Now long after your infant discovers his own hands, he begins to explore using his fine motor skills. Before you know it, your little one is picking up a Cheerio for snack, holding a cup, and eventually zipping his pants. It is through the use of the hands that babies and toddlers learn about the world around them. Through exploration, they gradually develop fine motor muscle control and coordination skills.

Here are several fine motor activities for toddlers and preschoolers that help develop fine-motor skills.

  • Finger Painting-show your child how to use her index finger to make lines or shapes in the paint. Talk about the different shapes or designs your child makes. Mix different colors to make new colors.
  • Lacing Cards– You can make these out of a file folder. Just cut them into different shapes, then use a hole punch to punch holes around the edges. Have your little one lace a shoestring in and out of the holes.
  • Placing Stickers on Paper- Have the child make different designs, or shapes using the stickers.
  • Sidewalk chalk- show your child how to imitate strokes, such as horizontal lines, vertical lines, circles, and crosses, etc., gradually making the strokes more challenging.
  • Child-Clip Activity- Have your child squeeze and place “chip-clips” onto the edge of a shoebox.
  • Eyedropper Designs- Fill an eyedropper with colored water and have the child squeeze small drops of water onto paper to make designs.
  • Tong Activities- Use kitchen tongs to sort items by shape, size, or color, or to stack blocks. (This is a great activity for pre-scissor skills!)