11 Tried and Tested Fine Motor Activities for Preschool + Kindergarten

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animal match game for fine motor skills with clothespins
Holly (Teach Starter)

Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

You don’t have to be an occupational therapist to be worried about the fine motor skills of the kiddos in your classroom. The dexterity of our students is about more than getting them to draw straight lines or neatly cut out shapes.

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Fine motor skills are about that direct link between the brain and muscle control, and they’re linked directly to neuron development which helps our students in countless ways.

Chances are you’re already doing plenty of fine motor skill development in the classroom, but if you’re looking for a few more activities that have been tried and tested by teachers, the teachers on the Teach Starter team have got you covered!

What Are Fine Motor Skills?

You probably know this already, but humor us for a moment, won’t you?

Fine motor movements involve the coordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers. Strong fine motor skills are essential when completing simple daily tasks, such as writing, opening lunch boxes, tying shoelaces, and much more.

Of course, the bulk of the work around helping kids develop these skills happens in the pre-school and kindergarten years. Not only are students literally flexing their muscles and building them up, they’re also developing hand-eye coordination that will serve them well in later school years (not to mention playing all those video games at home).


Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers

Sorting Marbles or Pom-Poms With Tongs

Using kitchen tongs, have children sort marbles or pom-poms into an egg carton. You can also use popping fidget toys as receptacles for students to place the small round object into.

pop it fidget toy sorting activity for kids

(Psst … see more fine motor skill fun with other ways to use pom poms in the classroom.)


Clothespins on a Cup

Kids love this! While they work their pincer grasp, challenge your students to see how many clothespins they can fit around the top of a plastic cup.

clothespins on a plastic cup with more clothespins in a container beside it for fine motor skill activity for kids


Sticker Line Skills

Matching stickers to a line is a great motor skill activity for preschoolers! We used our pre-handwriting worksheets and had children use stickers to follow the lines.

sticker sorting activity to improve fine motor skills


Sensory Bag Fun

Fill a gallon-sized Zip-Loc bag with hair gel from the dollar store or paint (just make sure you secure the top — we suggest some duct tape!). Using a cotton swab, children draw shapes, letters, or numbers on the bag based on your instructions. It’s good for fine motor skills and a great sensory project too — oh, so squishy. (See more cool ways to use Zip-Loc bags in the classroom.)

Child practices fine motor skills while writing on a bag full of green paint with a q-tip


Tennis Ball Monsters

This fine motor skill activity is great for pre-schoolers to work those finger and hand muscles. Cut a hole in a tennis ball to create a mouth, stick circles on the tennis ball for the monster’s eyes! Children then feed the monster as many marbles as they can!

child practicing fine motor skills by placing marbles in tennis ball monsters mouth


Fine Motor Skills for Kindergarten

Scissor Skills

Cutting with scissors is a classic activity to help students build dexterity in kindergarten, working the hand muscles as they maneuver a scissor around a shape. Start off slow with lines before building to more complicated figures like dinosaurs.

strips of paper with different types of lines and a pair of scissors for children to practice scissor skills


Marble Balance

Grab the LEGOs or DUPLO blocks, and some marbles. Things are about to get fun. In this fine motor skill task, kindergarten students are challenged to balance the marble on the small round top of the block.

child practices fine motor skills by balancing blue marbles on a white DUPLO block


Animal Match-Up Fun

Using our fine motor animal match-up activity, print and cut each of the animals and attach the animal’s legs and tail to wooden clothespins. Children use their pointer finger and thumb to open the clothespins to create the animals. Have some fun and create silly-looking animals by swapping the legs and tails of each animal!

Fine motor animal match activity with a monkey and a zebra

 


Threading Fun

Using our fine motor pinning pages, place holes using a hole punch all the way around the animal. To develop their dexterity, children thread string through the holes. To make it slightly easier, use a more basic shape, and place the holes farther apart.

Fine motor threading activity with an octopus and a heart that have holes punched in them


Fly Swatter Threading

Hit the dollar store for (clean) fly swatters or anything that has small holes, and have your students thread pipe cleaners through the holes!

fly swatter with child placing pipe cleaners through the holes to practice fine motor skills


Lacing Activities

Get your students ready to lace up their sneakers (or tennis shoes) with lacing activities that require nothing more than some cardstock and yarn.

What are your favorite fine motor skill activities for the classroom? Check out our full array of fine motor ideas!

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