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22 fine motor skills activities

All children will develop their fine motor skills at different paces, but there are plenty of fun activities that we can introduce them to to help them along the way. By inspiring your child’s creativity and encouraging them to practice their fine motor skills as they play, you’ll help to build up their strength and dexterity. 

In this article, we’ll explore fine motor skills, discussing what they are and why they’re such an important part of development in the early years. Then, we’ll take you through 22 activities that are brilliant for improving fine motor skills – and great fun too. 

What are Fine Motor Skills?

When we talk about fine motor skills, we’re referring to our ability to use the small muscles in our hands which are responsible for making very specific movements. 

Unlike gross motor skills, like walking, running and jumping, fine motor skills are much more precise. They’re also used in all kinds of daily tasks that will become even more important as your child grows and becomes more independent.


Examples of Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills range from the ability to hold and use a pencil, to the use of scissors and the ability to stack blocks. 

As mentioned above, the development of fine motor skills also equips children with the physical ability to complete a number of other tasks that are crucial to their growing independence. These include tasks related to getting dressed, such as tying shoelaces and doing up buttons, along with eating-related tasks like being able to use cutlery and open packets and lunch boxes. 

Fine motor skills can also be a huge help when it comes to personal hygiene, enabling children to start brushing their own teeth and hair, and use the bathroom independently. 


Why are Fine Motor Skills Important?

Fine motor skills are just as important to a child’s development as any other set of skills. As they are used in so many day-to-day tasks, they can make a difference to how independent your child can be. 

As we all know, toddlers tend to know their own mind from a very early age. Practising fine motor skills activities at home can really help children to be able to perform all the tasks they want to such as putting on shoes, cutting up food and brushing their teeth. 

As they grow up and head off to school, children will use their fine motor skills to do things such as write, draw and manipulate objects. 


Fine Motor Skill Games To Try At Home

You don’t need expensive equipment or huge amounts of time to practise fine motor skills with your child at home. In fact, many of the activities that are ideal for the development of fine motor skills rely on things you will likely already have in the cupboard. 

Take a look at some of our top suggestions for fun fine motor activities that’ll keep your children entertained as they learn. 


1. Playdough

Playdough exploration helps strengthen the muscles in children’s hands, improving their fine motor abilities. 


2. Mark Making With Paints

Develop fine motor skills by encouraging your child to make marks on paper with coloured paints. 


3. Modelling With Junk

Raid your recycling and help your child use their imagination to create art using all kinds of household objects. 


4. Block and Sponge Printing

The use of blocks and sponges adds another element to mark making activities. 


5. Colander Threading

Children can practise their hand-eye coordination as they develop fine motor skills with a simple threading activity. 


6. Animal Bath

Young animal enthusiasts will love bathing their toy animals as they explore different textures and improvise actions. 


7. Homemade Wall Art

Use tape to spell out your child’s name, then give them full reign to be as creative as they like decorating the paper. The end result is always brilliant! 


8. Frozen Painting

Perfect for a hot summer’s day, this activity uses water, food colouring and duplo blocks to create unique artworks.


9. Continue The Picture

Let imaginations come alive as children complete pictures of any objects of their interest. You’ll be amazed at what they come up with. 


10. Sticky Tape Patterns

Decorate a cool radiator with coloured tape and let children play. They’ll strengthen their hand muscles as they pull the tape, and they may even create some games of their own in the process. 


11. Box Threading

Threading is brilliant for fine motor skill development, and it keeps children busy for a surprisingly long time. Create a threading activity using a cardboard box and let them explore. 


12. Balloon Volleyball

Burn off some energy with balloon volleyball, the perfect indoor activity for a rainy day. 


13. Make Lemonade 

This sensory activity could well inspire the next culinary genius – and it’s so simple to do at home. 


14. Homemade Telephone

We love seeing how children interpret role play toys. This homemade telephone is always a hit, and it’s ideal for those looking to improve their fine motor skills. 


15. Sensory Paint Splodges

It’s never too early to start developing those fine motor skills. Babies and young toddlers love exploring paint via this sensory activity (and it’s relatively mess-free too!)


16. Playing With Fridge Magnets

Fridge magnets can inspire all kinds of play, and children don’t even realise they’re working on their fine motor skills as they manipulate the magnets. 


17. Rubber Bands

Challenge your toddler to wrap a can in rubber bands – it’s great for their fine motor skills and tricky enough for them to get a real sense of achievement. 


18. Finger Gym

Try out these finger gym activities to help your child strengthen the muscles they need for fine motor skill development. 


19. Drawing Soup Tins

Any simple household item can be the inspiration behind your child’s next art project. Why not use a humble tin of soup and see what they create. 


20. Picasso Face Collages

Inspire budding artists with collage activities like this one. Children will develop their fine motor skills as they cut, arrange and stick paper to complete their project. 


21. Reading Together

Tasks like turning the pages of a book use fine motor skills, so you can help your child improve their abilities simply by reading with them. 


22. Cupcake Collages

Nothing boosts fine motor skills quite like a craft project. We love this cupcake collage idea, it never fails to spark creativity.