10 Fine Motor Activities You Can Do Over and Over Again

Fine motor skill is the ability to coordinate the use of small muscles, particularly fingers and hands, with one’s eyes. It helps children develop independence in doing day-to-day activities like dressing up or preparing food. It also helps in writing readiness as it strengthens your child’s finger muscles. We’ve done different fine motor activities over the years and we’re still doing them up to now. I think we started at around three years old. Our son is five now. c”,)

I’ve compiled everything we’ve done in this blog as a quick reference for all mommas like me looking for things that will keep our little ones busy! c”,)

1. Stacking

You can use blocks, Lego, cups, or anything your child can stack! c”,) Sometimes my son would stack his cars, animals, and our pillows! The goal is for them to challenge themselves to balance the items and practice carefully placing one item over another. c”,)

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2. Scooping

The simplest item you can use for this is tabo (small bucket with an extended handle). For non-Filipinos reading this, it’s pretty much like the big version of the rice scooper Timmy is using here. Use the tabo to scoop and transfer water from one basin to another or one pail to another.  Do this during bath time! You can also use rice and ask your little one to help you cook rice. An alternative would be using beans and a milk scooper for smaller containers. c”,)

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3. Squeezing

Squeezing sponge is still a blockbuster for us especially when he helps me in washing the dishes. Timmy particularly likes the foamy liquid that comes from the sponge. But just squishing water from one container to another can bring a lot of smiles already! c”,)

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You can also use a baster for the squeezing exercise. To make it more fun, put food coloring and do some color mixing! It also makes a squirting sound which makes Timmy giggle. We haven’t done this in a while but this is one of his favorites. We’ll do this again this week. I still have a lot of food coloring! Haha! c”,)

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Use a dropper to strengthen your child’s pincer grip more. You can also do color mixing in the process. I made a mistake using jelly or gulaman powder for coloring. The water started to solidify even if I used tap water! Yikes! Good thing Timmy was able to enjoy it before it turned all elastic. Haha! I used food coloring afterward. c”,) We also used his small medicine cups for the activity.

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Squeezing glue not only helps your child’s fine motor skills but also allows him to practice restraint. I asked Timmy to put glue on small pieces of confetti and while he does it we chant, “Dot, dot not a lot!” repeatedly. c”,) The goal is not to let the glue seep out of the confetti when he puts it on paper. I told him that this shows that he placed the right amount of glue. If it seeps out, he needs to restraint or control his squeezing for the next confetti. c”,)

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4. Poking

We used a styrofoam board and push pins for this activity. I taped colored papers on both sides of the styrofoam. We did three different activities. First, Timmy decided to sort the pins by color. Second, I drew shapes on the paper and asked him to trace it by poking on it. Lastly, he used rubber bands to make different shapes. c”,)

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5. Sewing

We used yarn and a big blunt end needle. I got it from Carolina’s. I think you can buy it in sewing shops. Even if it’s a blunt needle, this should be a guided activity. We made a variation of this activity by punching holes and sewing the yarn directly to the W cutout, which we did during our letter of the week. c”,)

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6. Pinching

You can use clothespins or sipit, tweezers, or kitchen tongs for this simple activity. c”,) To make it more exciting, I wrote numbers and letters on the clothespins.

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7. Tracing

My son doesn’t like tracing. But when he sees words that he likes, he happily obliges. c”,) I customized NBA tracing sheets for him. He also enjoys it if the words are about a book that he likes.

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This activity is not really tracing but more on doodling. Put poster color on ziplock. Spread the paint and let your child use cotton buds or Q tips to doodle! c”,)

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8. Inserting

The easiest home items you can find for this activity are piggy banks or alkansya and toothpick bottles. Inserting tiny items into holes increases your child’s concentration and sharpens his fine motor skills. We got this old school toy for less than P150.00 only at National Book Store. It’s also good for making patterns! c”,)

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We also used a colander or noodle drainer and some pipe cleaners for this activity. c”,) If you don’t have these, you can use an ordinary strainer and some uncooked spaghetti noodles!

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Inserting pegs on holes is also a great fine motor practice. c”,) In these photos, Timmy sorted by color and imagined that he was making his own solar system! Too cute!

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9. Cutting

I introduced cutting when Timmy was four years old. To make it easy for him, I asked him to cut strips of papers with lines as borders to make smiley badges. c”,) Cutting confetti is one of his favorite activities lately! It’s just messy when he starts to play with it. Haha!

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10. Slicing

Timmy just started to learn how to slice. I waited a bit longer before introducing it to him. When he was younger, he sliced his velcro-fastened toy fruits using a plastic knife. Now that his grip is stronger and he has better eye-hand coordination, I taught him how to hold and use a knife. Only do this if you’re confident that your child is capable of doing it. Here he is slicing potatoes. c”,)

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Other great fine motor activities your child can do are:

  • playing with clay
  • beading
  • buttoning
  • paper tearing
  • paper crumpling
  • bubble wrap popping
  • peeling off stickers or double-sided tape

What other fine motor activities have you done? I’d love to hear from you! c”,)

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