Fine motor activities are so important to strengthen little hands before they’re ready to do all the writing that’s waiting for them in kindergarten and beyond. Try some of these simple, low-prep activities!
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For years, I’ve seen fun fine motor activities all over the Internet. Truthfully, we didn’t take time to do many of them. My three oldest kids seemed to have strong fine motor skills without much extra attention from me. I still remember our middle son fitting a tiny earplug jack into its spot when he was just one year old.
But our youngest son still grasps a pencil with his fist, can’t do buttons or snaps, and struggles to make balls or snakes from play dough. We’ve started collecting playful fine motor activities to strengthen the little muscles of his hands and fingers. Check out what we’ve found!
A – Apples and toothpicks – All of my kids love building with food and toothpicks, so this apple building from Fun at Home with Kids is a sure winner!
B – Beads on pipe cleaners – This can even become a math activity when you show your child how to make patterns.
C – Cutting stations – Teaching Mama shows you how to have your child cut a variety of material to strengthen those little fingers.
D – Eye dropper painting – My preschooler had so much fun with this eye dropper painting from Laughing Kids Learn that I had to replace his paper towel four times!
E – Egg carton train – Save a cardboard egg carton and grab a pipe cleaner. Your child can make an egg carton train.
F – Fruit Loop necklace – Check out Hands On As We Grow’s quick tip to simplify the making of the classic Fruit Loop necklace. Less frustration, guaranteed!
G – Building with grapes – Recently my older boys (ages 5 and 6) were busy for a good thirty minutes making grape structures. Thankfully we were able to salvage the grapes and eat them for lunch – since they used a whole bag!
H – Hammering golf tees – I really want to order some golf tees so we can do this hammering activity from Hands On As We Grow.
I – Icicle cutting – Teach your child to cut on the lines with this cutting activity from Sugar Aunts.
J – Jewels on play dough – Craft jewels and gems are some of our favorite things to push into play dough.
K – Kitchen tools and play dough
L – Line tracing with loose parts – We tried this line tracing activity from Powerful Mothering on the driveway. I couldn’t believe how long it kept my three-year-old busy!
M – Marshmallows and tooth picks – Never underestimate the fun of this classic fine motor activity: building with marshmallows and toothpicks. My four-year-old made a bridge as long as the kitchen table!
N – Nuts and bolts – At Fun-a-Day, they used nuts and bolts for a combined math and problem solving activity.
O – Octopus painting – A Little Pinch of Perfect has a free octopus printable that your child can paint with Q-tips.
P – Mr. Potato Head and Play Dough – My preschooler and I had a lot of laughs when we used our play dough and Potato Head pieces to make silly creations, like they did at Happy Hooligans.
Q – Q tips in a colander – The holes on the bottom of our colander aren’t big enough, but my Three loved pushing them in on the sides. Meanwhile I gave his little sister (1 1/2 years) toothpicks to push through the bottom. I couldn’t believe how long they were busy! This simple fine motor activity is from Fantastic Fun and Learning.
S – Beads on spaghetti noodles – This is such a simple, satisfying activity for preschoolers. Slide beads onto dry spaghetti noodles. Learn more at The Imagination Tree.
T – Toothpicks and buttons – If you have a collection of buttons with holes, give them to your child along with a mound of play dough and some toothpicks. These make beautiful little structures.
U – Sequin umbrella – Simply cut out a paper umbrella and give your child some glue and sequins. Handling the glue bottle and those tiny little gems works fine motor muscles for sure!
V – Velcro foam chain – School Time Snippets created a chain using craft foam and Velcro dots.
W – Water transfer – Challenge your child to transfer water from one bowl to another in a variety of ways. Learn what they used at Fun at Home with Kids
X – Make an X – How many ways can your child make an X? Try rulers, chopsticks, plastic silverware, crayons, markers, and any other straight objects you have sitting around home or the classroom.
Y – Yarn wrapping – Cutting Tiny Bites made these lovely leaves by wrapping yarn around cardboard.
Z – Zoo animal counting – Combine math with fine motor by doing adding beads to these zoo counting cards from Pre-K Pages.
And there you have it – 26 low-prep fine motor activities for kids! When my kids are close to kindergarten (or before, if they’re ready) we start our simple handwriting pages. Check out all our handwriting pages before you go!