Being a toddler is exhausting! During this phase, toddlers are developing so fast. They’re learning language, movement, numbers, routines, new foods, and a million other things! As a mum, it can be difficult to know how to support our toddlers’ development in a way that’s fun and engaging for them. When toddlers are developing their fine motor skills, hands-on activities are necessary. I’ll be honest, I’m not a naturally crafty person, so I had to do some research to find some fun crafts and activities and, as always, I have to share my favorite finds with you! This is my list of fine motor skills activities for toddlers.
What are Fine Motor Skills?
According to NAYEC, fine motor skills are any tasks that require control of small muscles in the hands. We use these skills daily for tasks like tying our shoes, setting the table, writing with a pen, opening containers, cooking, and more. It’s extremely important that toddlers start developing their fine motor skills because it can help them start to do things more independently and carefully.
Fine Motor Skills Activities
Note: The products I’ve discussed here are available on my Amazon Storefront.
There are tons of ways that toddlers can experiment with fine motor skills development. These activities focus on toddlers completing tasks that require manipulating smaller objects to reach a goal. Here are some of my favorites:
- Materials: Cheerios or other ring cereal, Twine
- Activity: Toddlers will string the cereal onto the colorful twine like beads on a necklace. Help them tie a knot at the end so they can show off their work!
- Materials: Clothespins, Colored Paper, Twine
- Activity: Have your toddler create art on construction paper using their normal art supplies (crayons, washable markers, etc.). Once they have some art they’re proud of, guide toddlers to attach the artwork to a piece of twine using the clothespins. Use painter’s tape to tape the ends of the twine to the wall to create an art gallery! Using the clothespins to attach the artwork and twine will help with fine motor skill development.
Move the Water!
- Materials: Large Sponges, Plastic Tubs, Liquid Droppers
- Activity: Fill one plastic tub with a little water (if you’re brave, add food coloring or edible glitter for more fun). Have your toddler use either the large sponges or the liquid droppers to move the water from one tub to the other. This helps them use their fine motor skills to manipulate the sponges or the liquid droppers. For older kids, you can do this activity with less instructions. Just provide them the tubs, the goal, and the tools. They’ll develop critical thinking by figuring out how to move the water from point A to point B.
Pipe Cleaners in the Colander
- Materials: Pipe Cleaners, Metal Colander
- Activity: It’s just like it sounds! Have your toddler thread the pipe cleaners through the holes of a metal colander. They’ll struggle initially to manipulate the very small pipe cleaners, especially in the round surface of the colander. This will help them learn to use those muscles to control the pipe cleaners more effectively.
Pom Pom Drop
- Materials: Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Tubes, Large Pom Poms, Masking Tape
- Activity: This one takes a little prep from mum or dad. Arrange the empty tubes along a wall using the masking tape. Try to place the tubes in a variety of ways (horizontally, vertically, diagonally, etc.). Have your toddler drop the pom poms through the tubes to see what happens! They’ll use fine motor skills to fit the pom poms into the tubes while also building some foundational thoughts about how things move!
Fine Motor Skills Toys
Listen, we can’t be doing DIY every single day! If you’re looking for some ready-to-go toys that help toddlers develop fine motor skills, here are some of my favorites:
- Play Doh Creation Sets
- Activity Books
- These quiet books have tons of fine motor skills activities and are great for road trips.
- Sticker Collecting
- Adding Coins to a Piggy Bank
- Using Sidewalk Chalk
All of these also make great gifts! Remember to check suggested ages on toys and craft supplies before you buy and always monitor your little ones as they play (especially if they love putting new things in their mouths!).
Helping your toddlers expand their skills can be super fun! Any time they’re working to complete a goal, they’re strengthening their skills by using their brain in a new way!
Follow me on Instagram