There are many ways to incorporate fine motor activities into play. Often, simply making the right tools and materials available will lead to exploration, creativity, and fine motor practice.
Sand and Water Tables
Large, plastic tweezers are perfect for little hands and are a great addition to the sand table. Place objects like gems, pebbles, and shells in the sand for children to explore. You can also introduce them to Handy Scoopers, which are like scissors with scoops on the end. They’re a novel alternative to using shovels and a great precursor to developing cutting skills.
Set out materials like beads, buttons, and raw pasta noodles for children to lace onto string or pipe cleaners. It won’t take long before every adult in the room is sporting a new bracelet or necklace! You can also purchase lacing boards for children to use, which often come with strings that are similar to shoe strings.
Playdough provides children with endless options for creativity, along with practice using their fine motor skills. Adding a few materials to go with the playdough will spark their imagination and get their little hands busy creating. Consider adding items like sticks, pebbles, birthday candles, and gems to your playdough area. You can also set out tools like small, plastic rolling pins, cookie cutters, and scissors designed for use with playdough.
Pegboards and Geoboards
Pegboards require children to pick up small pegs and place them into holes on the board. Having pegs available in a variety of colors will allow them to make designs. Another option to consider is geoboards. These are used with elastics, which children stretch around the pegs on the board. Here’s a cool tutorial to learn how to make your own! In addition to promoting fine motor skills, they can also be used to help children create shapes with the elastics.
Brought to you by: NOGGINSLAND
Written by: Erin Agnello
Edited & Designed by: Jamie Schmalenberger
My name is John Haber. I’m a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the founder of Nogginsland. I became a COTA in 2003, and then went back to school much later, receiving my Master’s Degree in OT from Mercy College in New York in 2016.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a variety of populations in different settings, from school districts, to developmental disability centers, to children’s hospitals.