Building fine motor strength is important during the toddler and preschool years. And it can easily be done at home, at your kitchen table! Whether it’s a quiet weekend afternoon, a school holiday break, or you’re indoors due to the weather, you can easily add some fine motor fun in your home.
Chalk is one of our favorite fine motor tools because it doesn’t glide as easily as a marker, thus making those little fingers work harder. It’s also fun because there are so many different ways to use it.
- Dip chalk into a shallow cup of water and then draw on top of a sheet of paper.
- Brush or spray water on sections of a piece of paper, and then use chalk on top of it.
- Cut a kitchen sponge into quarters and clip a clothespin to one end. Draw on paper with chalk and then wet the sponge and drag it on top of the chalk.
- Draw on paper and then use a paintbrush to wash water over it.
Washable paint is always handy to have at home.
- Paint on a coffee filter or tinfoil!
- Draw different colored lines across paper and have your child brush the same colors of paint on top of the lines. (Great for hand-eye coordination!)
Another favorite is finger painting. Take a baking pan and squire a few different colors of paint onto it. Invite your child to use his fingers to move the paint around. This is a fun sensory experience! Then take a sheet of paper and press it on top of the paint to make a print.
Working with Q-Tips is one of my favorites for strengthening those small fingers. All you need is some paint and paper for a fun fine motor activity.
Tape resist art can be a learning experience if you use letters, numbers, or shapes! Simply lightly press some masking tape or painter’s tape on a sheet of paper and have your child brush paint on top. Then carefully remove the tape. Pretty fun, and young children love it!
Learning how to hold and use scissors is an important skill for preschoolers. The opening and closing motion helps strengthen the small muscles in their hands.
- Start with snipping the edges of a sheet of paper.
- Then, draw a straight line across a sheet of paper that they can cut on.
- When they are ready, draw curvy and zig-zag lines for them to cut.
- Once they get the hang of using scissors, they can cut different pieces to make a collage.
Our toddlers and preschoolers love using rubber stamps at our writing table. This can easily be done at the kitchen table, too! All you need is a washable stamp pad and some paper.
- Have your child make a card for a relative. This is a great way to practice letter recognition! Then, use markers to draw a picture.
- Create a name puzzle! This is a favorite in our preschool classroom. When we are finished, we send them home in a baggie so the children can continue to practice. You can make one for your child and periodically bring it out for some name recognition fun.
- Practice stamping the letters in your name! To start, you can stamp the letters first and your child can stamp the same letters underneath.
You can also brush a bit of paint on the stamps, pressing them onto paper. Or color the rubber with markers and then stamp.
There are so many ways to use markers. I’ve shown a few combined with the ideas above. But one of our favorites is using them to trace. You don’t need to spend money on stencils. Instead, have your child look around the kitchen for shapes to trace! This is not only a fun fine motor activity, but it also strengthens shape recognition.
Head on over to Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds to find 55+ Fine Motor Activities for Home.
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