How to encourage developing fine motor skills

How To Encourage Developing Fine Motor Skills 1 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Maybe you’ve heard the term “fine motor skills.” Knee deep in breastfeeding and diapers, you probably didn’t have too much time to think about what they are and why they are important for your growing child. Fine motor skills are small muscle movements that usually, but not exclusively, involve the hands and eyes working in tandem to perform movements requiring precision. Discover fun and easy ways to encourage developing fine motor skills at home with Daily Mom!

Examples of activities requiring fine motor skills

  • drawing
  • cutting with scissors
  • tying shoes
  • buttoning
  • stacking blocks
  • zippering

How To Encourage Developing Fine Motor Skills 2 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Fun, easy &  inexpensive at home activities

Clothes pin pick up

This activity is fun for preschool and early elementary aged kids! Switch up the objects that he or she has to pick up, and the rules of the “game” that you create. Sort piles of small objects such as cotton balls, colored craft cotton puffs or beads into piles sorted by color or number groups, and place them into up-cycled objects: think an empty egg carton, or cleaned out plastic yogurt cups.

How To Encourage Developing Fine Motor Skills 3 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families


Remember when you would do just about anything for a shiny, glittery sticker? Little fingers work hard using small muscle groups to peel stickers off of their sheets and stick them down again. Make this activity extra appealing by stocking up on stickers that pique your child’s interest. Who doesn’t love a glittery unicorn or a shiny Spiderman?

Stringing beads

Make some necklaces, bracelets and keychains all while working on fine motor skills. Your little crafter will be none the wiser, but all the stronger for it. Eyes and fingers must work together to line the beads up with the string. Incorporate some math by challenging your crafter to create patterns (blue, red, yellow, repeat). You’ll be sporting a chic new bead necklace in no time!

How To Encourage Developing Fine Motor Skills 4 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Play Doh

Tiny fingers love to mush and mold! Pick up some play doh and let your little one go to town making and then mushing one of a kind creations. Encourage and work with your child to use and develop those fine motor skills by making small balls and snake-like shapes. Your child may become frustrated if his or her creations aren’t as fantastic as yours, especially if your child is in need of fine motor skill improvement. As with all activities, remember to be patient and encouraging.

Putting coins in a bank

This is another fine motor skill activity that can also double as a math lesson for a preschool or early elementary aged child. Go, mom! Get a pile of coins ready and a small bank. Show your child how to push the coins in. This motion requires your little one to pinch the coin and line it up. Go a step further and identify each coin by name, then task your child with putting all the quarters in, followed by the pennies, etc.  Even though the dollar value concept may be abstract to a child this age for some time, it’s never too early to get him or her acquainted with the coins and the values associated with them.


It’s important to remember that every child develops at his or her own pace, and that learning or mastering a skill may not take place at the same time for all children. When your child goes for his or her well care visit, often your pediatrician will ask questions about skills your child has (or has not) mastered. If a red flag goes up and your pediatrician feels that your child isn’t hitting key benchmarks for his or her age, your child’s doctor may suggest that your child be seen by an early intervention specialist in order to determine if he or she is eligible to receive services in order to work on areas of need.

Photo Credit: Erin G.

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Erin, aka "Mommy" to a 5, 3 and 1 year old, is an adjunct professor, amateur photographer and sci-fi junkie, mostly in that order! She lives in northeast New Jersey with her much adored husband, kiddos and strange looking but loveable hairless cat and revels in baking pureed vegetables into muffins to trick her children into eating (and liking) them. You can find her capturing the beautiful moments of her life's chaos and calm on Instagram and Twitter.


  1. Thanks so much for this post! I’m a pediatric Occupational Therapist and feel fine motor skills are vital but that a lot of people aren’t sure what they are.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Melissa! My daughter sees an OT, and the gains she has made with her inspired me to write this post. Fine motor skills are SO important. I only wish that I knew how vital they were sooner, and what to look for! Thanks for adding your professional opinion in: it means a lot!

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