45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (2024)

Looking for a fine motor activities PDF? Here are 45 fine motor skill activities to support your child’s fine motor skills. Then, download the fine motor activities PDF at the end of the post for easy reference.

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (1)

Table of Contents

  • 45 Fine Motor Activities
  • Fine Motor Development
  • What is Bilateral Coordination?
  • Ocular Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Recap: Download Your Fine Motor Activities PDF
  • Fine Motor Skills PDF Download Here

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a nominal fee from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support. See my disclosure policy for more info.

45 Fine Motor Activities

In this free fine motor skills activities PDF printable you’ll find 45 fun activities to strengthen fine motor skills.

When engaging in these activities, try to encourage your child to pinch objects between their thumb and index finger.

1. Build with Blocks

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (2)

Building with blocks is one of the first fine motor activities toddlers often enjoy.

2. Hole Punch All the Things

Have your child hole punch index cards, construction paper, or scrap papers.

3. Use Glue Sticks

Hand your child a glue stick.

  • Glue colored scrap papers onto poster board.
  • Or glue feathers onto paper.

4. Toothpicks

Place toothpicks into different colored clay. This adds the bonus of deep sensory pressure (proprioception) to the finger joints. This type of sensory input can be used as an emotional regulation strategy.

5. Straws

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (3)

Cut straws into smaller pieces and have your child push them into different colored Play-Doh.

6. Make Play-Doh Creations

Play-Doh is an excellent tool for developing fine motor skills and also for supporting the sensory needs of autistic and other neurodivergent kids. Have your child roll Play-Doh between the palms of their hands to create Play-Doh snakes.

In our home, my son enjoys creating Veggie Tales characters during his Play-Doh sessions. If your child likes farm animals, check out this Printable Pig Playdough Mat.

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (4)

7. Play with Rubber Bands

Have your child place rubber bands around jars, cans, etc.

8. Set the Table

Have your child help set the table and strengthen fine motor skills by learning to fold napkins. Be sure to have them press and “seal” the napkin crease with their pointer finger.

9. Silverware Sort

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (5)

While they’re in the kitchen, depending on their developmental level, a preschooler can help sort the silverware. Holding multiple pieces of silverware in their hands supports the small muscles of the hands.

Additionally, they’re learning sorting skills and strengthening visual discrimination skills.

Learn more about the value of a clutter-free design for ADHD brains.

Related Post:

Visual Discrimination and Learning: Less is More

10. Grab the Condiments

Continuing in the kitchen, at every opportunity, allow your child to pop open all the condiment tops. (Without using their teeth.)

11. Turkey Basters

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (6)

Use turkey basters in the tub, sink, or water table.

12. Beading

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (7)

Place beads on a pipe cleaner or other string to make bracelets. If manipulating yarn or string is too cumbersome, try S’getti Strings. It’s thicker and has more tension which makes it easier to work with.

13. Dot Stickers

Use dot stickers to spell your child’s name on posterboard or paper. In fact, peeling and placing stickers of any kind is an excellent fine motor activity.

14. Clothespins

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (8)

Clip clothespins onto numbered card stock. Practice math and strengthen small muscles in the hands and fingers.

15. Sort Cereal

Sort colored cereal using large kid tweezers.

16. Hammer Golf Tees

Hammer golf tees into styrofoam. You may want to use a kid’s hammer or a small mallet.

17. Pop Bubble Wrap

Pup bubble wrap or pop-fidgets between fingers.

18. Thread Buttons

Thread pipe cleaners or string through buttons.

19. Shaving Cream Drawing

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (9)

Draw or write in shaving cream. Spray shaving cream on a cookie sheet or spray it on a shower wall for shower fun. You can even have your kiddo try shaving cream painting for more fun!

20. Draw on the Doors

Use dry-erase markers on glass windows or doors. It’s so easy to clean and is fun for kids.

21. Jigsaw Puzzles

Puzzles are excellent brain-building tools. Manipulating jigsaw puzzle pieces is an excellent fine motor skill for kids of all ages. Plus, there are numerous cognitive benefits of working on puzzles.

22. Knob Puzzles

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (10)

Have younger children play with knob puzzles that have small knobs for pincher grasp practice.

Related:

Benefits of Fine Motor Skills Puzzles for Your Kids

23. Perler Beads

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (11)

We love Perler Beads in our home. The activity supports creativity and fine-tunes finger dexterity and ocular-motor (eye) skills. Your child may want to learn How to Make Perler Bead Suncatchers too.

24. Pom-Poms

No, not the cheerleading kind. Use craft pom-poms for crafting. Or have your child drop Pom Poms through the opening of empty water bottles.

25. Junk Mail

Hand your child a pair of safety scissors and your latest junk mail. Have them cut it into small pieces and dispose of it for you.

26. Silly Putty

Silly Putty is an excellent sensory toy and is perfect for fine motor development. Have your child squeeze and manipulate Silly Putty for tactile sensory input and to strengthen hand and finger muscles.

(If you’d like to avoid the mess, I suggest at the kitchen table).

27. Connect the Dots

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (12)

Work on Connect the Dots activities using different writing tools based on your child’s developmental level.

Different writing utensils offer variety in friction and pressure needed to write effectively. Depending on your child’s skills, allow them to choose the writing tool of their choice. As another alternative, try these Star Wars color by number printables.

Related:

My Child Hates Writing- 27 Powerful Tips to Help Reluctant Writers

28. Coins and Piggy Bank

Have your child place coins through the slot of a piggy bank.

29. Sorting Activities

Sorting any small item is a great option.

  • Coins by value or name
  • Buttons by color or size
  • Crayons by color
  • Legos by color or size

30. LiteBrite

Sale

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (13)

Lite-Brite Magic Screen Light Bright Bonus Set,…

  • Inspires creativity and helps with fine motor skills

Grab an old LiteBrite (if you have one from childhood) or grab a new one. LiteBrite is one of the most colorful and visually calming creative toys. The small light-up pegs are perfect for strengthening fine motor skills.

Use the enclosed idea cards to support your child’s ocular motor skills. Having to scan back and forth between the model and the LiteBrite board works those eye muscles.

31. Edible Jewelry

String Cheerios onto yarn to create edible jewelry.

32. Legos

Building with Legos is hands-down one of the easiest ways to strengthen those small muscles in the eyes and the fingers.

For neurodivergent kids who enjoy Legos (ADHD, Autism), the activity can be used as a calming emotional regulation activity.

Related:

47 Emotional Regulation Activities for Kids Every Mom Needs!

33. Lacing Cards

Lacing cards are cardboard or wooden cards designed just for kids. They’re a great tool to develop lacing skills that enhance fine motor development.

TheseHungry Caterpillar Lacing Cardsare adorable.

Sale

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (15)

The World of Eric Carle(TM) The Very Hungry…

  • LACE UP WITH VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR & FRIENDS: The beloved caterpillar makes its return in this fun…

34. Lace Shoes

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (17)

Learning to tie your shoes is a big feat in fine motor development.

Further, tying shoes can be especially challenging for autistic and other neurodivergent children. It’s one skill that occupational therapists work on with kids who struggle with motor coordination.

This Learn to Tie Shoeby Melissa and Doug is a great way to introduce the skill to your child. Or simply grab a shoe with long laces and practice tying step by step.

35. Musical Instrument

Learning to play a musical instrument has numerous brain-building benefits. Further, it can be one of the best fine motor skill activities out there.

If your child doesn’t want to take lessons, that’s ok. Try these simple options.

  1. Get a cheap keyboard or jump into piano lessons.
  2. Try an unconventional instrument like a kids’ accordion.
45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (18)

36. Play Video Games

Yes. I know this flies in the face of much of the advice about the downsides of screen time. However, there are benefits to some video game time.

And while your child is using a game controller, be reassured. They’re developing fine motor dexterity while strengthening hand-eye coordination.

Related:

37. Remote Control Cars

Maneuvering a remote control car using a controller has multiple benefits. It’s excellent for your child’s hand-eye coordination and other fine motor development.

38. Play Board Games

Playing board games is wonderful for family bonding and for educational purposes. We use some of the best educational board games in our homeschool often.

Playing board games can also enhance fine motor control. Choose board games with small pieces to strengthen the tiny muscles of the eyes and fingers while having fun!

Another idea is to use small stones as bingo markers with these Fall Bingo Printables.

Related:

39. Play Card Games

Card games are so good for your child’s fine motor development.

  • Holding a “hand” of cards in your hand is NOT easy and requires dexterity in the hands and fingers.
  • Flipping cards over requires that same dexterity.

For young kids, try a simple game of “Go Fish” or Memory. Some of our favorite card games include:

40. Sensory Bins

Sensory bins serve many purposes. This fun activity is great for providing needed tactile input while using the tiny muscles of the wrists, hands, and fingers.

  • Fill a sensory bin with colored rice and hide small toys in it.
  • Have your child use small tweezers or even just their hands to find the hidden objects.

This activity supports visual discrimination and strengthens ocular motor skills.

Related:

31 Sensory Toys for Autism and Why They Work (2024)

41. Crunch Paper One-Handed

Strengthen your child’s in-hand manipulation skills using a sheet of paper. Have your child work on crunching one piece of paper using only one hand.

42. Learn to Knit

Knitting is an excellent fine motor activity for older kids, teens, and adults. This learn-to-knit kit is a great way to introduce your child to knitting.

43. Learn to Crochet

Recently, my family and I went to a local fall festival. We met a young lady who blew us away with her crocheting skills. The stuffed toys she crocheted captured my kids’ attention and we ended up supporting her small business big time.

In our conversation, her mother shared how helpful crocheting has been for her daughter’s mental health and her fine motor dexterity.

For older kids, why not introduce them to crocheting instead of forcing extra handwriting practice? Here are some other easy art project ideas to inspire you.

44. Sidewalk Chalk

Drawing with sidewalk chalk is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while strengthening hand grasping.

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (31)

45. Braiding

For older kids- especially those with motor coordination issues- learning to braid can be a great way to strengthen fine motor skills.

  • Start simple by braiding three pieces of yarn.
    • Tape the three pieces together on one end.
    • Then have your child say, “Right to the middle. Left to the middle,” while crossing over one at a time.
    • The auditory processing can help move the process along.

Move on to real hair when your child’s ready. We even have a hair mannequin just for this purpose. Braiding hair is an excellent stimming activity for autistic individuals. The activity can support calm and self-regulation.

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (32)

Fine Motor Development

Learning to manipulate things using the small muscles of the hand and wrists is one of many fine motor development milestones. Nothing exists in a vacuum. And this is true for the development of motor skills.

As such, large gross motor skill development lays the foundation for strong fine motor skills. Gross motor skills involve the larger muscles of the body including the arms, legs, and core muscles. Ultimately, the ability to move throughout the world allows young children to develop their motor skills.

Related:

Ultimate Free Fine Motor Skills Checklist Printable!

Core Strength and Handwriting

A child who lacks adequate core strength, for example, can have challenges holding a pencil and writing properly. This is because the body has to expend much more fuel to maintain the proper body position. That process drains cognitive and physical fuel which limits the child’s ability.

It’s important to note the challenges with gross motor skills are common in autistic and other neurodivergent kids. They often need explicit support to integrate motor skills.

As always, if you’re concerned about your child’s developing motor skills, please consider occupational therapy.

What is Bilateral Coordination?

Ever heard the term bilateral coordination but are not so sure what it is or why it matters? Bilateral coordination(integration) refers to efficiently using both sides of the body to coordinate an action.

For example, when talking about writing, children need strong bilateral coordination. This refers to using one hand to hold the paper in the proper position while using the dominant writing hand to execute the act of writing.

Related:

Motor Skills in Autism: Why Your Child’s Cerebellum Matters

Ocular Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination

Typically, when we think of fine motor skills, we refer to the coordination of the small muscles of the wrists, hands, and fingers. As such, we often associate handwriting with the ultimate goal of fine motor skills.

However, other critical fine motor skills include the use of the small muscles of the eyes. These are referred to asocular motor skills.

To expand on this idea, writing with a pencil requires the integration of the small muscles of the handANDthe eyes. We refer to this as hand-eye coordination.

Recap: Download Your Fine Motor Activities PDF

Now that we’ve reviewed some fine motor activity ideas, I hope you feel better equipped to support your child or your students. Think outside the box and go with what works for your kids.

Use their interest to drive engagement and learning. (Hint, interest increases dopamine and dopamine creates motivation.)

Please grab your free downloads of these Fine Motor Activities and have some fun. So, friend, what did I miss? In this with you!

Fine Motor Skills PDF Download Here

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (33)

Up Next:

Benefits of Fine Motor Skills Puzzles for Your Kids

7 Best Play-Based Phonics Tools for Learning at Home

My Child Hates Writing- 27 Powerful Tips to Help Reluctant Writers

31 Sensory Toys for Autism and Why They Work (2024)

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (34)

About the Author:

Lindsay is a trauma-informed educator with a Master’s Degree in Teaching. Her mission is to support moms to equip neurodivergent kids (ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Anxiety) to thrive as exactly who they’ve been created to be. Wait until you hear the story that led to it all…

Seek Professional Medical Advice

This is NOT medical advice. I’m not a doctor, but an educator with a passion for researching, learning, health, and supporting the neurodivergent community. As such, this is for educational purposes only. I encourage you to learn as much as you can by learning, reading, and seeking the insight of multiple experts. Please discuss your healthcare decisions with a trusted healthcare provider.

45 Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids with PDF (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Laurine Ryan

Last Updated:

Views: 6121

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Laurine Ryan

Birthday: 1994-12-23

Address: Suite 751 871 Lissette Throughway, West Kittie, NH 41603

Phone: +2366831109631

Job: Sales Producer

Hobby: Creative writing, Motor sports, Do it yourself, Skateboarding, Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Stand-up comedy

Introduction: My name is Laurine Ryan, I am a adorable, fair, graceful, spotless, gorgeous, homely, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.