Preschool Ready: Activities for Fine Motor Development

This month’s Preschool Ready series post includes some fun activities for little ones aged 0-5 to help develop their fine motor skills. According to University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, “fine motor skills are what allow us to use the small muscle groups in the hands, fingers, and wrists in a controlled way.” Little ones start exhibiting these skills from infancy and they are continually developing through school-age years.  

With the importance of growing fine motor skills in mind, see below for some activities that will help support the development of these skills:   

1. Sensory Bin Activities

A great way to develop fine motor skills is to expose little ones to sensory bins or activities. Having a sensory bin with sand, water, or other materials is a great way to have little ones use their hands to grasp objects within those bins. As children get older, encourage them to use tools like tongs to grasp the items out of the bins and strengthen their hand muscles.

2. Painting

Another activity that helps support fine motor skills is painting. From using paint brushes, to finger painting, to using items to stamp into the paint like fruit, all of these different methods of painting help support a little one’s hand, wrist and finger muscles to develop.

3. Play-Doh, Cookie Dough, Clay, Slime & More

One fun way to include fine motor skills with little ones is in having them help in baking. Having little one squeeze, shape, and work with cookie dough or any kind of baking dough will help them build up those hand, finger and wrist muscles. This also applies to playing with Play-Doh, slime, clay and other similar materials.  

4. Paper and Tissue Paper Art

A fun, simple way to start building up a little one’s fine motor skills is with paper or tissue paper art. Have little ones rip or tear up construction paper or tissue paper and then use stick glue to create an image or piece of art. There are a lot of different ideas on how to use this method for creating paper art. You can find many of them online or on Pinterest. One great idea is to have them make a collage or make a rainbow from the torn paper pieces.

Once little ones get older you can transition them into using scissors versus tearing the paper.

5. Sorting Activities

Another simple, but fun way to encourage fine motor skill development is to set out sorting activities for your little one to complete. For infants and young ones, you can encourage them to put items into a bucket or box or have them put away toys or objects. For older children, you can start having them sort object by color or size or item. You can increase the difficulty or skill level by having your little ones use tongs, clothes pins, or tweezers to pick up and move the items over to where they’re being sorted.

For more ideas and information, check out these books in our collection: