Fine motor skills are the coordination of the small muscles and the eyes. They mostly refer to the small muscles in the hands and fingers. With the development of fine motor skills, children will be able to achieve functions across a range of skills including:
Academic - writing, drawing, scribbling, cutting with scissors, etc
Self-care - brushing teeth and hair, tying shoelaces, get dressed, using a zipper and buttons, using silverware for eating
Play - building blocks, threading a bead, grasping small objects,
Best activities and toys for fine motor skill development
There are many ways we can help encourage the development of fine motor skills in our children simply through play and experimentation. Giving your child finger foods, picking up objects, pulling up a zipper are all great examples of ways to practice fine motor movements and foster and manipulation skills. Below we'll take a look at some recommended toys and activities for fine motor development.
Activities & Toys for Fine Motor Development: Art
Drawing, scribbling, and painting are great ways for your child to develop their fine motor skills as well as help improve hand eye coordination. With every messy scribble, your child practices hand and finger control as she starts to gain better control over her muscles. She'll eventually learn to adapt her grip and understand the amount of force and pressure needed, depending on the medium! Have fun with finger painting, paint brushes, market pens, chalk, crayons and pencils!
Activities & Toys for Fine Motor Development: Matching Toys
Two handed tasks, i.e. tasks which require the coordination of both hands are great tools for development. Things like the Egg Shapes and Counting Apples are fun ways to practice fine motor development as your child turns the pieces to slot them together, while learning a host of other essential skills such as matching, counting, color recognition, and sorting.
Activities & Toys for Fine Motor Development: Scissors & Tongs
Learning to cut with scissors is a skill every pre-schooler learns. It's a great way to develop independent finger movements and hand dexterity while strengthening hand muscles. It also gives kids the opportunity to practice bilateral/dual hand coordination as they hold the scissors with one hand and the paper with their other (non-dominant) hand, while tracking with their eyes. The Skoolzy Rainbow Scissors and Tongs are perfect for little ones who will use the tong attachments provided for scooping and pouring, while older kids can remove the attachments and use the scissors for cutting.
Activities & Toys for Fine Motor Development: Threading Beads
Activities like threading beads are perfect for strengthening the small muscles in children's hands as they use various hand movements to grasp different sized beads. It's also great for hand-eye coordination, concentration and focus as well as for the development of visual perceptual skills. Skoolzy offer a range of stringing beads, depending on age. The Jumbo Lacing & Stringing Beads Set (12 months +) and The Lacing & Stringing Bead Set (2 years +) and the Peg Board Lacing Set with oversized pegs (12 months +) enable your child to also practice shape and color recognition, sorting and patterning!
Activities & Toys for Fine Motor Development: Buckets, Water, Sponges, Cups and More!
There are so many different ways to play - all you need is a couple of containers, and some water (and a sponge for added fun). Fill up a couple of containers with water and encourage your child to pour the water from one container to the other, or to soak a sponge and squeeze the water into a receptacle, helping strengthen her ams and hands. This simple game will provide so much fun and many opportunities to develop fine motor skills.
You can also try it with cups – scooping up water or small objects and pouring them from one cup into another (different sized receptacles will help teach volume too) – to make it even more fun, add some food coloring to the water and make this a color mixing experiment. Check out the Colored Bears & Cups for some fun tipping and pouring out the bears, as well as practicing color recognition, sorting, counting and patterning.
Activities & Toys for Fine Motor Development: Building & Construction
Building and construction toys are great for fine motor skill development as your child will be exposed to a variety of hand movements. Whether they're turning screws, pushing in straws, pulling out bolts, or snapping parts together, they'll have an abundance of fun, while giving their hand muscles a great workout! Check out Skoolzy's Nuts & Bolts Set for Toddlers, the Create O Flakes (also comes in jumbo size for smaller hands!), the Star Flex Connection Kit, the Connect A Straws the Toddler Tool Set, the Klikio Connecting Blocks, or the Jumbo Nuts & Bolts!
Activities & Toys for Fine Motor Development: Building Blocks
Stacking and building toys are great developmental toys that'll develop hand dexterity, and hand-eye coordination while working on other skills including learning colors, letters, stacking and sorting with the Alphabet Blocks, geometric shapes and colors with the Geometric 3D Shapes and color recognition and cognitive muscles with the Colored Stacking Cups.
Activities & Toys for Fine Motor Development: Play Do’Oh, Putty and Slime
These sensory-friendly materials are great for little ones to help develop their fine motor skills. Encourage your child to squeeze, pull, stretch, roll and pinch the putty as they make a worm or a ball or toppings for a play d’oh pizza!
Cooking and baking is also a great way to develop fine motor skills and have a ton of yummy fun! Have your child help out in the kitchen and make shapes out of dough for cookies, pour ingredients into a bowl, and decorate cupcakes!