21 Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills

21 Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills



What are Fine Motor Skills?


Fine motor skills are the tiny and precise movements that we make with our hands, fingers, feet and toes. They involve the coordination and movement of lots of little muscles together. Fine motors skills are developed in children from birth and as they grow through many naturally occurring activities.


As children grow, fine motor skills become increasingly important for supporting independence with everyday tasks such as feeding, dressing, toileting and learning.


What is Involved in Fine Motor Skills?


Fine motor control is a complex process requires a number of steps:

  • Awareness
  • Planning
  • Coordination
  • Muscle strength
  • Sensation (to feel what is going on)
  • Precision / dexterity


Fine Motor Milestones


Fine motor milestones can be used as a guide to the types of fine motor skills that a typically developing child will have by certain ages. They can be used as a tool to identify areas where a child might need a little bit of extra support in developing their fine motor skills.


Improving Fine Motor Skills


Helping your child to practice their fine motor skills is the best way to improve the development of these skills. There are lots of activities that you can incorporate into play time, here are some ideas:


  1. Scrunching paper
  2. Threading noodles / pasta onto string
  3. Blowing and popping bubbles
  4. Sorting beads
  5. Scissor cutting
  6. Jigsaw puzzles
  7. Building with Lego
  8. Creating with play clay
  9. Playing Snap!
  10. Folding paper into shapes like aeroplanes
  11. Popping bubble wrap
  12. Drawing
  13. Painting
  14. Play a toy instrument (like a piano)


In addition to these fun activities, there are countless everyday tasks that will help your child to develop their fine motor skills. It’s really important to encourage children to tackle these tasks (with your help) so that that can improve their skills and increase their confidence. Some everyday tasks that use fine motor skills include:

  1. Eating finger food with hands
  2. Eating with utensils
  3. Brushing teeth
  4. Doing up buttons
  5. Doing up zippers
  6. Tying up shoelaces
  7. Turning the pages of a book


Getting Further Support

Occupational therapy support is available to help children who are experiencing emerging developmental concerns or who have developmental delay to improve their fine motor skills. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you are concerned and they will be able to help with how to access OT support.