Sometimes fine motor activities for children can be a nightmare!
As a busy mom you don’t always have time to prep activities for your kids.
Even worse… Some fine motor and sensory activities like sensory bins do come with an element of mess involved.
That’s why I’ve found these 15 simple fine motor activities that require little to no prep involved!
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What Is Considered A Fine Motor Skill?
Fine motor skills are the movement of small muscles in the fingers, hands, and wrists.
Strengthening these small muscles with early fine motor activities will help your child with…
- Picking up objects without dropping them
- Feeding themselves
Plus, being able to complete these fine motor tasks will boosts your child’s self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-confidence.
Simple Fine Motor Activities To Try Today
Feather Push Through
For this activity all you will need is…
- A small box
Now take the box and begin to cut small slits about a 1/2 inch in width. Just enough to squeeze a feather through.
All your child needs to do is place the feathers through the slits on the box.
Think of this fine motor activity like placing coins through a piggy bank!
You can also take this activity and advance it by having your child color coordinate colored feathers with colored slits on the box to teach color recognition.
Cotton Ball Pickup
There are two simple items for this activity- Cotton balls and cloths pins.
Scatter the cotton balls on a table or floor and have your child use the pincher grip with the cloths pin to pick up cotton balls and move them to a designated area like a small bowl.
Cheerios and Pipe Cleaners
As you know cheerios can be used for a variety of crafting projects. But they are also great for building finger and hand strength as well as coordination.
Now have your child simply pick up a Cheerio one by one and thread them onto a pipe cleaner.
You can either use a pipe cleaner by itself lying down or stand the pipe cleaner up with playdough or a pasta strainer.
Paste comes in all shapes and sizes! Any type of pasta can work for this activity as long as it has a hole so he or she can thread it onto string.
Start by picking a petered pasta type and a thick crafting string. Then, have your child make a pasta necklace or bracelet.
Once the pasta necklace or bracelet is complete tie the ends together and your little one can paint the pasta!
Thread weaving involves threading a shoelace through holes similar to hand sewing.
If you want you can purchase a complete lacing card kit right on Amazon!
But if you would rather handmake threading cards simply grab a shoelace from an old shoe, cardstock paper, and a hole punch.
Now use a pencil to trace a simple design like a cat face outline, a fish, or a three-leaf clover on the cardstock. Next, take your hole punch and follow the tracing punching out holes with the hole punch.
Then, have your child thread the shoelace through the holes to make whatever shape you have outlined with holes.
This will require a great deal of concentration and patience for your child to do!
Yes stickers! Getting stickers off the sticker sheet and onto paper is a great and simple fine motor activity for toddlers!
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Educational Sensory Items Available On Etsy
Unthawing Trapped Animals
For this activity you will need the following:
- An ice cube tray
- Small animal figurines or charms
- Am eye dropper
All you need to do to prep for this activity is to place on small animal or animal charm in each ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze for 2 plus hours or overnight.
Once completely frozen remove the ice cubes and place however many you like onto a plate. Supply your child with an eye dropper and a small cup of warm water.
Then, instruct your child how to use the eye dropper to gather water and free the trapped animals.
Hair Bands and Straws
When I say hairbands I mean tiny plastic hairbands. For this activity to work to stretch your child’s fine motor skills have him or her stretch the tiny hairbands one by one onto a straw.
I suggest using a playdough mound for standing the straws up! Your child will need to use fine motor muscles in both hands simultaneously to stretch the tiny rubber hair ties over the straw.
Pop Pom Push
Another two item no prep fine motor activity! All you need is another box to cut small holes in and some pom poms of whatever size you want.
Instruct your child to push pom poms through the hole cutouts on the box. You can add an extra element of learning by outlining the cutout holes with different colored markers and match the pop pom colors to the colored box holes.
Instead of using a large paintbrush, use a Q-tip for painting. Using a Q-tip will help your child develop a better pincher grip to prepare your toddler for coloring and writing with pens and pencils.
While this activity does not take any prep on your part, it does require supervision! The last thing you can is for your child to give themselves a haircut instead!
You can draw shapes with a marker on paper or download and print worksheets online. All your child needs to do is practice cutting out the shapes to strengthen their hand and wrist muscles.
Playdough by itself is a wonderful and fun tool to help children build strength in their fingers, hands, and wrists.
Let your child have a playdough session to squash, mash, squish, squeeze, roll, and build whatever their imagination can think of!
Water Bead Pickup
Although the water beads will need to be prepped by adding water and soaking for a few hours. This is still a fairly easy fine motor activity to put together.
When all the water beads have soaked up enough water, place them into a plastic container or bin. Then, have your child move the one water bead at a time from the bin to a bowl with the pincher grip.
Water beads are slimy feeling and they bounce. This makes it harder to pick up one between the forefinger and thumb.
If you want to take this activity up a notch, I suggest using multiple color water beads.
With different colors your child will have to search for the color and pick a specific color to match it to a colored bowl. Set a goal to collect a certain number of colored water beads like red, blue, green and white to match to their corresponding plastic colored bowl.
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Each one of the specific fine motor activities is designed to be easy for parents. Sometimes activity prep and the activities themselves can feel exhausting for a parent. Especially if your child gets bored very easy!
It’s tough to put in so much work for your child’s activity only to have them actively participate for two minutes!
With these activities you not only are building the lifetime skill of using fine motor skills but also don’t have to worry about the prep!
So, try one of these no prep fine motor activities today with your toddler!
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