Preschool, Toddler, And Infant Fine Motor Activities

Below you will find a simple list of preschool, toddler, and infant fine motor activities, toys, and games you could/should use to improve and develop your child's fine motor skills.

Remember, fine motor skills are developing and children are building a critical foundation for future fine motor abilities within the first 6 years of life.

Infants, toddlers, and preschool children need to develop their fine motor skills so they are able to write, dress and play independently. Fine motor development is critical to later functioning!

Use these preschool, toddler, and infant fine motor activities and ideas to help them develop foundational fine motor skills they will need! And remember, help them have FUN doing it.

Rattles And Teethers:

* shake, bang, reach for, and/or hold them

Banging Activities:

* banging two toys together
* pound-a-ball toys
* banging hands on high chair
* toy workbench and hammer toys
* musical instruments

Putting Things In And Out Of Different Containers

Finger Painting:

* making lines, letters, shapes with index finger in paint, pudding, Kool-Aid powder, flour, "Funny Foam", shaving cream, etc.

** Note: if child is significantly distressed by touching these materials or getting hands messy, he may have tactile defensiveness

Doing Finger Play, Rhymes And Singing Songs With Hand Movements


* pop bubbles by clapping
* pop bubbles by poking
* have child place bubble wand in and out of containers
* try to catch bubbles on the wand


* using different size crayons and markers
* using finger crayons

Stacking Activities:

* rings
* blocks
* books
* cookies
* legos
* cups
* small empty containers
* small cardboard boxes or empty shoe boxes (decorate them too if you like)

Placing Pennies Or  Small Wooden Shapes Into Slots (banks, homemade can with slot cut in lid, or use "Barnyard Bingo" game)

Some (Of Many) Examples Of Eye-Hand Coordination Toys:

* potato heads
* pop beads
* puzzles
* magnadoodle, color pixter, etch a sketch
* wind up toys
* shape sorters
* peg boards
* books, or touch/sound books
* activity tables
* ball play

Play Dough, Silly Putty, Theraputty, Or Clay:

* roll into balls or snakes
* use shaped cutters, rolling pins, and garlic press
* play dough factories
* hide items in putty and pull apart to find

Stringing Activities:

* large beads
* colored macaroni
* cereal

Paper Activities:

* rip tissue or construction paper and put on contact paper to make a sun catcher
* use ripped paper to fill in/paste onto a pre-drawn shape
* use kids scissors to cut out simple shapes or strips of paper
* use small manipulatives to create a collage or picture
* make paper chains

Dressing Activities:

* "learn to dress" dolls, boards, and puzzles
* zipper and snap toys
* put clothes on dolls

Strengthening  Activities: :

* use a spray bottle to squirt colored water on picture or snow
* use hole punches
* push pegs into clay
* cut cardboard
* mix ingredients for baking/cooking

Activities:  To Develop Child's "Web Space" (the circle that forms with index finger and thumb... needed for proper "tripod grasp" on pencil):

* use tweezers to pick up small objects or cotton balls
* pop bubbles on packing sheets
* open/close ziplock bags
* use wind up toys or spin "Doodle Tops"
* use an eye dropper to make pictures with colored water by dripping drops of water on paper towels, tissue paper, or coffee filters
* roll up balls of cookie dough, tissue paper, or play dough

Naturally, the age of the child will determine which preschool, toddler, or infant fine motor activities you use. The outcome, however, will be the same; developing the important muscles of the hand and wrist to allow for precise hand control and strength, but HOW you get there will be different.

Again, if your child shows significant fine motor delays and is unable to complete multiple tasks listed here (that are age appropriate; see fine motor development chart for specifics ), contact your community's early intervention program or the school's Occupational Therapist. Proper assessment and treatment (as early as possibe!) will be critically important.

Above all... have fun playing!

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Related Resources and Further Reading

Early Intervention Checklist (red flags that may warrant a referral)

Gross Motor Activity Ideas For Toddlers

Fine Motor Development Chart

Handwriting Help (Handwriting Without Tears Program)

Other Great Infant Activity Ideas

Play-Doh Recipes

Pre-Writing Activities For Preschool Children

Scissor Practice Activities

What Is Occupational Therapy?

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