Toddlers have tiny hands and small muscles that need to be worked so that they can improve their skills for future tasks such as writing and working in the kitchen.
Fine motor skills are an important part of play for toddlers- the more practice they have with these small motor skills the more accurate they will get.
Here are 6 fine motor activities for toddlers that are a lot of fun and also help to foster independence.
6 Must-Do Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers
We all know toddlers love to play with things like water and sand, and pouring from one container to another is an extension of that play.
Pouring is a great fine motor activity for toddlers because it requires them to hold their hands steady and pour from one container to another without spilling.
There are a ton of variations of pouring as a small motor activity- using both water or dry goods.
Some pouring activities to try (pictured above):
A tiny creamer pitcher and small tea cup for pouring water
2 tiny pitcher to pour back and forth between (without spilling)
A small glass pitcher and goblet for water
You’ll notice that all of these items are ceramic or glass- and breakable. I believe in giving kids- even young ones- real tools. They can learn to care for them correctly and use them gently without breaking.
If your toddler is pouring water, I recommend giving them a tray and a sponge to help clean up any spills!
Transferring is another really fun fine motor activity for toddlers. When it comes to this activity the tools are what make it exciting!
Setting up a transferring station really only requires 2 things- some sort of tongs and a bowl of items to transfer. What you use is up to you!
Here are a few options for tools:
Remember to provide a various sizes and difficulties
What are they transferring? Anything! Pom Poms, Small Rocks, Bear Counters, basically anything fun that can be picked up with tongs and moved to another location. This is also great to pair with other learning activities like color matching. (Here’s a cute color sorting sensory bin idea!)
Scooping is similar to transferring except your toddler uses a small spoon or scoop to move the objects.
In the image above you can see my 1 year old son moving popcorn kernels from one bowl to another using a VERY tiny ladle. He LOVED it and worked hard to a long time on the activity!
Sensory bins are a good place to practice scooping. For older toddlers you can provide a challenge by letting them scoop their items into a smaller area- like this activity that uses small spoons to scoop pom poms into individual sections of an ice cube tray.
To toddlers playing with blocks and stacking things is just the way they play, but stacking is a great fine motor activity that helps them develop their muscles and their brains.
You don’t have to stick just with blocks- there are a ton of things you can stack! Such as:
Basically anything that has 2 somewhat flat edges! Make it a contest to see how high you can build you towers!
Threading can be a difficult fine motor activity to master, but it is so worth it to keep practicing. Threading requires a lot of hand eye coordination that toddlers are still working on learning. Don’t limit yourself to large beads and yard- there are a lot of different threading activities out there, such as:
Cereal on Pipe Cleaners
Small beads on toothpicks (pictured above)
Pipe cleaners on a colander
Pasta on yarn (makes a fun necklace!)
Pieces of a pool noodle on chunky string or yarn.
Or how about this nature fine motor threading activity using sticks and leaves?
One of the best ways to get toddlers to gain pre-writing skills? Letting them write! Coloring in any form will help build those hand muscles and get them used to holding pencils correctly. Coloring pages, like these free Unicorn Cat Coloring pages, can be great for building fine motor skills.
But paper and crayons isn’t the only option!
Chalk on a small chalk baord
Dry erase markers and boards
A large cardboard box to sit in and color on (perfect to contain young toddlers who might color on the walls!
All of these and more are a lot of fun for toddlers!
Looking for More Toddler Activities? Check out these fine motor activities: