Affiliate and Referral links are used below to promote products I love and recommend. I receive a commission on any purchases made through these links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.
Let’s improve fine motor skills! Your child can improve their fine motor skills in a lot of different ways. Find out how with this fun-filled list of 30 fine motor activities.
You can find the download for the 30 days of fine motor activities by scrolling down to the bottom of this post or clicking on the link in the table of contents area below.
30 Fine Motor Activity Ideas
You can use this calendar to give you ideas for each day of the month. Or you can spread the activity ideas out to be 5 days a week, or even just 2-3 days a week.
If your child really likes one activity over another, leave the preferred activity out a little longer. You can try introducing the one they didn’t like or enjoy in a different way or find a similar activity that will work on the same skill so they still get that practice.
Under each activity, I’m listing some of the skills that activity helps with. As you will see with many of the activities, more than one skill is addressed.
Because of the use of small objects, these activities should be used for ages 3+. You could adapt some of them for younger ages so that there aren’t small pieces or parts.
1 || Sort buttons
Sorting buttons work on a variety of skills such as finger dexterity and manipulation, grasp strength, visual-motor skills, and more.
2 || Color with crayons
Coloring is a great activity to work on visual-motor skills (eye-hand coordination and visual perception), as well as grasp patterns and strength, particularly pinching.
This activity is easy to grade up or down and you can use a variety of coloring tools. For younger children (under age 2), consider using rock crayons to support their grasping patterns.
3 || Put paper clips on paper
Using paper clips on paper is a great way to work on fine motor planning, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, and more. You can have the child put the clips on in a sequence, you have different colored ones, to get some added visual perceptual practice.
4 || Make a sock puppet
Here are some directions on how to make a sock puppet, if you aren’t sure how. This is a great activity for crossing midline, bilateral coordination, finger dexterity, and more.
5 || Cut a straight line with scissors
If your child is able to cut more than a straight line, you can add different shapes and lines to this (or even pictures). Check out my scissor skills development checklist to see how scissor skills develop by age.
Cutting with scissors uses bilateral coordination, hand and finger strength, eye-hand coordination, etc.
6 || Make a pasta necklace
If you would rather not use food items, you can use wood beads, pony beads, or large blocks with holes in the middle instead.
Making a necklace like this is wonderful for visual motor skills such as eye-hand coordination, finger dexterity, pinch strength, and bilateral coordination.
7 || Make paper garlands
You can use the paper garlands to count down to a special event and it also helps work on bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination.
I also like to have the child use the stapler if they are old enough to get in some good hand strengthening through squeezing. You can also use tape, if your child is younger, to hold the paper together.
8 || Collect and paint rocks
I like this one because it gets the kids outside searching for items, which is great for visual-motor skills. Painting also works on bilateral coordination, grip strength, and more.
9 || Do a puzzle
Puzzles are wonderful for visual perceptual skills along with eye-hand coordination, finger dexterity, crossing midline, and more.
10 || Paint with cotton buds
Painting with cotton buds is a great way to add in some grip strength and pincer grasp which are important for handwriting skills.
11 || Pick up pom poms using tweezers
Using tweezers is a great way to work on grip strength. You can use the pom-poms to make a design or a pattern.
12 || Make a flower bouquet
Again, getting the kids outside to pick flowers, or use scissors to cut them, is a great task for bilateral coordination.
13 || Sharpen the pencil
A manual pencil sharpener works best for this. This engages bilateral coordination, grip strength, pinch strength, and more.
14 || Pick berries
Many great skills are being practiced here with finger isolation, pinch grasp, and finger dexterity, along with bilateral coordination if they are holding a bucket or bag while picking the berries.
15 || Play with finger puppets
You can make your own finger puppets or buy some. Finger puppets are great for working on finger isolation.
16 || Tie your shoelaces
Tying shoelaces is not only part of functional everyday tasks kids need to master, it also works on bilateral coordination, finger dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and more.
17 || Make a paper airplane
Here are some directions on how to make different paper airplanes. This is great for eye-hand coordination and bilateral coordination.
18 || Paint with a paintbrush
Similar to painting on the rocks, painting with a paintbrush is a great way to practice grip patterns for handwriting, as well as grip strength, hand dominance, and more.
19 || Use a spray bottle to water the plant
Squeezing a spray bottle is a great way to work on bilateral coordination along with hand strength.
20 || Finger paint
Finger painting is a great way to work on finger isolation and dexterity.
21 || Draw with chalk
You can use a sidewalk or a chalkboard wall. This activity is great for crossing midline, hand, and grip strength.
22 | Pair socks
The dreaded adult core of pairing socks, haha. Now you can have the kids help you and it’s a great way to work on bilateral coordination, hand and grip strength, and more. Problem solved!
23 || Join paper clips together to make a chain
A great activity for bilateral coordination, finger dexterity, and eye-hand coordination. If you have paper clips that are different colors you can grade this activity up and add patterns for the child to follow to up the visual perceptual skills.
24 || Wrap the string around a stick
You can see some examples here of very beautiful designs using string or yarn wrapped on a stick.
This is a great activity for bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, pincer grasp, finger dexterity, and more.
25 || Make a paper plate mask and decorate it
Here are some directions on how to make a paper plate mask.
This activity is great for bilateral coordination, hand/grip strength, eye-hand coordination, in-hand manipulation, and more.
26 || Build a spider web out of yarn
Here are some instructions on how to make a spider web with yarn.
This activity is great for eye-hand coordination, visual perception, grip strength, and finger isolation.
27 || Place coins in a piggy bank
This works on finger dexterity, in-hand manipulation, finger isolation, bilateral coordination, and eye-hand coordination.
28 || Decorate cookies
Not only is this a yummy activity, but it is also great for working on crossing midline, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, grip and pinch strength, and more.
29 || Clip clothespins on paper
Using clothespins requires efficient pincer grasp and grip strength, along with eye-hand coordination in order to put them on paper or an object.
30 || Use building bricks to create a tower
If you need tower design ideas, check out my post here. Building with the blocks encourages bilateral coordination, crossing midline, visual-motor skills such as eye-hand coordination and visual perception, along with pinch strength and shoulder and arm strength.
What are Fine Motor Skills?
Fine motor skills are movements or skills that use the small muscles of the fingers and hand, plus the larger muscles of the forearm, arm, and shoulder in order to complete them.
You also need good core strength along with other skills like bilateral coordination, crossing midline, and visual-motor skills in order to complete fine motor skills successfully.
Everything works together!
Examples of Fine Motor Skills
There are some gross motor skills needed for efficient fine motor skills and these include:
Crossing Midline – the ability to cross over the imaginary middle line of the body to reach for or complete a task with the hands or feet.
Bilateral Coordination – using both sides of the body together in coordinated movement in order to complete an activity or task
Core Strength – A group of muscles in the truck that stabilize the pelvis and spine. This helps with posture which is important for many fine motor activities (being able to sit up straight instead of slouching over). Core strength helps to promote ease of movement throughout the body.
Motor Planning – This skill is needed to organize and plan out the body’s movement response in order to complete new activities in the correct sequence from beginning to end. It requires a foundation of good sensory processing skills in order to correctly respond to incoming sensory stimuli.
Some examples of fine motor skills include:
Shoulder Strength – A strong shoulder helps to support the arm and hand as it completes tasks.
Wrist Stability and Extension – Wrist stability and strength are needed to complete many fine motor activities without fatigue. This is especially important for handwriting and keyboarding skills.
Hand Strength (also referred to as grip strength) – The force at which the hand is able to grip an object to complete a task through the hand muscles and forearm.
Eye-Hand Coordination (sometimes referred to as hand-eye coordination) – This skill is part of visual-motor skills and is the ability to coordinate movements in relation to what the visual system sees.
Finger Dexterity – The ability to manipulate small objects and move them around with the fingers.
In-Hand Manipulation – The ability to move objects around in the palm of the hand using the fingers.
Finger Isolation – Being able to isolate finger movements to complete tasks such as buttoning, using a keyboard or playing the piano, gripping a pencil, counting on your fingers, etc.
Pincer Grasp – This is the ability to use the thumb and index finger to pinch or grip smaller items.
Hand Dominance – Using a dominant and non-dominant hand for activities.
Fine Motor Development
Fine motor skills develop in a sequence that builds upon each skill. From the moment a baby is born, it is building the foundation for fine motor skills through engaging their senses, building gross motor skills, and fine-tuning visual-motor skills as they get older.
You can learn more about how fine motor skills develop by checking out my Typical Fine Motor Development Checklist here.
If you ever suspect your child has a delay in fine motor skills, please talk to their doctor and ask for an Occupational Therapy evaluation.
30 Days of Fine Motor Activities Calendar – Free Handout
Subscribe to Growing Hands-On Kids for my weekly newsletter and get a free printable of the 30-Days of Fine Motor Activities Calendar as a free gift. You’ll also be the first to know about new printables or products I create and new products I recommend.
If you have already subscribed to GHOK, don’t worry, you aren’t actually subscribing again. Entering your email below just lets my email service provider know which printable download to send you. You will not receive duplicate emails from me in the future.