15 Places to Find Fine Motor Fun

While I’m away at the Australasian MOPS Conference, the super-lovely Christie from Childhood101 is guest posting for me:


Sometimes as parents we are in a rush to help our children conquer the ‘big’ milestones, like learning to read and write.  In our haste we sometimes forget about spending time working on the smaller steps which are just as important for our children to master along the way.  Just as learning to stand and cruise the furniture is a normal part of learning to walk, learning to write will be a much easier process for children who have had lots of opportunities for fun and playful practise of fine motor skills.  Handwriting will be much harder for a child who does not have reasonable control over a pencil or good co-ordination of what the brain thinks, the eye sees and the hand does.

When we think of fun ways with fine motor skills, puzzles, bead threading and building with blocks are usually the first activities to come to mind however some children have little interest in any, or all of, these.  For these children especially, looking outside the box for fun ways to develop fine motor skills is really important and there are plenty of opportunities to be had in all types of interesting places!

15 Places to Find Fine Motor Fun

At the beach

Try writing special messages to each other in the damp sand with your fingers.  Or get collecting, looking for shells with holes in them as they are perfect for threading onto string to make a simple bracelet or necklace, or hang your strings in the window to remind you of Summer all year long.

At the hardware store

Screwing together nuts and bolts, locking padlocks with mini keys and sliding latches all make for hours of concentration and fine motor fun, especially with preschoolers.  An easy lock board can be made by securing a combination of locks and latches to a small piece of peg board.

At the garden nursery

Bring home a seed packet or two of potted colour and have fun poking finger holes into your soil and then dropping one seed into each hole, it’s trickier than you think :)

In your sewing room

Make a simple toddler friendly sewing project using an embroidery hoop and plastic drawer liner.  Add a plastic needle or metal bodkin threaded with a colourful piece of wool, tying one end of the wool to the needle and the other through the a hole in the drawer liner.  Teach your child to push the needle through and pull until the wool is taut.  Preschoolers might like to embroider around simple shapes drawn onto the drawer liner with marker pen.

At the park

Find a patch of daisies and teach your preschooler the simple childhood joy of making daisy chain necklaces or crowns.

Whilst singing

Finger plays are not just fun to sing, doing the actions is great fine motor fun as well.  Start with The Incy Wincy Spider, Here is the Church, Round and Round the Garden, Pat A Cake, Pat A Cake, 1-2-3-4-5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive, Here is the Beehive… a Google search will help you find many, many more.

By the washing line

Pegging clothing is a quite a tricky skill when you really think about the co-ordination involved.  Set up a little clothes line and let your toddler or preschooler wash their dolls clothes and peg them out to dry.

In a tub of water

Give your toddler a tub of soapy water, a small cloth and a collection of interesting shells to wash.  What toddler doesn’t love playing with water?

At the breakfast table

Cereal isn’t just good for eating, hole-y cereal, like Cheerios, is also fun to thread.  A Cheerio necklace could just be the new answer to breakfast on the go!

In the playground

Why not introduce your preschooler or kindergartener to the childhood fun of a game of marbles?

In the shed

Give your child a sorting tray and a jar containing an assortment of screws or bolts of varying sizes – large, medium and small, and ask him/her to sort them into the tray according to size.

In the kitchen

Who would think fine motor skills could be found in a batch of biscuit dough?  Rolling dough, cutting with cookie cutters and decorating with icing and sprinkles all involve varying degrees of motor control.

For the Christmas tree

With Christmas closer then we like to think, why not get a head start on the decorations and make some clove covered oranges to hang in your home. They will look festive and smell great.  Another simple Christmas craft idea, suitable for preschoolers (under supervision) is to make tree decorations by pushing small round head pins through a sequin and into a polystyrene ball.

Whilst you are cleaning

Give your child a spray bottle of water and point them in the direction of any windows which need cleaning.  Wiping the water off with paper or a cloth is also good for large motor development.

On your games shelf

Grab out the dominoes and get busy making paths to knock down.  Early primary school aged children will enjoy the challenge of trying to make card houses from a deck of cards; also great for developing concentration, patience and task persistence.

Thanks Christie!
Jump over to Childhood101 for information, education and inspiration.

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