Other Fine Motor Activities

Fine motor activities help to gain strength and coordination that can lead to success in dressing, eating, and other daily activities.
  • Dressing Activities
    • Dressing a doll
    • Tying a shoe
    • Practice buttoning and zipping
  • Kitchen Activities
    • Folding napkins or laundry
    • Whipping up instant pudding or mashed potatoes with a spoon
    • Opening jars of peanut butter or jelly, milk/pop bottle cap
    • Cutting small marshmallows in half. Turn the sticky side down and press onto a heart design, a circle design, onto the letters of the child's name, or any design
    • Making macaroni mosaic - glue different size/shape dry macaroni or noodles on paper to make pictures
  • Household Activities
    • Tearing newspaper into stripes and then crumpling them into balls to be used to stuff a scarecrow or other art creation
    • Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in 1 hand - great strength builder
    • Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons - without bringing them to the edge of the table
    • Using eye droppers to "pick up" colored water for color mixing or to make artistic designs on paper
    • Making a caterpillar out of an egg carton:
      • Use pipe cleaner for legs and antennae
      • Let the child try to punch holes for the legs and antennae with a hold punch for grip strength - encourage the child to try it on their own and use hand over hand assistance if they need help
      • Have the child glue small beads on for eyes and nose or color them on
  • Indoor Activities
    • Playing games with the "puppet fingers" - the thumb, index, and middle fingers - or playing finger play games like Itsy Bitsy Spider or Where is Thumpin
    • Playing with containers - find containers to open: Cool Whip bowls, film containers, lunch boxes with the old fashioned metal buckles, and containers with snaps on the lid, flip lids, or a small screw on the lid. Hide toys in the containers or place containers inside each other with the smallest container having a small piece of candy, a surprise note or toy in it - Good for finger manipulation
    • Playing with a lite bright - use your own design or have the child make random designs
    • Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements
    • Coloring books
    • Using stencils or cut out shapes to make pictures
    • Punching holes with a hole puncher around a shape or chard - then have the child weave yarn in and out of the holes
    • Stamping
    • Using small stickers or foam stickers
    • Sponge painting
    • Painting at an ease 
  • Outdoor Activities
    • Using a spray bottle to spray paint
      • Spray snow - mix food coloring with water so that the snow can be painted
      • Melt "monsters" - draw monster pictures with markers and the colors will run when sprayed
      • Make "butterflies" - spray colors on coffee filters
    • Using sidewalk chalk
  • Sorting Activities
    • Have the child remove lids of canning jars and sort objects according to color, size, etc, then screw the lid back on
    • Hook plastic shower curtain rings together, then unhook rings and place in a container
    • Play with wind up toys
    • Go rock picking - sort rocks by color, shape, size, or crystals - this works the fine motor pinch as well as the visual system to pick out similar items in a crowded area
  • Writing Skills
    • Writing a child's name - have the child make a glue line over the letters then place beads, candy pieces, or dried beans on the glue line
      • For higher difficulty, take a bead necklace and have the child cut the beads off the necklace then use a tweezers or tongs to pick up the beads and place on the glue line
    • Drawing shapes/letters/pictures on different textures - sacks, newspaper, aluminum foil, construction paper
    • Finger tracing letters in sand, pudding, shaving cream, or in the air
    • Attach a large piece of drawing paper to a wall, have the child draw a lazy 8 (figure 8 sideways) with a large marker then practice the following exercises to develop visual motor skills along with fine motor skills - trace the figure 10 times, left to right, from top to bottom - also encourages crossing midline
    • Playing connect the dots - encourage the child to connect the dots from left to right and from top to bottom
    • Tracing around stencils - have the child firmly hold the stencil against the paper with their non-dominant hand while their dominant hand pushes the pencil against the edge of the stencil
    • Using chalk on a chalkboard - chalk has more sensory input through the noise it makes and is more tactile resistive than a marker on a white board