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Five Playful Ways to Develop Fine Motor Skills

Discover playful ways to help young children develop the fine motor skills that are so critical for school success.


5 Playful Ways to Develop Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are key to school success! Luckily, there are some very fun ways that kids can develop their fine motor skills. Here are a few that my childre enjoy.

1. Matching Games

Picking up a card and putting it back down without disturbing the cards around it during a game of Memory is great fine motor skill! Matching pattern blocks to cards is a great follow-up activity!

2. Drawing and Coloring

My kids love coloring – especially when there is room for creative expression!

Line art is a fun alternative to traditional coloring activities.

Fun, simple drawing games are always popular with my kids, and a great on-the-go activity!

White boards can remove some of the stress for perfectionism-inclined children.

Click here to read: 8 Ways to Teach Kids to Draw

3. Sensory Play

Working with sensory materials – from colored rice to corn starch – is a great way to get kids playing with small pieces and paying attention to details.

Try no-mess finger painting for days when neatness matters, and check out this list of messy and non-messy sensory toys.

4. Get Crafty

Fusible Melting beads are a fine motor challenge even for me!

Sewing is another excellent fine motor craft – you can start off sewing paper or go straight to felt!

Weaving is another excellent fine motor activity. Start with ribbon and threads that are further apart to make it accessible to little ones.

5. Stringing Activities

Cheerios are fantastic fine motor building objects! String them on pipe cleaners at the beginning, and then progress to yarn with a bit of tape around the end.

Bits of straw are also fun for children to string along a piece of yarn to create a simple necklace.

What are your favorite fine motor activities for kids?

Get Ready for K Through Play button

This post is the sixth of eight in the Get Ready for K Through Play series. Here are more fun ways to practice fine motor skills.

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

12 thoughts on “Five Playful Ways to Develop Fine Motor Skills”

  1. You know, we never really did stringing activities with yarn. We always did it on pipe cleaners. I should probably try Princess on yarn at some point.

  2. jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa

    I really like your list because it doesn’t include worksheets! All fun, hands-on, everyday type learning!

    My son loves to build and create spatial type projects. Little boys especially like Legos and building. Snapping all of those small pieces together requires fine motor skills. We have a variety of building toys.

    My daughter in particular enjoys sorting. We have a couple inexpensive plastic bead boxes. She likes to sort buttons, beads, small shells, etc. (Of course little ones need to be supervised when using small items.)

    My team took those fusible melting beads to our kids in Cambodia. Wow, they loved them!!! And they were much better at handling those tiny beads than me. I agree with you, those are quite a challenge.

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    Love your lists! Picking up small bits of food, like fallen rice grains around a plate at dinner, are a favourite fine motor activity for my youngest boy. :)

  4. All great idea. Now we added weaving to the list of fine motor and I am contemplating knitting :)

    1. Ooh thanks for the reminder! Added that to the list!

      Emma wants to try learning crochet this summer. We tried a few months ago with no luck, but maybe it’s time to try again.

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