10 Ways to Develop Your Toddler’s Fine Motor Skills


Recent research shows that promoting fine motor skills—the hand skills used to zip zippers and brush teeth—may be even more important for toddlers than promoting cognitive activities (like memorization). In fact, children who learn fine motor skills early are more likely to excel in school.


How do you help develop these important physical skills? The answer is simple: Provide your child with many opportunities to be creative with their hands! Here are just a few things you can do with your toddler to build fine motor skills:


Create a masterpiece

Most kids are able to make a mark by 15 months and a scribble by age 2. Use crayons, washable markers, chalk and paint often to help build those tiny muscles in your toddler’s hands (finger painting counts, too!).


Form a 3-D object

Use play-dough or clay to form simple objects and shapes. In addition to building fine motor skills, this also aids in cognitive development.


Cut shapes

With your help, have your toddler cut out shapes with safety scissors. Make paper dolls or snowflakes, or cut pieces of craft foam into fun shapes to stick to the side of the bath tub.


Build a block tower

Encourage your child to play with blocks of all kinds, including magnetic blocks, Legos, Tinker Toys, and foam blocks. This type of sorting and stacking stimulates the brain as well as the hands.


Complete a puzzle

It takes a good amount of fine motor control to pick up puzzle pieces and place them into the correct position. Have lots of puzzles of varying size and difficulty within grabbing distance of your toddler.


Use a sand and water table

Bury toys in the sand for your kid to find. Or, just let your child explore and experiment with the sand, water and toys (like at a beach).


Play a musical instrument

Playing instruments like the drums, maracas and recorders involve many fine motor movements. Not to mention it’s lots of fun for your toddler!


Squeeze sponges

A simple way to engage fine motor hand activity is to have your toddler wet a sponge in one glass and then squeeze it into another. Repeating this activity increases a toddler’s dexterity and helps teach the concept of empty vs. full.


Get dressed

Toddlers can practice many fine motor skills just by getting dressed for the day. Have your toddler help specifically with small objects like buttons, zippers and bows.


Make an activity table

Glue everyday objects of different sizes and textures to a wood board and have your toddler explore with their hands. Include buttons, zippers, and items they can open and close.


Looking for more fun play activities to build your toddler’s fine motor skills? Check out Gogabo’s many hands-on classes in art, music and education today!

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