wars cutting practice worksheets are free and so much fun!
3. Playing With Clay
Handling, pinching, rolling, squeezing and other things your child does to create something out of clay are great for building small muscle control and strength.
Giving your little one a plastic knife, a pair of scissors, a small pin roller, and other items he can use to mold clay will allow him to make use of his fingers and hands even more.
When your child is playing with clay, let him create whatever he wants. This will enable your child to let his imagination and creativity run free.
4. Threading And Stringing
By giving your little one pieces of pipe cleaners, yarn, or thread and some items with holes, you’ll give him hours of amazing fun. You’ll help him work out his finger, hand and forearm muscles, too.
Making macaroni necklaces is a fun activity that combines threading and stringing. Simply give your little one some pieces of uncooked macaroni pasta and pieces of thread. Help him make the knot once he’s done to complete the necklace.
For toddlers, it is best to give them pipe cleaners first so that they won’t have a hard time and get too frustrated with this activity.
Once your child gets better at manipulating objects, give him different types of threads, smaller beads and even some designs he can follow for his masterpieces.
5. Sand Play
Sand also helps develop kids’ fine motor skills. Whenever they touch, carry and scoop sand, they get to exercise their finger and hand muscles.
Having a sandbox or bringing your child to a playground with sand is a wonderful way to get him playing, without having to build a sandbox in your yard. You can give your little one a bucket of sand (you can buy packs from a construction or home improvement store) and let him play on a table or a mat on the lawn.
You can even give him some toy trucks or blocks so he won’t run out of things to do while he’s playing with sand.
Check out this salt dough fossil dinosaur sensory bin for fun sand play.
Letting your child paint using his fingers will help him improve manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
It’s also a good way to let your little one discover different textures and learn about colors.
To avoid creating a mess in the living room or his bedroom, set up an “art room” in the yard or the garage.
The Value Of Educational Toys
I know it can be hard to keep track of all the important milestones your child has to meet.
It really helps to have a guide to follow (I use this one from the Child Mind Institute) to be sure your little one is growing normally and developing all the essential skills.
This guide has also helped me a lot in choosing the right educational non-toxic toys for my kids to be sure they have the best playthings suitable for their age and capabilities.
Simple, everyday toys and objects can help kids build and enhance their fine motor skills. As such, don’t ignore the value of play and getting the right toys and items for your little one.
Sreeya Patil Wiesner is the founder of EcoToys in Dubai, UAE. She started her online toy store with an aim to provide healthy, safe and eco-friendly wooden toys to kids 0-6 years of age.
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Fine Motor Skills Toys: