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  • Writer's pictureTara O'Brien

Fine Motor Development: How to Help your Child at Home

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

Have you ever tried writing with a broken pencil in your weaker hand? That's what its like for most young children when they practice writing for the first time using a pincer grip. Early Years teachers use a variety of strategies and activities to develop hand and finger strength, as well as coordination and control, for their students' fine motor development. Fine motor development refers to strength, balance, and control with small movements. Fine motor development is a crucial component in learning how to draw and write. While it's only one aspects of writing, its well worth focusing on at school and at home.

Here are five inexpensive and easy activities appropriate for 3-6 year old children that will develop their fine motor development at home.

Drawing and Painting Drawing and painting develop a child's fine motor development.

However, there are a multitude of other activities that do the job as well!

Playdough Playdough can be purchased or cheaply made at home. There is no need to go out and buy an expensive set. Put out utensils, little cups, or even pasta for your child to play with using the playdough. When using playdough your child squeezes, molds, and manipulates using small finger and hand movements. Playdough play is a great way to strengthen muscles and develop control.

Tweezer Play

Do you have a pair of tweezers at home? Put out tweezers and colorful pompoms, and some cups or bowls. Pompoms are inexpensive and can be purchased at craft stores. Young children will spend time moving and sorting the pompoms, using the tweezers to squeeze the pompoms while developing strength in their fingers. Take it a step further and write numbers on pieces of paper. Ask your child to use the tweezers to pick up and move the corresponding number of pompoms.


Beads and string are available at hobby stores, but there is no need to go out and spend money on expensive beads. Pick up a bag of large sized noodles at the grocery store and some thick yarn or pipe cleaners. As a suggestion, you can paint the noodles different colors using a zip-lock bag. Simply put the noodles into a zip-lock bag, pour in some liquid water-based paint, close the bag and shake, and pour out the noodles onto a baking sheet to dry. The baking sheet will stop the drying noodles from sticking. As another tip, look for yarn that won't unwind and come apart. You can always add a bit of tape on the end of the yarn to keep it from fraying. Young children enjoy making necklaces and bracelets a will likely work on their patterning as well.

Construction Depending on the age of your child, take out the Duplo or Lego. Construction is hands-on, creative, and exciting for young children. It also develops their fine motor skills! If you don't have Lego or Duplo, not to worry! Do you have recycling at home? Put out old cardboard boxes, yogurt pots, and egg cartoons and give your child some masking tape.

This isn't an exhaustive list and their are countless other activities that I could list. Any activity that involves small and controlled movements will benefit your child in their fine motor development.

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