Make It a Fine Motor Fall!

Fine motor skills are so important while you are Building Someone Amazing! How well your child can hold a pencil or crayon, cut with scissors, or button their shirt has a lot to do with how developed their fine motor skills are. Luckily, developing fine motor skills – learning to control the small muscles in the hands and wrists – is easy! There are lots of simple ways to help your little one master fine motor movements at home and most of them are really fun. So why not make it a fine motor fall? We’re sharing some of our favorite fine motor activities below – try one each day and repeat each week until your little one’s fine motor skills are up to snuff. Start with:

Pipe Cleaner Pasta

Stringing beads is a great way to develop fine motor skills, but pipe cleaners and pasta make it much easier and less frustrating, which means your kids are more likely to come back and try it again (and again, and again).

  1. Start by dying a bag of uncooked, tubular pasta in a few different colors (just toss a handful of pasta in a ziplock baggie with a few drops of food coloring and shake – your kids will love this part, too 😊 Once covered, shake the pasta out onto a paper towel and let it dry.
  • Pull a few pipe cleaners out of the pack and make a loop in one end of each.
  • Shake the dried pasta together into a large bowl and let your child loose! Show them how to choose a color, place it on the end of the pipe cleaner, and slide it down to the bottom. See if they can fill the entire pipe cleaner with pasta.

*For extra fun and learning, make a pattern on your pipe cleaner and see if your child can follow it – green, blue, green, blue for example. Then start a pattern and see if your child can figure out what comes next!

Tweezers and Tong Transfers

Grasping and manipulating tweezers and tongs is another fun way to build those fine motor skills!

  1. Start with a pair of large kitchen tongs and challenge your child to use them to stack a few blocks into a tower or move balled up socks from one mixing bowl to another.
  • Next, try sorting a bowlful of colorful pom poms into matching colored slots in an egg carton using a pair of child-friendly tweezers.
  • Triple the fun with Learning Resources’ Trip Grip Tongs – these three-pronged tongs are designed to strengthen the muscles and build the skills kids need to hold a pencil. Set out a bowl of marbles and see if your sweetie can use the Tongs to pick one up and move it to another bowl.

Learn a Slot

Save that coffee can! The plastic top and sturdy base are perfect for practicing slotting, another fine motor skill.

  1. Use a kitchen knife to carefully cut several slots slightly wider than your craft sticks into the top of an empty coffee can and replace the lid.
  • Set out the same number of craft sticks as slots in your lid and show your child how to slide the stick into the slot.
  • Count each stick as it slides into its slot, then count the total number of sticks. Count backwards as your child removes each stick. Once they’ve mastered slotting, add a challenge by writing numbers on the top of each stick and asking your little one to slot them into the lid in numerical order.

Wriggleworms!

Make a game of fine motor practice and your kids will want to play again and again! Learning Resources’ Wriggleworms! Fine Motor Activity Set has done the work for you, with an adorable garden full of wriggly worms ready to get plucked and sorted using a special Tri Grip Tong designed to strengthen the muscles in the hand and help kids learn to grip a pencil.

  1. Sneak some preschool learning into your fine motor play by using the tongs to pluck the worms and place them behind the matching colored fence, one by one.
  • Pluck a worm and place it on the included cards. Measure it against the outline, then place long worms on one side of the faux dirt patch and short ones on the other.
  • Spin the spinner to determine which colored or how many worms to pluck and place.

*Five fun preschool games develop fine motor skills AND provide practice with key preschool skills including color identification, sorting, critical thinking, early math, and more!