Developing Your Child's Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills involve smaller muscle groups, and develop at different times depending on your child’s age. A baby develops fine motor skills when grasping a toy with both hands, while a preschooler develops fine motor skills when cutting shapes out of paper with safety scissors.

Helping your child to develop their fine motor skills is important, as they’re used in critical life activities such as tooth-brushing, eating, writing, and getting dressed. Here are some ways to develop your child’s fine motor skills.

Try a sensory table

Learning that involves all the senses will help your child develop fine motor skills, improve concentration and coordination, and build critical problem-solving strategies. At home, you can use a plastic tub or even a wading pool to replicate a sensory table. Fill it with items such as popcorn, tennis balls, paper, water, dried pasta, sponges, ice cubes, felt, twigs, or small toys. Encourage your child to use their senses to investigate these items and how they interact with each other.

Enjoy arts and crafts

Whether it’s finger-painting, scribbling with sidewalk chalk, or cutting shapes out of construction paper, arts and crafts offer limitless opportunities for developing fine motor skills. They can explore their creativity while also strengthening their grip, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination.

Get your child involved in the kitchen

Stirring, mixing, and pouring ingredients are ideal ways to help your child develop their fine motor skills. There are many age-appropriate ways you can get your child involved in the kitchen, with your supervision and assistance. This is also an ideal way to help teach your child about the food we eat, and create fond memories.

Look for games involving dexterity and hand-eye coordination

Dexterity and hand-eye coordination are fine motor skills that a child can practice and develop. You can help make it fun with hands-on activities and games that focus on these actions. For example, construction or stacking blocks, threading beads on a string, interactive songs like “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” and playing with clay are some engaging kid-friendly activities to strengthen dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Fine motor skills are involved in many important self-care and life activities, both in early childhood and beyond. These are just some ways you can help your child develop their fine motor skills.