At-Home Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are crucial for a child’s overall development, enabling them to perform essential tasks such as writing, buttoning clothes and using utensils. As parents, fostering the development of these skills is essential and, fortunately, can be done using fun and engaging at-home activities

Developing Through Play

Providing opportunities for hands-on exploration and creative expression can help your child build the foundation for lifelong success. From sensory play to arts and crafts, these activities will not only aid in building dexterity and coordination but also promote creativity and cognitive development.

Playdough Play

One of the most versatile and enjoyable activities for fine motor development is playdough play. The squishy texture of playdough provides the perfect opportunity for children to strengthen their hand muscles and refine their finger movements. 

Supplies Needed:

  • Playdough (store-bought or homemade)
  • Plastic cookie cutters
  • Rolling pin

Using these tools and their own two hands, encourage your child to roll, pinch and mold the dough into various shapes and objects. Not only does playdough play promote fine motor skills, but it also sparks creativity and imagination.

Threading and Lacing

Threading and lacing activities are excellent for refining hand-eye coordination, finger dexterity, concentration and focus. Use this time to create lasting memories and creations, such as necklaces, bracelets and other keepsakes your family can cherish for years to come.

Supplies Needed:

  • Colorful beads
  • Buttons
  • Pasta (penne, macaroni or rigatoni)
  • Shoelace, pipe cleaner and/or yarn

Encourage your child to thread the objects onto the string, focusing on precise finger movements. Start with larger objects and gradually progress to smaller ones as your child’s skills improve. 

Painting and Drawing

Painting and drawing activities offer endless opportunities for fine motor development and self-expression. You can ensure an enjoyable (and easy-to-clean) experience by setting up a designated “art studio” with all the necessary materials.

Supplies Needed: 

  • Washable paints
  • Paper or canvas
  • Brushes
  • Crayons, markers and or colored pencils

There’s no wrong way to unleash creativity. So, encourage your child to explore theirs and see what beauty follows! Finger painting is particularly beneficial for strengthening finger muscles and promoting hand control through experimentation with different techniques, such as swirling, tapping and dragging their fingers across the paper.

Sensory Bins and Fine Motor Tools

Sensory bins are fantastic for engaging your child’s senses. These play pieces are easy to assemble and can be organized using everyday items found around the home. Each sensory bin can be composed differently, providing children with new sensations and discoveries each use.

Supplies Needed:

  • A plastic bin or container
  • Filler materials (rice, beans, sand, water beads, etc.)
  • Small cups, funnels and other containers

Encourage your child to scoop, pour and transfer the materials using various tools, promoting hand strength and coordination. This sensory play not only stimulates the senses but fosters creativity and early cognitive development.

Discover Something New Every Day

For more than 40 years, Children’s Discovery Center has helped guide and expand the minds of Toledo’s youngest explorers. Our dedicated staff nurtures children into becoming life-long learners by providing an innovative environment that promotes self-led discovery. Contact us today to learn more about our Reggio Emilia approach to learning, register your child and tour our facilities.