6 Activities That Develop Fine Motor Movements

Image adapted via Flickr/ donnierayjones

When we talk about fine motor movements, we're referring to developing and using the muscles in the fingers and hands. It's something we, as adults, don't spend too much time thinking about until we have kids and realize that there's a lot going on there.

One of my children had troubles developing fine motor movements when they were younger, so it was suggested to us we do activities that foster and develop those little hand muscles. The great thing about doing this at home is that there are many fun ways to work with the hands without it feeling like work or therapy for your toddler.

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If you're looking to help develop your child's fine motor movement or you're just looking for more fun activities to do with your young kids, here are six activities we loved to play, which also help develop fine motor movements.

Image via Flickr/ kathryn in stereo

Threading Beads

Toddlers really love this activity because they get to create things they can wear or give away, and it actually works their fine motor development. All you need are some beads of various sizes and either yarn, string, or pipe cleaners that they can place the beads on.

Image via Flickr/ woodleywonderworks

Playing with Play Dough

It's one of those childhood toys that everyone seems to play with, but did you know it's good for your kids? Working with play dough, kneading it with their hands, squeezing the colors together, and making things out of it all works on their hand strength. And while they play with play dough, they're having so much fun doing it, they don't even know they're working.

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Image via Flickr/ JefferyTurner

Straws into Holes

My kids are obsessed with straws–the drinking straws. I was always really frustrated with their fascination with them until I realized they could be used for good. Take a strainer or cut holes out of a cardboard box and hand your toddler some straws. They'll spend a good amount of time putting the straws through the holes. It fascinates them, and it is good learning, too.


Image via Flickr/ chippenziedeutch

Finger Painting

Finger painting isn't just one of those activities that happen in kindergarten just because. It's a really great learning tool! The muscles of the hand get a great workout while making a great art masterpiece.

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Image via Flickr/ stevendepolo

Stacking Cups

My 13-month-old loves to stack things, whether that be plastic cups, coffee K-cups, or water bottles. It's a great activity for toddlers to learn how to fit things together, how things fall when they get stacked too high, and how to concentrate to place items on the top. It helps develop a real focus for them.

Image via Flickr/ theseanster93

Sorting Rocks

We have a playground near our house that we go to often, and one of the first things my kids did there when they were younger was dig through the small rocks. They used to sneak some home in their pockets and sort them out, which is also really great for learning.

If you don't have rocks to sort out, you can use different types of dried beans, candy, or marbles to help your child learn to sort and pick up those small pieces with their fingers.

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What activities does your toddler like to play that works for their fine motor development? Share in the comments!

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6 Activities That Develop Fine Motor Movements

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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