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Kindergarten Readiness: Fine Motor Skills

Help your child get ready for kindergarten by developing fine motor skills

Developing fine motor skills is a big part of getting your child ready for kindergarten, where they will be expected to spend the year learning to print neatly! Fortunately, there are plenty of fun ways to help your child develop the kindergarten readiness fine motor skills they need to excel! Today I am sharing some fine motor skill building activities my children enjoy!

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Sensory Play

Playing with malleable materials like play dough gives your child the strength they need to develop their fine motor skills! I shared some of my favorite play dough tools here, but kitchen utensils work beautifully! Stamping is a fun way to get kids looking at play dough in a new way ! My kids also enjoy making accessories for their small toys, setting up play dough bakeries, and combining play dough with unusual materials such as rocks, googley eyes, and even kleenex! We repurposed a water table into a sensory table, and my kids really enjoy exploring different materials this way!

Get Crafty

Sewing is a great fine motor activity for kids, and my four-year-old adores our rainbow loom! You can start kids off sewing on paper or felt – both are very child-friendly materials, and can be sewn using a blunt tip embroidery needle (always supervise kids with needles, whether they have sharp or blunt ends!) The popular rainbow looms are also great at building fine motor skills! I bought a few imitation looms before deciding that this is one case where paying for the brand name version is worth the money! My kids find the mini looms easier to work with than the full-size version.

Any craft activity builds fine motor skills – painting, drawing, arranging leaves in patterns, cutting, and gluing – so feel free to gravitate towards the activities that you and your child enjoy best!

Toys, Games, and Puzzles

Long-time readers of this blog know that I adore LEGO sets! Kindergarten-aged children are often getting old for DUPLO sets but too young for traditional LEGO sets, so I was thrilled to find out that LEGO released a LEGO Juniors line that is perfect for this in-between stage! I also recommend pattern blocks (which we often use with play dough and as a sensory activity) and Magna-Tiles. We aren’t a big game family, but my kids really enjoy Spot It Junior and Rush Hour Junior. They also enjoy playing with Travel Scrabble (only my eight-year-old plays the game properly, but it’s fun fine motor practice and letter recognition for younger kids). With all of these toys and games, kids are learning while they play – beyond simply developing fine motor skills.

Slow Down

Kids focus best on fine motor skills when they are not under pressure! My kids really enjoy listening to a book on tape while they craft, or simply sitting around the table crafting, playing a game, or playing with play dough while we chat. Sometimes we describe what we are working on, sometimes we explore whimsical what-ifs, and sometimes my kids talk to me about things that have been on their minds. It makes for wonderful mellow family time, and is great for parent-child bonding!

What fine motor skills developing activities have your kids enjoyed?

Get Ready for K Through Play button

This post is the fifth in this year’s Get Ready for Kindergarten Through Play series! Here are some great ideas from my co-hosts for this series, and clicking on the button above will take you to the links from my blog for both last year and this year!

MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

23 thoughts on “Kindergarten Readiness: Fine Motor Skills”

  1. I’m so happy you mentioned the Junior line! We have an FAS/FAE child with us this summer and regular Lego is too difficult, but I think he would feel too old for Duplo, so this is a great compromise so he can seemingly be doing the same things as the other children without getting frustrated. Thanks!

  2. I didn’t realize LEGO had a Junior line! You’ve got some great ideas for developing those fine motor skills!

  3. Great points!! I really need to work on the fine motor and there is some coordination issue as well with Aarya :) I am sure all of this will help.

  4. I think the Lego Juniors line is a brilliant plan on their part because I agree, they need a step between those super hard sets for upper elementary and the basic stuff of Duplos. I really want to get the Batman set, but my boys have zero interest in it, and I can’t really justify getting it for myself.

  5. Lots of great ideas MaryAnne. Fine motor is like speech, there is a wide range that is considered developmentally normal. My son struggle with fine motor and my biggest challenge is keeping him from getting discouraged.

    1. You are right – there is a huge range that is normal. My kids tend to do really well with fine motor skills and struggle more with gross motor (but are still within the normal range). I think the key is to find a way to help kids develop skills in a way they enjoy (we use swimming and soccer, for example, to build gross motor skills because my kids really enjoy both activities even if they do not excel at them.)

  6. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    Great post! Lily has nothing to worry about when it comes to fine motor skills :)

  7. Thanks, Mary Anne. We love Legos too, actually Adam gets a set every Christmas, and he is so nice to share HIS set and build it with the kids (Fine Motor skills, and team work!)! The Legos jr. is going to be perfect for Joseph real soon, he will go gaga over the batman set.

  8. Elisa | blissfulE

    I love how you take the time to listen and imagine with your children while they are playing quietly.

  9. Robin DeLamater

    Your ideas all sound great and I can see that you really observe and reflect on what your children do. Might I also add that these activities are all valuable in their own right–not just as a means to the end called ‘fine motor coordination’?

    1. Yes! That is an excellent point to add, Robin! That is actually the main reason we engage in these types of activities – I see the fine motor skill building as a nice bonus. :)

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