By Claire Heffron
These fine motor activities for toddlers are the perfect way to strengthen fine motor skills, getting little hands and fingers ready forlater-developing skills like holding a pencil and completing clothing fasteners.
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We’ve already talked about how toddlers love to move and explore. Kids this age are learning so much about the world and a big part of this involves fine motor skills: being able to grasp and manipulate the objects that interest them.
Simply showing an objectto a 1 or 2-year-old isn’t enough. They want to hold it and see it for themselves. From toys, to remote controls, to your cell phone – it’s all fair game to a toddler! This means that a hands-on approach to play is in order, which is perfect for developingthose early fine motor skills.
Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers
1 ||Building with blocks. See if they can stack a couple blocks on their own, or try stacking up a tower for them and let them knock it down! Help your little one roll a ball to knock down a big tower of blocks!
2 ||Simple “put-in” activities like these from No One Has More Fun Than the Adams’ are perfect for keeping little ones entertained while also building grasping, manipulation, and visual motor skills. Also try shape sorters!
3 || Opening and closing. Toddlers are fascinated by opening and closing things. Try this fun opening and closing activity from How We Montessori. Stock your bookshelves with books that have flaps to open and close or try a hide and seek puzzle!
4 || Cooking with a toddler can be lots of fun (and a little tricky!). Your best bet? Keep it simple! Try a toddler-friendly recipe like this one from Danya Banya – only 2 ingredients! Encourage your kiddo to get in on the action by scooping, stirring, and kneading the ingredients together. Not in the mood for a mess? Simply set out a bowl of water and some cooking utensils!
5 || Play withthings around the house Fine motor play doesn’t have to involve fancy, expensive materials either – check out this awesome fine motor play activity made out of recycled materials from Teach Me Mommy! There is some great gross motor work going on here too, as the child bends, squats, and stands to make this activity work!
7 ||Stringing large beads or other items is awesome for working on bilateral coordination (using two hands together) and in-hand manipulation skills. This pasta threading fine motor activity from Laughing Kids Learn uses the perfect chunky material for little toddler hands.
8 ||Play with stickers! This toddler favorite holds infinite possibilities when it comes to fine motor, visual motor, and even gross motor activities!
10 || Put your toddler to work! There are lots of fun ways for older toddlersto help out around the house that are great for building fine motor skills (not to mention gross motor, cognitive, and sensory skills!). Check out these practical chores for young toddlers from ALLterNATIVE Learning.
11 || Water play. Try throwing a few squirt bottles,sponges, and washcloths into a bucket of water and you’ve got hours of fine motor fun and entertainment!
12 ||Finger puppets. These are great fun and are awesome for promoting finger isolation!
Click here to learn more about toddler development and milestones!
Looking for more fun activities for your toddler? Check out these sensory activities for toddlers and gross motor activities for toddlers!
Learn all about developmental milestonesand activities for kids to boost development from birth to age 5.
Don’t miss our free checklist for 12, 15, and 18 month old milestones red flags!
*As with all of our activities at The Inspired Treehouse – be sure to pay close attention when your child is working on any activities that involve small pieces. These activities require close supervision.
Be sure to grab your copy of The Hand Strengthening Handbook! More than 100 fun and engaging hand strengthening activities for kids!
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Claire Heffron is co-author at The Inspired Treehouse and a pediatric occupational therapist in a preschool/primary school setting. She began her career with a bachelor's degree in magazine journalism but quickly changed course to pursue graduate studies in occupational therapy. She has been practicing therapy for 10 years in public and specialized preschool/primary school settings. She is a mom to three funny, noisy boys and relies on yoga, good food, and time outside to bring her back to center.
Latest posts by Claire Heffron (see all)
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This article discusses fine motor activities for toddlers, which are designed to strengthen their fine motor skills. Fine motor skills involve the coordination of small muscles, particularly in the hands and fingers, and are essential for tasks such as holding a pencil and fastening clothing.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are the abilities required to control and manipulate small objects and perform precise movements with the hands and fingers. These skills involve the coordination of muscles, joints, and the senses, and they are crucial for various daily activities, such as writing, drawing, buttoning clothes, and using utensils. Fine motor skills development begins in infancy and continues to develop throughout childhood.
Importance of Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers
The article emphasizes the importance of engaging toddlers in fine motor activities to promote the development of their fine motor skills. Toddlers are naturally curious and eager to explore the world around them. By providing them with hands-on activities, such as building with blocks, engaging in "put-in" activities, and opening and closing objects, toddlers can enhance their grasping, manipulation, and visual motor skills. These activities also help to improve hand-eye coordination and strengthen hand muscles, preparing them for more complex tasks in the future.
Examples of Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers
The article provides several examples of fine motor activities that can be beneficial for toddlers. Here are some of the activities mentioned:
Building with blocks: Toddlers can stack blocks, either on their own or with assistance, to enhance their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
"Put-in" activities: These activities involve placing objects into containers, such as shape sorters, which help toddlers develop their grasping, manipulation, and visual motor skills.
Opening and closing: Toddlers are fascinated by objects that open and close. Activities involving flaps on books or hide and seek puzzles can help improve their fine motor skills.
Cooking: Simple cooking activities allow toddlers to practice scooping, stirring, and kneading, which promote the development of fine motor skills. Alternatively, providing a bowl of water and cooking utensils can also be engaging.
Fine motor play with household items: Engaging in fine motor play with recycled materials, such as creating activities using recycled materials like Teach Me Mommy suggests, can be an affordable and creative way to enhance fine motor skills.
Coloring: Toddlers can engage in coloring activities using various materials, such as crayons or markers, to develop hand control and coordination.
Stringing beads: Stringing large beads or other items helps develop bilateral coordination and in-hand manipulation skills.
Playing with stickers: Sticker play activities promote fine motor, visual motor, and gross motor skills.
Painting: Activities involving painting with different tools, such as q-tips or cotton balls, can enhance fine motor skills and creativity.
Chores: Involving toddlers in age-appropriate household chores can help develop fine motor skills, as well as gross motor, cognitive, and sensory skills.
Water play: Throwing squirt bottles, sponges, and washcloths into a bucket of water can provide hours of fine motor fun and entertainment.
Finger puppets: Playing with finger puppets can promote finger isolation and fine motor skills.
Engaging toddlers in fine motor activities is essential for their overall development, particularly for the development of fine motor skills. This article offers a variety of activities that can help strengthen these skills. By providing hands-on experiences and opportunities for exploration, toddlers can develop the coordination and dexterity needed for future tasks such as writing and self-care activities.