The early years are the perfect time to set the foundation for skills your child will need as they get older. Help your child grow and develop with these fine motor skills activities for preschoolers.
Preschoolers are constantly growing and learning, and one of the important things they learn during this time is fine motor skills. This includes activities such as hand-eye coordination, grasping small objects, and dexterity.
But for some homeschool moms, hearing about one more thing they need to focus on can be a bit overwhelming.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! These ten easy and quick fine motor skills activities for preschoolers will help your child grow and develop without adding any extra stress to your day.
Why Fine Motor Skills Are Important for Preschoolers
During the preschool years, a lot of emphases is put on getting our kids ready for school. We think about counting, shapes, and learning to read.
But often, parents don’t think about motor skills. Sure having good dexterity and strength in your hands isn’t going to help when it comes to learning how to count to 100 or memorizing the alphabet, but they are necessary life skills and an important part of healthy development.
Children and adults use fine motor skills for all kinds of activities including:
- getting dressed
- using a computer
- playing an instrument
- and plenty more!
Strengthening and developing the muscles in a child’s hand is an important part of them becoming more independent and building necessary skills they’ll use as they get older.
That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re incorporating some fine motor skills activities for preschoolers into your child’s daily routine.
Fine Motor Skills Preschoolers Need to Work On
Fine motor skills activities for preschoolers will help your child develop the strength and coordination to perform more complex tasks.
There are a few main types of fine motor skills that preschoolers need to work on:
- Dexterity – the ability to use your hands and fingers to complete a task.
- Grip – the way you hold an object in your hand.
- Strength – the amount of force you can apply with your hands and fingers.
- Coordination – the ability to use your eyes and hands together to complete a task.
Below I’ve listed 10 quick and easy activities to help your child work on these skills.
Preschool Fine Motor Skills Activities
The fine motor skills activities for preschoolers on this list are easy and quick activities that you can set up in just a few minutes. These are great anytime you want to keep your child busy whether that’s during homeschooling, on a rainy day, while you’re cooking dinner, or even at a restaurant.
Most of the activities use items that you already have around the house too, which is always a bonus!
A great and easy fine motor skill activity to do is playdough. Playdough helps strengthen the muscles in the hand and uses a wide range of grips and positions that many other toys or activities don’t.
You can easily find some playdough at the store or you can make some of your own. Making it yourself adds another opportunity to sneak in some more fine motor skill practice as well as cooking, literacy, and more.
Here are some fun ways to use playdough at the preschool age and sneak in some learning as well:
- Create letters or numbers out of playdough.
- Make balls of different sizes and have them compare and contrast the sizes using math vocabulary such as big, small, bigger, etc.
- Use cookie cutters to make shapes, animals, letters, people, and more.
- Use playdough mats for even more fun and learning opportunities.
Painting is a super fun activity for preschoolers that helps with so many different skills. It’s great for developing dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
Having your child use a paintbrush or q-tip can also help build the muscles they’ll need later for gripping a pencil.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of paint too. Foam paint (using shaving cream) is super fun and provides a different sensory experience.
Painting whatever your child likes by itself will give lots of fine motor skills practice, but if you wanted to work on other learning skills as well, here are some activities to try:
- Paint letters, numbers, or animals on coloring pages.
- Dot paint over their name written on a piece of paper.
- See what happens when you mix different colors. See if you and your child can create new colors.
- Go for a nature walk and bring home things to paint, such as leaves, sticks, or rocks.
Sorting With Tweezers
Next on our list of fine motor skills activities for preschoolers is sorting with tweezers. Sorting helps with categorization, color recognition, as well as fine motor skills.
You can easily sort objects around your house or you can buy a cheap bag of sorted buttons, pipe cleaners, pompoms, etc. from the store. To work on those fine motor skills, have your child sort the objects using tongs or tweezers.
Sorting is another activity that leaves lots of room to incorporate other learning skills. Here are some fun activities:
- Sorting by color, size, shape, etc.
- Making patterns with the sorted items.
- Count how many of each item there is as you sort.
Water play is such a fun activity for preschoolers and can help with fine motor skills and coordination. A good way to help your child focus on strengthening their hands while playing with the water is to add in things like cups, spoons, measuring spoons, eye droppers, and clean medicine syringes.
These all help with different muscles in the hand and provide a variety of experiences for your child.
You can set up a water table outside or use a sink, bin, or even just a couple of bowls inside. Add in some fun toys such as boats, reels, strainers, and funnels to make it more interesting.
Here are some other things you can do to make water play more fun and educational for your preschooler:
- Add some food coloring to the water and see what colors you can make.
- Talk about what items will sink or float.
- Pour the water from one container to another using different objects.
Next on our list of fine motor skills activities for preschoolers is lacing cards. This is an easy activity to help build coordination and a strong grip. You can buy them premade or make your own using some household materials and yarn, ribbon, or string.
I’ve had good success making some of mine out of cardboard boxes, old cereal boxes, and even construction paper. If you have a laminator, you can make one out of regular paper and laminate it so it lasts longer.
To use the lacing cards, have your child thread the yarn through the holes in the card. You can start with big, easy-to-see holes and progress to smaller ones.
You could also incorporate a large plastic sewing needle to make it more challenging. Here are some other ways to use lacing cards:
- Make patterns with the colors of the yarn.
- Have your child lace two cards together and make a bigger one.
- Try lacing around the outside of a shape instead of through holes.
- Create number, letter, or shape lacing cards.
Another fine motor activity for preschools is to string Cheerios. This is a great way to work on those pincer grasps as well as coordination.
You can do this activity in a couple of different ways. Option 1, string the cheerios onto a piece of yarn, string, pipe cleaner, or ribbon. To set up the activity, simply tie a knot at the end of the string and then let your child thread the Cheerios on.
Option 2, thread the Cheerios onto a piece of uncooked spaghetti. Simply plant the spaghetti strand into a mound of playdough (or something similar) and have your child thread the Cheerios on.
This is a great way to work on those fine motor skills and also sneak in some math skills as well. You can count out how many Cheerios your child strings on or have them count out a specific number to add to the string.
Another fun activity for preschoolers that uses pipe cleaners is to make colander designs. This helps develop your child’s fine motor skills and can be done again and again.
All you need is a colander and a few pipe cleaners. Turn the colander upside down and have your child start poking the ends of the pipe cleaners into the holes.
You can make patterns, shapes, or whatever your child’s imagination comes up with. If they get frustrated easily, start with 2 or 3 pipe cleaners and then add more as they get the hang of it.
One of my favorite fine motor skills activities for preschoolers, when we’re out and about, is stickers. Stickers help really fine-tune hand coordination all the way down to the fingertips.
You can buy stickers at the dollar store or Walmart for super cheap and just keep some in your purse. The next time you’re stuck somewhere and your child is getting bored, pull out the stickers, a piece of paper or a receipt, and they’re good to go.
To help practice some learning skills with the stickers, here are some ideas:
- Draw big letters, numbers, or your child’s name, and have them place stickers all along the lines.
- Make patterns with the stickers.
- Sort the stickers by color, shape, or size.
Cutting with Scissors
A really simple way to help your preschooler build fine motor skills is to let them cut with scissors. All you need are some child-safe scissors and spare paper, and they’ll take it from there.
If your child doesn’t have much experience with scissors, you can just let them cut however they want without a lot of expectations. Learning to cut can make your child’s hands a bit tired if they haven’t developed enough strength in them yet, so it’s best to keep it simple.
One idea is to have them cut up scraps of paper and glue them to another piece of paper for a mosaic-style craft project. They can also practice cutting:
- tissue paper
- construction paper
- aluminum foil
- wax paper
Pretty much whatever you have on hand will get the job done.
For children with more advanced cutting skills, have them practice cutting along the line. They can cut out crafts for projects, shapes, letters, or whatever else you can think of.
A fun cutting activity my kids liked was creating our own puzzles. I would print out a coloring page, the kids colored it in then cut it out in weird shapes. Then they got to have fun putting it back together.
Last but not least on our list of fine motor skills activities for preschoolers is coloring. It sounds simple, but it’s still one of the best ways to help your child develop good fine motor skills.
It’s especially useful because it helps them develop the strength and coordination they’ll need as they learn handwriting. Here are some fun coloring activities:
- Explore different coloring implements like crayons, pens, pencils, markers, paint pens, chalk, etc.
- Color different surfaces like paper, fabric, dry erase boards, chalkboards, etc.
- Grab a couple of coloring books with their favorite characters.
- Create a comic book together.
- Retell stories with pictures.
- Free drawing.
If your child is reluctant to draw or color, sit down with them and do it together. Some kids are hesitant because they aren’t sure how to do it or how to move the pen or crayon in the right way.
As they practice, they’ll get more confident, but sometimes they need you to help ease them in.
How to Add Fine Motor Skills Activities for Preschoolers to Your Homeschool Day
Now that we’ve covered 10 easy fine motor skills activities for preschoolers, let’s talk about how to add them to your homeschool day.
Make Them Easy to Access
My first suggestion is to make them easy to access for your child. If they can get to them on their own without having to ask you or wait for you to set them up, they’ll get a lot more practice.
This might not be a good choice for things like painting or water play, but most of the other activities are pretty safe for your child to do independently.
Enlist the Help of Older Siblings
If you find yourself too busy to set up activities for your younger child, enlist the help of older siblings. All of the activities on this list are simple enough that a child a few years older should be able to set them up on their own.
And if you have a preschooler and toddler, some of the activities can easily be adapted for both age groups. With a few tweaks, most of these activities can work for kids of all ages.
Make it Part of Your Homeschool Routine
The key to making any activity part of your homeschool day is to make it part of your routine. Find a time that works for you and your family and stick with it.
If you have a set homeschool schedule, just add in 10-15 minutes for a fine motor skills activity. If you’re more flexible, work them into your day as they fit.
Follow your child’s lead
If your child seems more interested in a specific activity, go with it. Children will often naturally gravitate towards activities and skills they need to work on. So if they’re constantly asking to cut or color, chances are those are the skills they need to work on the most.
If there is a particular activity or skill that they seem to be avoiding, give it a few tries. If they still aren’t interested in it, that’s ok! Set it aside for another time.
That activity might be a little too difficult for them right now and that’s fine. Revisit it in a few weeks or months and see how they do.
My son took a while to warm up to coloring or drawing. Then about 6 months before he turned 5 he got really into it. So into it, I had drawings all over my walls, couch, and table. 😂
Sometimes children just need a little more time.
Don’t Forget to Make it Fun
The activities on this list are all things that your child should enjoy. If they’re not into it, try something else. There are plenty of other fine motor skills activities to choose from.
And if you find yourself getting frustrated, take a break. Let your child lead and go at their pace. The goal is for them to have fun while they’re developing their fine motor skills.
It shouldn’t feel like a chore or work. At this age, learning should be all about play and exploration.
I hope you enjoyed this list of 10 easy fine motor skills activities for preschoolers. If you’re looking for more ideas to work on those fine motor skills, check out this post on stress-free preschool crafts.
Do you have any favorite fine motor skills activities for preschoolers? Share them in the comments below!