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Improve Kids Fine Motor Skills with 30 Materials & Activities

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Make fine motor activities easier and simpler to do with easy materials and activities to boost fine motor skills!

Fine motor activities have been put on a back burner in this house for a bit, about a year. Now we’re back on a big fine motor skills activity kick!

Which is probably a good thing.

Gross motor skills should come before fine motor skills.

Those big muscles help the little muscles!

But wow! What a difference a year makes!

You’ve got to try these cutting activities to build fine motor skills as well as learn to use scissors!

Last year, Henry wouldn’t sit still. He didn’t have any desire to do anything that didn’t involve a lot of running around.

We were really into activities that promoted his gross motor skills at that time.

But recently, Henry’s taken a turn and likes to focus on some of these littler things. He loves to cut especially.

Improve Kids Fine Motor Skills with 30 Materials & Activities

Now that’s he’s interested in these fine motor activities, what can we do?

I’ve gathered up some inspiration.

Looking for a cool, creative way to work fine motor skills practice into your play? Check out this giant list of activities and materials. You'll want to keep this on hand!

But, first of all, what are fine motor skills?

According to

"We use fine motor skills to make small movements. These movements come so naturally to most people that we usually don’t think about them. Fine motor skills are complex, however. They involve the coordinated efforts of the brain and muscles, and they’re built on the gross motor skills that allow us to make bigger movements."

Fine motor skills can include small movements such as:

  • holding a pencil
  • maneuvering a pencil
  • scissor skills
  • pushing Lego blocks together (and pulling them apart)
  • manipulating play dough
  • getting dressed with belts, buttons, zippers and snaps
  • using silverware while eating
  • opening and closing latches
  • technology/mouse manipulation
Fine motor skills helps children learn the essential everyday life skills tasks

As you can see, many of these skills are needed in a child’s (and adult’s) everyday tasks.

Without having gained strength in fine motor skills, a child can suffer moving forward. They may not have the ability to do these small tasks, but they also may lack the confidence to do more advanced tasks or projects because of this inability.

You can check out the chart of fine motor development on

Are you convinced now that fine motor skills are important to focus on just a bit?

Of course, I still recommend not going crazy about it. Don’t expect your kid to be able to make straight lines and hold their pencil correctly when they’re two years old.

Fine motor skills helps kids learn to write

But if you notice they are lacking in their fine motor ability, there are tons of fun ways to help improve it.

And even better, let’s just have fun with promoting their fine motor skills anytime! No need to wait until they’re behind, right?

Let’s just have fun!

Fine Motor Skills Activities Supply Suggestions

Some materials that promote fine motor skills… and click the link (or look below) to find a fine motor activity to do with them!

  • Pom Poms in general are small, needing small movements to grasp them, pick them up, and move them. They are fantastic material to work on hand eye coordination.
  • Buttons are also small items that work great in developing fine motor skills. Picking them up works those small muscles, But the true fine motor skills comes in the act of buttoning something up, that takes some amazing finger strength and hand eye coordination.
  • Paper Clips are great for finger movements and manipulation. Being able to slide the clip onto a piece of paper takes a lot of concentration for kids in preschool and kindergarten.
  • Clothespins are a fantastic material for building finger strength. We use them a lot in our learning activities that the kids absolutely love.
  • Rubber Bands also work on finger strength, but in the opposite way that most materials do. These are a fantastic addition to any fine motor activity!
  • Tweezers take a lot of hand eye coordination to be able to operate successfully and move an item from one place to another. Try it!
  • Pipe Cleaners can be used as a great tool for fine motor skills. They can be threaded and poked!
  • Straws can be used as beads, to thread onto something! But they also work great with play dough too.
  • Play Dough is fantastic for building those small muscles! Kneading, pushing and rolling the dough really helps! Find out how to make homemade playdough.
Play dough is a great tool to improve fine motor skills in children
  • Knobs and Screws (or Nuts and Bolts), any real tool from Dad’s toolbox is a hit for my kids! These also take incredible hand eye coordination and concentration to be able to tighten and loosen.
  • Stickers are amazing! Have your child try to peel the stickers off the sticker sheet! If it’s tricky, you can remove the non-sticker part of the sheet and it’s still an amazing fine motor activity. And then placing the sticker on a paper also takes hand control.
  • Hole Punch are hard! Trust me, your child will need to work up to this amount of muscle strength in their hands before they’ll be able to successfully do this. So plan to help out, but give them the chance to try!
  • Syringes are so much fun for kids and have the added bonus of working those small muscles in their hands with control so they don’t squirt the liquid out too fast.
  • Eye Droppers are a fun way for kids to work on their pincer grasp. Suck it up and let it out!
  • Kitchen Tongs can be a great tool for working on hand strength and control. Bring them out during clean up time and I bet your child will be more willing to pick up their toys plus you get the added bonus of working on their fine motor skills.
  • Toothpicks are small and take a good pincer grasp to be able to hold it.
Using toothpicks to help child improve their fine motor skills

Get the Fine Motor Go-To List printable here.

Fine Motor Skills Activity Ideas

Now that you have some materials to grab and have on hand to work on fine motor skill, put them to use with some of the activities that promote them!

These activities can be done with a great variety of materials, so don’t just limit yourself to what’s above. Instead, use our suggestions as inspiration!

Weaving activity idea to improve child's fine motor skills

If you’re struggling for younger kids to work on their fine motor skills, you may want to look into our fine motor activities for toddlers suggestions.

Get a quick print of these materials and what to do with them here, or click the image below.

30 fine motor materials and activities

These 32 activities are focused on objects that help strengthen a child’s hand grip.

Stock up on these fine motor materials, here are some handy affiliate links to get you started: Plastic Sewing Needles for KidsColorful ButtonsEye DroppersFiskars Pointed ScissorsMarblesBeads.

Before really focusing in on fine motor skills, get the kids moving and using their gross motor skills first!

What are your best tips and tricks to make fine motor skills activities super fun?

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