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Fine Motor Fun on the Run!

2015-04-07 by Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed. D.
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This fine motor fun post is brought to you by our guest writer and special needs consultant Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed. D.

As the weather warms up and vacations pop up, it is important to think about toys and games that travel well! Many of these toys are a huge hit and help make learning fun. There are great tools and toys for fine motor fun which can be easily transported and taken along on your family’s trip! The best thing about these activities and toys is that the kids love them and don’t even realize they are working on important life long skills. Strengthening fine motor coordination is a beneficial task for children of all ages.

Bringing a few toys or games along on a trip is helpful for down time in airports, hotels, or even restaurants. Keeping children busy during these times always proves for a more enjoyable experience. Be prepared this vacation by having some fun activities for your kids as a surprise when needed.

Fine Motor Fun on the Run

The little ones will be busy for hours with the brightly colored shape sequence sorting set and stack & sort board, which can easily be thrown into your suitcase. The wooden pieces of varying colors and sizes are perfect for fine motor fun. Manipulating the pieces requires young children to use the small muscles in fingers and hands. The cognitive benefits of grouping the pieces according to color, size, and shape increase the way to use these toys. By having children mix up their play, the fun never ends!

Fine Motor Fun on the Run

Another great fine motor game is the Magnetic Pattern Block Set by Melissa & Doug. The magnetic board and brightly colored pieces are perfect for on the go fun. These brightly colored tangram style pieces are just the right size for strengthening fine motor skills.  The heavy-duty plastic pouch is perfect for car trips, an airplane ride or even just outdoor fun at the beach! Younger children will enjoy copying the included geometric designs, while older kids may like to create their own masterpieces.

Fine Motor Fun on the Run

One more fun activity for children who still need some fine motor practice is jewelry making. Using small beads to make bracelets and necklaces all use the small muscles in the fingers and hands. The directions in the Melissa & Doug Color Link Jewelry Made Easy kit encourage children to use tweezers to help grasp the colored links. Getting kids to use tweezers is a perfect way to strengthen important fine motor muscles of the fingers and hands. The kit is great to take along on a trip and has the links all sorted out in their own compartments.

Fine Motor Fun on the Run
Fine Motor Fun on the Run

While your tweezers are out take advantage and try some other fun ideas! Have children try and pick up grains of rice with the tweezers. This is easily made into a creative game or competition when timing kids and then seeing how successful they were when trying to transfer rice from one bowl to another.

All of these activities are useful for fine motor fun. Here are some other tips that are also easily taken along in your bag of tricks!

  • Hide small objects such as coins or small toys in some kid-safe play putty, or in play clay. Then ask kids to find and dig out all of the objects. This is a great activity for kids to use their finger strength and keep them entertained.
  • Bring along a roll of scotch tape to the restaurant! Tape your child’s fingers together and ask them to try and wiggle out of it without using their other hand. This is a terrific technique for fine motor strengthening.
  • Take advantage of crayons that many kid friendly restaurants offer. Playing a game like tic-tac-toe or hangman is a great way to help time fly while reinforcing fine motor skills!

*This fine motor fun post features products provided by Melissa & Doug.


Dr. Melissa Liguori, Ed. D.

After studying early childhood education at the American University in Washington, D.C., Dr. Liguori began her career as a classroom teacher in one of the nation’s top school districts, Montgomery County, Maryland. There she fostered an environment where play and learning were synonymous, and her reputation for thinking outside the box when it comes to toys began. Dr. Liguori completed her doctorate in Developmental and Learning Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and worked at prestigious private schools in New York, New Jersey, and the surrounding suburbs before settling her family and practice in Westport, CT. →You can follow Dr. Liguori on Facebook and Twitter!

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