Fine Motor Toy Ideas
The development of fine motor skills - the ability to use muscles in the hands to perform tasks like buttoning, writing, and holding eating utensils - starts in infancy. Tummy Time is encouraged so babies can strengthen their neck and back muscles. Crawling helps with shoulder stability and hand arches. Pointing and reaching promotes the initiation of finger isolation. These skills all lead to the eventual development of stability and strength in the core, shoulders, and wrists, which are prerequisites for adequate fine motor abilities. As children get older, fine motor skills become more refined naturally through play and learning.
Take a look at some of the toys that I found to help develop and refine fine motor skills.
1) Plus Plus
Construction toys are generally great for helping fine motor skills develop. The little puzzle pieces in Plus- Plus are especially helpful for this as they require precise coordination and strength to attach. Plus Plus connect from all sides allowing children to create 3D designs while challenging fine motor strength, coordination, creativity, and visual-spatial skills.
2) Peg Boards
Pegboards are simple toys that have many benefits. They promote finger isolation and in-hand manipulation skills (manipulating pieces in the hand without dropping them). Large pegs are great for toddlers because they are easier to grasp and insert into the board while small pegs like these are great for preschoolers to practice more precise coordination. Pegboards also inspire creativity and help build imaginations while creating unique picture designs.
3) Cutting Food Velcro Wooden Play Sets
Pulling apart the velcro pieces develops strength in the hands and encourages bilateral coordination (using two hands together to complete a task). Kids can also practice bilateral coordination by using their dominant hand to "cut" with the toy knife and use their "helper" hand to stabilize the food.
4) Mini Muffin Match Up
Mini Muffin Match Up is a simple math game that teaches color and number recognition, counting, and matching. Using tweezers to pick up pieces strengthens muscles in the hands and promotes tripod grasp (grasp used for writing).
5) Action Stackers
Action Stackers allow kids to stack pegs not only vertically but in all directions, teaching basic engineering principles and inspiring creativity. Action Stackers also promote bilateral coordination (the use of both hands together), and fine motor strength. I love this new twist on the classic pegboard set!
6) Sticker Activities
The Animal Sticker activity above allows kids to personalize pictures in a creative way with funky and imaginative stickers. Pealing and pasting stickers is another way to work on bilateral coordination and refine fine motor skills.
7) Shelby’s Snack Shack
Shelby's Snack Shack is a board game that comes with doggy tweezers, used to pick up doggy bones in the game. Using the tweezers promotes fine motor coordination and strength. This game teaches basic math skills, counting, following directions, and turn taking as well.
Stamps are always fun and motivating for children, which is great because using them encourages a tripod grasp, and helps develop hand arches (needed for writing). There are endless ways to incorporate stamps into play and many different ones to choose from.
9) Avalanche Fruit Stand Game
Avalanche Fruit Stand is another simple fine motor game that requires children to use tweezers to pick up “fruits". Holding tweezers strengthens muscles in the hands which are needed to hold pencils and other writing and eating utensils.
Froogz is a unique construction toy that comes with soft and flexible construction pieces with little suction cups on each end. The suction cups attach to most flat surfaces and require strength and coordination to pull apart and attach together. Kids can create a variety of creative structures while strengthening muscles in their hands during play.
11) Pop Beads
Pop-Arty Beads encourage creativity, imaginative play, and the development of fine motor strength. They also provide excellent proprioceptive feedback to the muscles and joints, making it a calming and organizing activity.
Beehives is an interesting open-ended tweezer activity game that helps strengthen the tripod grasp. Here, kids also practice matching and eye-hand coordination (as they place the bees into their hives). See how many unique game ideas you can create that incorporate this wooden set.
13) Thumbs Up
Thumbs Up is a board game that requires players to stack rings onto their thumbs as indicated on challenge cards before their opponents. Playing this game encourages a quick reaction time, visual perception, finger isolation, and in-hand manipulation skills .
14) Pick A Berry
Pick a Berry is a super cute game for preschoolers that works on in-hand manipulation skills (holding a few berries in the hands and transferring them to the finger tips to place on the branch), hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. It can also be used to teach turn taking, following directions, and concentration.
15) Short Crayons
Rock Crayons are super fun and also super small. Because of their shape and size, kids automatically use a tripod grasp (correct grasp) in order to hold them.
16) Mathlink Cubes
Math Links are great for counting, building, and developing fine motor strength and coordination (as kids pull them apart and stack them together). Math Links can be used to create patterns or 3D designs .
17) Pegcasso Build & Drill
Build & Drill is the perfect engineering toy from which kids can build 3D constructions while problem-solving, thinking creatively, and developing coordination, and fine motor skills. This set also includes pegs and pegboard stencils to design your own pictures and rubber bands which help strengthen hands as you play.