55+ Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine motor development is an important part of the toddler and early childhood years. In order to learn how to draw and write, the hands must be strong enough to hold writing tools. Fine motor is also necessary for independence. Think about zipping a coat, buttoning pants, opening a door, getting a glass of water. These all require fine muscle control. And yet, according to some studies, children are entering kindergarten lacking fine motor skills. And then the question is asked how? How can we help our young children build strong hands? I hear this question often from my own preschool parents. And so I thought I’d put together a list of 55+ fine motor activities for home.

Yep, over 55 easy ways to help your young children strengthen their break from school skills. Simple ideas your children can do at the kitchen table, in the bathtub, or outside. 50+ fine motor ideas that use simple materials, many of which you already have in your home. Activities that are perfect when your children are on break from school, the weekend, a rainy day, any time!

Fine Motor Activities That Can Be Done at Home

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

This collection of fine motor activities is geared for children ages 2-5. Some will be more suitable for younger children, some for older. Choose the activities you feel are best for your children and build on them as they are ready.

 

55+ Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine Motor Activities for Home

Join me over at Melissa & Doug’s blog to find more fine motor activities that can be done at home!

Related posts:

Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      how to make math fun for preschoolers      Shape Activities for PreschoolersFine Motor Activities That Can Be Done at Home

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

We love preschool name recognition ideas because names are often the first word a young child learns how to read. I’ve shared how we include literacy activities in all areas of the classroom, and our students’ names included. If you were to walk into our classroom, you’d see names on the wall, on furniture, on cards, on photos, even hanging from the ceiling. Halfway through our school year, many of our 3 year olds are pointing out letters from their names or recognizing their entire names.

 

 

 Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Displaying names:

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Coat hooks:

 

Assigning them to their own hooks gives the preschoolers a sense of ownership. When they arrive in the morning, they find their names to hang their own hooks, placed at their level.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Cubbies:

We have cubbies in the hallway for each of our students in our 2 and 3 year old classes. We also have cubbies inside the classroom for our 3 year olds. Any work they do that doesn’t need to dry immediately goes into their classroom cubbies. They learn quickly where to find their cubbies by looking for their names.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Memory Books:

Names are displayed on the spines of our memory books and stored in our classroom all year.
(Read more about our memory books.)

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Artwork:

We display names beside the children’s work on our bulletin boards.

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Small groups:

At the end of each morning in our 3’s class, we have about 10 minutes of small groups. The children are separated into 4 groups, each group being a different color. As we call the children to their tables, they look for their name cards. We do the same for snack as well.
(Read more about our small groups.)
Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Circle Time:

In our 3’s class, the children have their own personalized stools to sit on. We teachers set the stools out before circle time. As the children are invited to come to circle time, they look for their names.

(Read more about our circle time.)

 

preschool classroom design

 

classroom birthday bulletin board

 

Birthday wall:

At the start of the school year there is a crown above each child’s labeled name. As we celebrate a birthday, the crown is removed. The children are always checking to see whose birthday is next.

 

Activities using our names:

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Sign-in sheet:

When our 3 year olds arrive each morning, they find their name on a clipboard and draw a line from left to right. Eventually some will start writing some letters or their entire names.
Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Name puzzles:

Our 3 year olds love this simple name puzzle activity that we do during our small groups.

(Read more about our name puzzles.)

Preschool Name Recognition

 

Name discovery bottles:

The children placed letter beads into a bottle along with colored rice for a fun letter recognition activity.

(Read more about how we made our name discovery bottles.)

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Do-a-Dots on letters:

The children press Do-a-Dots on the first letters of their names. We also will glue small pieces on letters as well as macaroni, or press stickers on them.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Stamping letters:

We offer upper and lower case letters for children to stamp letters that are in their names.

 

Other activities:

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Cooking activities:

 

We will write their names on individual mixing cups or bowls and serving plates. As they arrive to the table, they find their names and get started.

 

Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

 

Items brought from home:

Every so often, we will ask the children to contribute something to an activity. In this case, we were comparing apples before making applesauce. The children found their apples by looking for their names.

(Read more about how we make applesauce.)
Preschool Name Recognition Ideas

 

Valentine’s bags:

After the children make their own bags, we hang them in alphabetical order. With their parents’ help, they deliver their Valentine’s cards to each of their classmates’ bags.

 

Bonus! If your preschooler is ready to practice writing letters, here is a 245 page packet you can download. This packet includes printables for all 26 letters of the alphabet! Click on the photo below for details.

 

Preschool Alphabet Packet

 
Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

More teaching ideas:

 

Learning-Activities-for-Preschoolers      preschool transitions while waiting      Creating a Preschool Circle Time

preschool science      Back to school activities for preschool - a collection of activities, books and songs for the first weeks of school.      preschool literacy


Are you getting my weekly newsletters? They are delivered right to your e-mail!

Sign up here.

 

 

profile+footer.png




Toddler Fine Motor Water Activity

Long before children can start writing, they need to first develop their pre-writing skills. This means strengthening those muscles that will help them have the ability to hold a writing tool. One of my favorites is this toddler fine motor water activity. We introduce basters in our toddler class because the bulb fits nicely in their hands. We demonstrate how to squeeze and release the bulb, moving the water in and out of the baster. This takes great concentration but is such a great (and fun!) way to build those fine motor skills.

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Toddler Fine Motor Water Activity

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

What we used:

Mini basters (we also used the small squeeze toy from this fine motor set)

Pouring utensils

Water in some sort of bin (we tinted our water with some blue watercolors so it was more visible)

 


Introducing this activity:

 

Let them explore the water with the pouring utensils.

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

After modeling how to squeeze the bulb to suck in the water and then release the water, let them give it a try.

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

Once they get the hang of it, they want to do it over and over again. Another plus to this activity is that it is very soothing, like all of our water table activities. If you are a parent with a toddler, you can easily set this activity up in the bathtub.

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

While these types of activities are building strength for future writing, toddlers are simply having fun exploring how water moves using basters.

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

You will find even more ideas on my fine motor pinboard!

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

Learn with Play post footer

More fun fine motor activities:

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water     fine motor art in preschool    17 Squeezing Activities for Strengthening Hands

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

Toddlers love to be busy, don’t they? Well, you will love these 20 fun and easy toddler activities for home! These can be done independently, or during a play date. You might want to leave them out for awhile, because toddlers have short attention spans and often want to return to the activity several times. If your toddler isn’t interested, no worries! Save it until he or she is a little older.

Make sure to check out my amazing collection of toddler activities on Pinterest, too!

 

Toddler Play Activities

toddler play activities

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

20 Fun and Easy Toddler Activities for Home

 

Looking for ideas your toddlers can do at home? Check out this collection from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds!

 

 

 

    • Grab your cookie cutters, add a small tray of paint, and invite your toddler to stamp onto paper.
    • Introduce your toddler’s name with an easy tape-resist name art activity. (Learn with Play at Home)
    • Toddlers love to pour! Create a pouring station that is especially fun outdoors. (Busy Toddler)
    • The refrigerator makes a great magnetic board. Make your own pom pom magnets that can be stuck on the fridge, and removed, and stuck on again … and again … and again! (Powerful Mothering)


http://teaching2and3yearolds.com/easy-toddler-art-using-spools/

  • If you have a toddler who doesn’t like to get paint on the hands, try this no-touch art activity.
  • You can whip up some flour paint with ingredients you probably already have from your kitchen. (Simple Fun for Kids)
  • Put sticky paper on your window and add tissue paper pieces. This is a favorite of ours! (Mess for Less)
  • Find someone who sews and ask for their empty thread spools. Stamping with spools is so much fun for toddlers!

Looking for ideas your toddlers can do at home? Check out this collection from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds!

 

  • Fill a water tub with warm soapy water. Our toddlers loved it when we filled our table with rubber ducks!
  • Another tub idea is to clean rocks with shaving cream and warm water. (Learn with Play at Home)
  • Young toddlers would love playing with a tugging box. A great way to use that empty box sitting in your garage. (Laughing Kids Learn)
  • Draw colored shapes on large pieces of paper taped to the floor. Play a simple shape game to build shape recognition. (Toddler Approved)

 

Looking for ideas your toddlers can do at home? Check out this collection from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds!

  • Toddlers love to be helpful in the kitchen. You can add some simple counting while making vegetable soup.
  • If you have some bubble wrap leftover from a package, you can make a bubble wrap runway. Toddlers love to run and jump on this stuff! (Hands On As We Grow)
  • If your toddler loves cars, this car parking lot numbers game will be a hit. All you need is a shallow box and some cars, and the fun will begin. (B-Inspired Mama)
  • Paint with balls! We used small nubby balls for extra texture, but any small balls will work.

Looking for ideas your toddlers can do at home? Check out this collection from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds!

What are your favorite toddler activities to do at home?

 More ideas for toddlers:

Color Sorting Water Bin      25 activities for busy toddlers     Toddler Alphabet Ideas

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

Little kids love to work with water. I’ve shared how they enjoy our favorite water table activities. So, it’s no surprise that when we put together a preschool fine motor activity, it involves transferring water. Seriously! Even our most active preschoolers will stop and work on this for quite awhile! The beauty of this fine motor activity is that it is super simple and can be done at home or in a classroom.

Now, I will not claim this as my own original idea. It’s been shared on so many different websites for quite awhile. I can’t even recall how I discovered it, to be honest.

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

After looking at the book A Drop of Water, we invited our preschoolers to transfer water at our fine motor table. We set out 6 ice cube trays, our favorite pipettes, containers of water, and we cut sponges into small sections to wipe up spills.

It might not come natural at first. We show our preschoolers how to dip the pipette into the water.

preschool fine motor squeezing activitypreschool fine motor squeezing activity 2

Then, transfer the pipette to the ice tray and squeeze to release the water.

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

And keep on going!

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

This activity is also strengthens hand-eye coordination.

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

And that’s it! Super simple! Show them how to wipe spills with the small sponges and you are set!

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

More fine motor activities for preschoolers:

 

Fine Motor with Sunflowers    Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers    fine motor activities all year long

 

Are you getting my weekly newsletters? They are delivered right to your e-mail!

Sign up here.

 

profile+footer.png




Fine Motor Fun with Sunflowers

We love to explore sunflowers for science, then creating large sunflower art for our classroom wall. We ask our preschool families if they have any homegrown sunflowers that they’d like to donate. We then add some fine motor fun to our day with the sunflowers. We place the plants on a flat surface and invite our toddlers and preschoolers to remove the seeds with tongs. This is a much-loved activity!

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

What you will need:

Sunflower plants, the bigger the better

Tweezers

Cups to put the seeds

 

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

 

Setting up the activity:

Place the plants on a flat surface. Show the children how to hold the tweezers so that they can remove the seeds from the plant.

 

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

 

How this activity strengthens fine motor skills:

 

 

Before children can be asked to hold a pencil, they need to have strength and dexterity in their hands and fingers. It’s important to provide activities that strengthen the hands and fingers during the toddler and early preschool years. Using tweezers is an excellent fine motor activity that builds fine motor development.

 

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

 

We’ve used this set of tweezers for fine motor activities throughout the year, in all areas of the classroom. These types of activities also build hand-eye coordination.

Some of our children put down the tweezers and used the tips of their thumbs and fingers to pull the seeds from the plant.

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

 

Once the seeds are removed from the plant, they can be used in artwork, in the sensory table, and removed from the shell to be tasted.

Fine Motor with Sunflowers

Books to go with the sunflower theme:

       

 

More activities for young children:

Fun Activities Using Sponges     Salt and Watercolor Painting    preschool math

Are you getting my weekly newsletters? They are delivered right to your e-mail!

Sign up here.

 

 

profile+footer.png




Fine Motor Skill Activities for Every Season

 

One of my favorite learning domains to write about is fine motor, so I decided to put together a post with fine motor skill  activities for every season of the year. There are so many ways to strengthen the shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers before actual writing takes place. I prefer to use a variety of activities that allow plenty of exploration and open-ended play. While these activities are intended for preschoolers, some can be used with toddlers as well, perhaps adapting them a bit.

 

fine motor activities all year long

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Are you following my fine motor board on Pinterest?

 

No matter what season you are in right now, you can find ways to add fine motor to your children’s activities. I’ve categorized them by seasons for your convenience.

winter fine motor activities

Winter Fine Motor Activities

Christmas Fine Motor Activities

Yarn-Wrapped Christmas Trees

Simple Snowflake Ornaments

Watercolor Snowflakes

Threading with Jingle Bells (And Next Comes L)

Snowball Pick-Up Game (Stir the Wonder)

Build a Snowman (Happy Hooligans)

Lacing Mittens (Frugal Fun for Boys)

spring fine motor ideas

Spring Fine Motor Activities

Fine Motor Butterfly Craft

Yarn-Wrapped Tulips (School Time Snippets)

Cherry Blossom Trees (Sugar Aunts)

Rainbow Necklace (Hands On As We Grow)

Sticky Ladybug Fine Motor Craft (Blog Me Mom)

Sorting the Rainbow (Housing a Forest)

Eat Like a Bird (My Nearest and Dearest)

Liquid Watercolor Decorated Eggs (Mess for Less)

summer fine motor activities

Summer Fine Motor Activities

Chalk Activities for Kids

Fine Motor Octopus Craft (Buggy and Buddy)

Shell Sorting (No Time for Flash Cards)

Paint with Water (Still Playing School)

Spray Chalk (Growing a Jeweled Rose)

Melon Balling (Carrots are Orange)

Stringing Stars (Toddler Approved)

Watermelon Structures (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

 

fall fine motor ideas

 

Fall Fine Motor Activities

A Collection of Fine Motor Ideas for Fall

Hammering Pumpkins

Pine Cone Painting

Feather Beading (Sugar Aunts)

Bobbing for Apples (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Fine Motor Turkeys (Teach Preschool)

preschool fine motor activities

Fine Motor Any Time of the Year

Colored Waterfalls

Fine Motor Squeezing Activities

Fine Motor Activities that Help Develop Color Recognition Skills

Fine Motor Fun on the Dry Erase Board

 

Some of our favorite fine motor tools:

 

Learn with Play post footer

More ideas for young children:

Process Art for Preschoolers Using Watercolors long      Fine Motor Threading Activity      Preschool Color Game Using Legos

 

Are you getting my weekly newsletters? They are delivered right to your e-mail!

Sign up here.

 

 

profile+footer.png




18 Christmas Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers

My regular readers know how much I love any fine motor activities, all year long! But for a good reason, of course. So many parents want to know when their children can write. My answer is always once their arms, hands, and fingers are strong enough. There is so much that happens before a child  has the strength to hold a pencil correctly. I am thinking about this with every theme, every activity that we put together. Large groups, small groups, art, sensory….all over the classroom, indoors and out!  I was so happy to find these 18 Christmas fine motor activities for preschoolers. I hope you enjoy them, too!

 

18 preschool Christmas fine motor activities

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

18 Christmas Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers

Wrap yarn around paper Christmas trees.

Transfer jingle bells while handling a magnetic wand.

Move your entire arm while creating spin art trees.

 

Christmas fine motor activities

Move jingle bells from paint to paper for a fun fine motor experience.

Transfer small pom poms and other pieces to make a gingerbread man. (Living Montessori Now)

Practice fine motor skills by making a foam geoboard tree. (Fun-a-Day)

fine motor Christmas activities

Download free Christmas mats to use with play dough. (This Reading Mama)

Strengthen fine motor development by slicing fruit to make Santa snacks.

Turn a shoe box into a Christmas tree pom pom push box. (Free printable from The Activity Mom)

Sort green and red M&M’s and make a Christmas wreath using a free template. (Toddler Approved)

 

fine motor Christmas activities

Paint egg carton cups green and create a fine motor Christmas tree. (Sugar Aunts)

Transfer and sort jingle bells using tweezers. (I Can Teach My Child)

Create a sticky tree and make a mural with small pieces. (No Time for Flash Cards)

Push Christmas party picks into styrofoam to make a winter village. (And Next Comes L)

fine motor Christmas activities

Paint with pom poms on Christmas trees to work those little fingers. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Keep kids busy with a Christmas cutting tray and strengthen those scissor skills. (Mama, Papa, Bubba)

Teach your children how to thread with homemade Christmas lacing cards that can be used as ornaments. (Happy Hooligans)

Use the fingers to press green paper onto sticky paper to make a mosaic Christmas tree for your window. (House of Burke)

fine motor Christmas activities

 

You will find hundreds of Christmas ideas on my Pinterest board!

 

18 preschool christmas fine motor activities


 

More fun activities for kids:

Keep kids busy during winter break with these fun activities! - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      Winter Math Ideas for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     literacy games for preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity for Preschoolers

Grab your hammers and golf tees for a fun fine motor pumpkin activity! This is not an original idea. It’s been tried and loved by preschoolers for years. However, it’s always a new experience for our preschoolers. Many have never hammered anything, let alone hammering tees into pumpkins! We also love this activity because it is very meaningful. Our preschoolers had recently gone on a field trip to a local farm, picking out pumpkins to take home. We also had our pumpkin carving Dad’s Night, where the children were able to experience cleaning out and carving pumpkins. They have explored pumpkins inside and out. Now, they get to hammer into them!

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity for Preschoolers

 

What you will need first: pumpkins!

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

We went on a class field trip to a local farm where we learned about different kinds of pumpkins. We were able to choose one to take home.

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

What else you will need:

 

  • Hammers –

    In the past we’ve used kid plastic hammers, but this year my co-teacher got the idea to order crab and lobster wood mallets. Wow! What a difference! The preschoolers could handle these much easier!

  • Golf tees

And that’s all you need! Don’t you love activities that require just a few items?

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

The process:

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

Show your children how to use their helper (non-dominant) hand to hold the tee on top of the pumpkin. Show them how to hold the hammer with their dominant hand.

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

It takes a few tries to get the coordination going, but once they do, they keep going! If you do have a child who is having a hard time getting the hole started, you might want to hammer a few holes in the pumpkin first, and then have the child push the tee into that hole and start hammering. It gives them a little “head start”.

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

 

The other nice thing about this activity is that it can be done for multiple days. Simply pull the tees out and start again!

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

 

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity

 

This activity can be done with older children as well.

Fine motor pumpkin activity for kids

Looking for more fall kids activities?

 

 


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Pine Cone Fine Motor Activity for Toddlers

 

Squirting paint using basters and pipettes is always a good way to strengthen fine motor skills. Our preschoolers loved making colorful waterfalls! But how about younger children? This pine cone fine motor activity for toddlers is the answer, especially in the fall.

When someone donated a huge bag of pinecones, I just knew they’d be perfect for this. You know how I love to work those fine motor skills in all areas of the classroom! There are so many cute fall crafts out there, and I admit I’ve got a few planned for October, but what I feel is most important is open-ended art. The type of art that the children walk right up to the table and do what they want, with no thought on the finished product. The pure joy of just exploring! That’s exactly what happened with this fall fine motor activity. This was the first time our 2 year olds used droppers or pipettes. They smiled huge when they realized if they squeezed and released, paint would burst out. The more they performed the motion, the easier it got. Pure fun!

 

pine cone fine motor activity for toddlers

 

This post contains affiliate links.

 

 Pine Cone Fine Motor Activity for Toddlers

 

What you will need:

 

 

 

preschool fine motor fall

 

 

Setting it up:

Pour the tempera paint into containers and place them on  a table, along with the droppers and/or pipettes and/or brushes and the pine cones. Invite your toddlers to paint the pinecones! It really is as simple as that!

 

preschool fine motor fall

 

 

What I love about these droppers is that the children really have to focus on squeezing the paint from the tray and releasing it onto the pine cone. It is not easy, takes great concentration, but once they master this? All smiles!

 

preschool fine motor fall

 

Oh, and they also giggled when the droppers made bubbles from the air.

 

preschool fine motor fall

 

These are the types of art activities where I can show them and walk away. Child-led, NOT teacher directed.

 

preschool fine motor fall

 

preschool fine motor fall

 

We hung these on our classroom tree along with the owls made by the 3s class. The children love to try to figure out which one is theirs.

 

pinecone art

 

 

preschool fine motor fall

 

 Pine Cone Fine Motor Activity for Toddlers

 


More ideas for fall:

 

 apple stand dramatic play      Preschool Science Ideas for Fall - 5 hands-on activities from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      fall activities for preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Fine Motor Squeezing Activities for Preschoolers

Parents are concerned if their preschoolers cannot write.  Their preschoolers might get frustrated when given writing tools. Hold on! Their little hands and fingers need to be strengthened. Good news! I have a collection of fine motor squeezing activities for preschoolers that can do just that.

We start working on strengthening fine motor skills in with our toddlers. You know those puzzles with the knobs? And play dough? Yep, that’s a start! But even as they transition from a toddler to a preschooler, their hands and fingers continue to need strengthening.

We work on fine motor activities every day, in playful ways. Our children have no idea the reason behind it, of course. They just know it’s fun!

 Ready to introduce some squeezing activities into your children’s day?

17 squeezing activities to strengthen hands

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Fine Motor Squeezing Activities for Preschoolers

 

 

  1. Preschoolers (toddlers, too) love to transfer water with turkey basters.

  2. Squeeze playdough using a citrus squeezer.

  3. As fingers get stronger, squeeze water using pipettes.

  4. Squeeze and release paint on top of pine cones.

  5. Drip watercolors down a vertical surface.

  6. Press Do-a-Dots with palms of hands on a dry erase board.

  7. Set up a tongs and pom poms activity. (B-Inspired Mama)

  8. Squeeze glitter glue to make calming bottles. (Mess for Less)

  9. Use paint with sponges. (No Time for Flash Cards)

  10. Transfer foam blocks in bowls of water. (Mummy Musings and Mayhem)

  11. Squeeze lemons and make lemonade. (Two-daloo)

  12. Use a sponge to clean the table. (An Everyday Story)

  13. Drop watercolors on coffee filters.

  14. Grab some clothespins to make these dinosaurs. (Teaching Mama)

  15. Squeeze play dough. (Fun at Home With Kids)

  16. Using icing gel pens to decorate cookies. (Craftulate)

  17. Invite your child to wash windows. (Montessori Life as We Know It)

 

17 Squeezing Activities for Strengthening Hands



More hand-strengthening ideas for young children:

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!      Fine Motor with Sunflowers      Fine Motor Threading Activity

 

Learn with Play post footer

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Simple Threading Activity to Strengthen Fine Motor Skills

As your toddler is transitioning into a preschooler, there are more fun fine motor activities to try. These are important, as they get the hands and fingers ready for writing. Using cut straws is a simple threading activity to strengthen fine motor skills. They are easier to handle than bead threading, an activity that comes after this.

 

Threading activities are nice when you are looking for some quiet time. Even our busiest children can calm down and focus as they thread the straw pieces. You can set them up on a tray for the table, or put them in a busy bag for when you are out and about. (Think about waiting at a restaurant or doctor’s appointment!)

 

 simple threading activity to strengthen fine motor skills for toddlers and preschoolers

 

Simple Threading Activity to Strengthen Fine Motor Skills

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

What you will need for this activity:

 

 

Activity for Fine Motor Skills

 

Setting up this activity:

We separated the cut straws by color and placed them in small containers. I like to tie one straw piece to the end of the yarn so that the rest don’t slip off during the threading process.


 

Activity for Fine Motor Skills

 

Activity for Fine Motor Skills

 

It takes great concentration to hold the yarn with one hand while threading the straw through it with the other hand. If a child is having a difficult time, I will hold the piece of yarn while he pushes the straw through it. Then he will hold the yarn while I push the straw through it. Eventually he will master the skill of using both hands on his own.

 

Activity for Fine Motor Skills

 

I have found threading activities to be a wonderful way to calm the children, and sometimes we will use them during transitions when we have to wait a bit before moving on to the next activity.  Keep a container of materials handy for those moments. It really helps!

 

Activity for Fine Motor Skills

 

Another plus to this activity is that it can be done independently or in a group, at home or in a classroom setting
 Activity for Fine Motor Skills

 

When finished threading the straw pieces:

Untie the straw that was originally attached to the end of the yarn. Tie the two ends of yarn together. Now it’s a necklace!

Activity for Fine Motor Skills

Looking for more simple activities to calm your child?

 simple threading activity to strengthen fine motor skills




Developing Pre-Writing Skills on a Dry Erase Board

Before preschoolers can start writing, the muscles in their hands and fingers must be strengthened. That can sound complicated, but really, it’s not. Developing pre-writing skills can be simple. It can be as simple as using a white board. Oh yes, it can!

Each day we have numerous activities that help with developing pre-writing skills. I’ve shared many of them in my collection of squeezing activities. Starting with our toddlers, we provide playful activities that build the strength that is needed to hold writing tools.

Do-a-Dots are a favorite in our classroom, so I decided to try them on a large dry erase white board that was placed in our reading and writing area. It has since become a favorite activity!

 

 

Developing Pre-Writing Skills
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Developing  Pre-Writing Skills

 
 
Developing Pre-Writing Skills on a Dry Erase Board 2

 

 We have a large dry erase board that covers our writing table. Because of its size, the preschoolers can use their entire arm, working shoulder stability. (For more information on activities that promote hand development, you might like to read this page by Fine Motor 101.)
 
Developing Pre-Writing Skills on a Dry Erase Board 3

 

I have used Do-a-Dots in many different activities, but never on a dry erase board. I appreciated how the preschoolers had to really squeeze to get the liquid to move on the board.

 

Developing Pre-Writing Skills on a Dry Erase Board 5
I added some dry erase markers as well. Lots of circular motions were used involving the entire arm. The 3 year olds added more detail. Because this board is large enough for several friends to work together, there was much collaboration going on.

 

preschool fine motor
The 3 year olds brought over the stencils from our writing basket. They shared stories of what their illustrations meant.

 

 
Developing Pre-Writing Skills on a Dry Erase Board 7
Dry erase boards come in many sizes and can be used either vertically or horizontally on a wall or easel. You can help your children develop their fine motor skills by using these white boards in the classroom, at home, or while traveling.

 

Developing Pre-Writing Skills on a Dry Erase Board long

 

Here are 2 ways you can make your own white boards:
Here are a few other ways to use white boards:

Learn with Play post footer

More ideas for young children:

Process Art for Preschoolers Using Watercolors long      Fine Motor Threading Activity      Preschool Color Game Using Legos

Are you getting my weekly newsletters? They are delivered right to your e-mail!

Sign up here.

 

 

profile+footer.png




Favorite Fine Motor Toys for 2 Year Olds

Two year olds are busy walking, running, perhaps even jumping. Big things are happening with gross motor skills. But what about fine motor? They will learn how to turn on the faucet, build a short block tower, and hold utensils. But what can we do to build those fine motor skills? There are lots of toys on the market that focus on fine motor development. So many, in fact, that it can become overwhelming. So I came up with a short and simple list of favorite fine motor toys for 2 year olds. These can be used at school, daycare, and at home. Many of them are classics that have been around for decades. Take a look and see if you have these in your toy collection!

Favorite fine motor toys for 2 year olds

 
 
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Favorite Fine Motor Toys for 2 Year Olds

Stack and Nest Toys

These stacking toys can be used starting at around 6 months and are enjoyed through preschool. Our 2 year olds love to stack, balance, and sort them. This helps develop hand/eye coordination, balance, and fine motor skills.
 

Wooden Knob Puzzles

 We have several of these wood puzzles with large knobs. They are a perfect first puzzle because of the extra-large knobs and larger pieces. The knobs make it a bit easier for those smaller hands to remove each piece. Choose ones with matching pictures underneath, and then it also becomes a great matching game.

Stack and Sort Board

Toys such as these help build matching and counting skills.

Wooden Vehicles

These are perfect for little hands! They not only develop fine motor skills, but also large motor. We add blocks and other pieces to stimulate creativity, too.

 

LEGO® Duplos

Lego® Duplos are perfect for our younger preschoolers who are just learning how to build. Duplos fit into those smaller hands and encourage discovery, fine motor skills, and open-ended play. We have collected so many pieces in my 15 years of teaching that they are now in a huge tub.  I love how sturdy they are!

Rainbow Stacker

A classic that has been around for years! This fine motor activity also helps develop shape, color and size differentiation skills.

Standing Easel

We use our easel every day. An upright surface promotes fine motor skills by strengthening the wrist. Fine motor development starts in the shoulder and eventually works its way down to the hand.

Magna Doodles

Toys such as Magna Doodles support the development of fine motor skills in the hands and fingers. These types of toys can be used before children are actually drawing and writing on paper.

favorite fine motor toys for 2 year olds


For a list of our favorite fine motor toys for 3 year olds, click here.

 

Related posts:

Stocking Stuffers for Preschoolers - Non-edible, educational, fun! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds    Toys that Help Develop Large Motor Skills - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds   Toys that Help Develop Large Motor Skills - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

 

You can find hundreds of activities on my toddler pin board!

Learn with Play post footer

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Fine Motor Threading Activity

A fun way to strengthen hands and fingers is by introducing a fine motor threading activity to your preschoolers. I’ve shared how we’ve threaded macaroni to make a rainbow necklace, and how we’ve introduced a plastic sewing needle when threading small pasta. However, some young children’s fingers might not be strong enough for those threading activities, so we like to start with pipe cleaner threading. We came up with an easy way to make your own simple threading board!

.

Fine Motor Threading Activity

 

.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

.

What you will need:

A piece of styrofoam

Pipe Cleaners

Anything you want to thread onto the pipe cleaners

For toddlers:

Use dowels instead of pipe cleaners and thread large stringing beads.

.

Assembling the fine motor board:

Cut the pipe cleaners to desired length and poke into the styrofoam. Yes, it’s that easy.

.

Fine Motor Threading Activity

 

.

As we started exploring our new threading board, we helped them by holding onto the pipe cleaner while they threaded the beads.

.

Fine Motor Threading Activity

.

Then, we showed them how to use their helper hand (non-dominant) to hold the pipe cleaner while their work hand (dominant) pushed the beads through the pipe cleaner.

.

Fine Motor Threading Activity

.

Fine Motor Threading Activity

 .

Variations:

For younger children, use larger items to thread. We had some larger pieces from a stacking toy that we used. Find items that can be threaded through pipe cleaners.

 

.

Fine Motor Threading Activity

.
More fine motor fun:

.

More activities for young children:

Preschool Art at the Easel      Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers      fine motor skills

 

.

Are you getting my weekly newsletters? They are delivered right to your e-mail!

Sign up here.

 

 

profile+footer.png




Fine Motor at the Light Table

After asking parents to recycle all of their plastic milk jug caps, I realized this would make a great fine motor activity at the light table. We love our light table and use it daily. It’s tucked into our reading and writing area. We vary what we put on it each week, often adding some fine motor to the activity. Because teachers are always on a budget, we love to use recycled materials whenever we can, and our preschool families are great at donating them.

.

Fine Motor at the Light Table

.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 
.
Let’s start with the light table. I hear so many people say they would love one, but don’t have the money to purchase one. We were able to purchase ours through fundraising money. But if you do not have that option, you can make one yourself! Danya shares how she made her own here.
.
Fine Motor at the Light Table 1
 
 .
Now, for the milk caps. I simply asked our preschool families to save and bring them to our preschool.
.
 Fine Motor at the Light Table 2
 .
On this particular day, I placed various-sized bottles at the table along with some tongs and plastic bug catchers, as well as some trays.
  .
Fine Motor at the Light Table 3
 
 .
 Fine Motor at the Light Table 4
 .
They used the tongs to transfer the caps into the bottles. The challenge was realizing some caps did not fit in some bottles.
.
Fine Motor at the Light Table 5
 .
It took great skill to pick these up!
 .
Fine Motor at the Light Table 6
 .
Stacked, lined up, sorted by color. Learning through play!
.
 
 Fine Motor at the Light Table long
 .

More fun ways to strengthen fine motor skills:

Fine Motor Threading Activity     Fine Motor Activity with Sticky Paper     Activity for Fine Motor Skills

 

.

 

Some of our favorite fine motor tools:

 

Learn with Play post footer

More ideas for young children:

Process Art for Preschoolers Using Watercolors long      Fine Motor Threading Activity      Preschool Color Game Using Legos

 

Are you getting my weekly newsletters? They are delivered right to your e-mail!

Sign up here.

 

 

profile+footer.png