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Preschool Fine Motor Skills Development

Preschool children need activities to develop their fine motor skills. Let's look at some fun and practical ideas for developing dexterity here.  As preschool teachers, we know our students need to work on these skills but what are the best activities to do with them?  

What Are Fine Motor Skills?

These skills involve the use of the small muscles in the hands, specifically the fingers, that allow us to grasp items, eat, write and more.  So why do children need to develop their dexterity?  Many life skills require the use of hand-eye coordination, including:

  • Tying shoes
  • Manipulating buttons & snaps
  • Writing legibly with a pencil/pendevelop fine motor skills
  • Using scissors
  • Zipping/unzipping
  • Turning doorknobs
  • Using keys
  • Opening and closing locks
  • Picking up coins
  • Holding and using eating utensils
  • Buckling
  • Typing
  • Dialing phone numbers
  • Eating

Early childhood is the ideal time to develop hand-eye coordination, and as teachers and parents, it's our job to give children opportunities to develop these skills.

Ideas To Help Develop Preschoolers' Small Hand Muscles

All the activities below will help your preschool children develop the small muscles in their hands. As an added bonus, many of them help students learn letters, patterns, sorting, and other academic skills.

  • String beads on yarn/shoelace
  • Put puzzles together
  • Play with Legos, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs
  • Use lace cardsactivities for fine motor skills
  • Sort buttons
  • Use small marshmallows and toothpicks to form letters
  • Make a necklace out of stringing popcorn
  • Have a race by blowing cotton balls with a baster
  • Pick up small objects with tweezers and place into containers
  • Finger paint with different materials such as shaving cream, jello mix, sand & water, paint, cocoa mix
  • Make a design on paper using a hole punch
  • Practice using chopsticks
  • Roll shapes or letters out of clay/play-dough
  • Draw letters into clay/play-dough
  • Cut shapes out of paper with safety scissors
  • Pegboard games
  • Build shapes and letters from Wikki-Stix

My FAVORITE Two Activities for Fine Motor Development

Wikki Stix are AMAZING!!  They just "call" to children--and adults!--to touch and use them! I was at a restaurant recently that had a bulletin board created out of these!  They used them to spell out the names of the staff as well as some of their specials!  

Here is a super fun activity to develop hand and finger strength!  Acquire some of the Theraputty  It is similar to Silly Putty but comes in various "strengths".  It is an amazing investment for your classroom.  You can hide small objects like coins, buttons, or plastic toys inside a small ball of it. 

Children can pull and stretch it until they find all the objects.  You can even throw in the added bonus of the child being able to keep the objects if they play a certain number of times!

Supplies For Dexterity and Fine Motor Skills Development

The supplies below, which you can order right from Amazon.com, will help you develop your preschool children's hand strength skills.


These are just SOME ideas for fine motor development!  Be sure to include many each week in your interest learning centers when you are lesson planning!


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