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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.)
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!
Fine Motor Skills for Kindergarten
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.
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.
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!
Using our dinosaur lacing cards, 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.
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!
Get your students ready to lace up their sneakers (or tennis shoes) with lacing activities that require nothing more than some cardstock and yarn.
A template to help students learn how to tie their shoelaces.
A set of dinosaur-themed lacing cards that help develop students' fine motor skills.