Every parent who researches developmental milestones will likely read about fine motor and gross motor skills. If you’re like me you’re looking for fine motor skills examples to make sure your child is progressing as they should. We’ve compiled some great examples of fine motor skills that babies and toddlers should have. We’ll also try to provide some fine motor activities that you can engage your child in.
Fine Motor Skills: A Definition
Fine motor skill are skills developed when learning to control small muscles, such as wrists, fingers, hand, feet, toes, lips, and tongue. Essentially any movement involving the small muscles.
Why are Fine Motor Skills Important
Fine motor skills are important because they are the base of more important milestones and basic everyday tasks. When you help children develop their fine motor skills you set them on a path to achieve these milestones. They provide your little one with independence and confidence.
I often can’t wait for my daughter to be able to start dressing herself. This can only be achieved through the development of certain fine motor skills.
Examples of Fine Motor Skills By Age
Fine Motor Skills for Babies (under the age of 2)
- Holding a toy with two hands using their palms
- Licking a spoon
- Zippering a bag open and closed
- Placing objects into containers
- Stirring with a spoon
- Turning a doorknob
- Eating with a fork
- Transfer object from one hand to another
- Reaches for toys
- Pick up small foods with pincer grasp
- Points to objects
Fine Motor Skills for Toddlers
- Build a tower using blocks
- Squeezing an eye dropper
- Using tweezers
- Lacing boards
- Using salad tongs
- Pouring milk in a glass
- Scooping from one bowl to another
- Using a water gun
- Using a spray bottle
- Pinching their sibling (ok that is a joke)
- Using a dust pan
- Typing specific buttons on a keyboard
- Builds small towers with blocks
- Beginning to work with a scissor
- Video games
- Drawing with pencil or crayon
Fine Motor Skills for Big Kids
- Dressing quickly
- Zippering a jacket
- Tying a shoe
- Threading a needle
- Tying a knot
- Making friendship bracelets
- Cutting with scissors proficiently
- Writing properly a pencil
- Painting with a paintbrush
- Tracing a picture
- Playing the piano
- Drawing detailed pictures with recognizable objects
- Color inside the lines
Fine Motor Activities
There are many ways to help your child enhance and work on those fine motor skills. Some are everyday tasks that you can involve your kid in…when you’re feeling extra patient that is.
If you’re looking for fun activities to engage your child in here are some great fine motor activities.
Fine Motor Activities with Tweezers
FINE MOTOR FUN FEEDING THE BIRDS (Learning4Kids) What I love about this is the pretend play aspect and the fact that it requires very few items. I have TONS of yarn laying around so it’ll finally get some use. This activity is definitely NOT for the birds.
Simple counting activity for children (Laughing Kids Learn) Another really great activity using stuff around the house. If you know me, you know those are my favorite activities. You can throw this together in a few minutes. Free, fast, and fun!
Fine Motor Activities with Clothespins
Create a Clothespin Alphabet Activity (Education.com) Education.com’s great tutorial helps your little one work on spelling and sight words in addition to fine motor skills.
Clothespin Counting and Color Matching Activity (Where Imagination Grows) Great for little ones who are learning their colors and counting. It takes a little bit of preparation if you go the color chip route. For quicker execution you can use colored construction paper and colored clothespins or you can just color them with markers.
‘Claw Grabbing Machine’ to Strengthen Fine Motor Skills (Hands On As We Grow) Great simple activity using things around the house. My favorite kind! Another fast, free, and fun activity.
http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2009/02/we-dig-dinosaurs.html . I love this little dinosaur! Being a lover of the arts, any fine motor activity that requires us to get the paints out is a good one in my book. If you want to switch it up, you can find other animals like porcupines or peacocks that you can make as well.
Fine Motor Activities with Pool Noodles
Busy Bag Idea: Pool Noodle Stringing (Money Saving Mom) Once you have your pool noodles cut up there are tons of activities. This one approaches fine motor skills with lacing the noodle pieces.
POOL NOODLE ACTIVITIES FINE MOTOR FUN (Learning4Kids) It’s the trifecta! Pool Noodles, Tweezers, and Pom Poms. I love the hand eye coordination involved in placing the pom poms on the noodles. You can incorporate color matching with different color pool noodles if you want to get fancy like that!
BUILDING POOL NOODLE STRUCTURES WITH TOOTHPICKS (Little Bins for Little Hands) I simply love this idea. Being a mother of 2 girls I want to get them excited about STEM activities. This one seems very simple. A great alternative if you’re bored of constantly building with Mega Bloks. This is an activity that is better suited for bigger kids.
Fine Motor Activities with Pom Poms
Homemade Toy: Pushing Puff Balls – Easy peasy! I learned early on that little ones love placing pom poms in containers. I used an empty wipes box for a while but you can easily use a leftover container and cut holes in it.
Blowing Pom Poms Alphabet Activity (Mom Inspired Life) – Fine motor, letter recognition and some STEM! For bigger kids you can really talk about how the force you place on the squeeze bottle changes the distance the pom pom travels.
Fine motor Play from Recyclables (Teach Me Mommy) Another reason I save garbage. I love creating little shoots for pom poms to fall through. It’s easy and fairly quick to set up. Best thing is it is a very quiet activity!
Fine Motor Activities at the Water Table
Duck Race Fine Motor Sensory Play (Fantastic Fun and Learning) – I tend to buy spray bottles every time I see them. And now I have a great reason to continue. I don’t have tons of duckies laying around but you can probably use bath toys or pool noodle discs as great alternatives. Those duckies are pretty cute though.
NET FISHING FINE MOTOR PLAY (Best Toys 4 Toddlers) Activities like this is why I feel like I’m always hoarding trash. Jar lids are great items to have on hand for these types of water table activities. Float some tops in water and have your little one fish them out using a net. If you don’t have a fancy net, use a strainer from your kitchen drawer. You can even use tweezers if you want. If you have a variety of colored tops, turn this into a color sorting activity too!
BABY BATH STATION: PRETEND PLAY WATER ACTIVITY FOR TODDLERS (Happy Hooligans) I love seeing little girls and boys caring for their baby dolls. It’s just too sweet. This idea engages them in pretend play while having them utilize their fine motor skills to clean their little baby dolls. Sweetness!
I hope you were able to find some great activities to engage your little ones and work on their fine motor skills. What other activities do you do with your kids? Share some in the comments below!
Image from flickr