If your child is seeing therapists, it is important that you work on their skills in between therapy appointments, as this will help them make progress faster. My twins used to really struggle with fine motor issues and were seen regularly by an OT from ages 3-14. In order to help them improve this area, so that tasks like clothes fasteners could be accomplished, I came up with several fine motor home activities that they could do a few minutes each day. For me, the trick to home practice was making the activities simple, easily accessible, and as inexpensive as possible.
Below are some simple yet effective fine motor activities that are great for a homeschool or classroom setting–all supplies came from Walmart, Amazon, or Home Depot. These I’m sharing here today are the 10 that were our family’s favorites during our “OT” years. You can internet/pinterest search “fine motor activities at home” to find many more!
**Some fine motor activities involve small pieces, which can be a choking hazard, so if your child is under the age of three, or has a tendency to put things in their mouth (no matter their age), then use parental discretion and choose activities where all pieces are bigger.
10 Easy Fine Motor Activities you can do at Home
Clothespins: Have child put clothespins around the edge of a small box lid then take them back off when done. Great for strengthening fingers which can lead to improved independence with snaps when dressing.
Mini Travel lite brite: These are about $5 . The lite brite and pieces easily fit in a gallon size ziplock bag for easy storage. Great for fine motor dexterity and you can reinforce colors at the same time. Small pieces, so not appropriate for children under 3 or those who put things in their mouth.
Ice cream scoop: Have child squeeze the scoop 5-10 times each hand; try before handwriting exercises as a warmup.
Tongs (or chopsticks) and cotton balls: Have child pick up cotton balls with tongs (or chopsticks) one at a time. Move from one bowl to another.
Salad tong and ping pong balls: Have child move the ping pong balls (or small whiffle balls) from one container to another, using plastic salad/tong (must be spoon shaped on ends).
Playdough. Have child make birds nest with eggs. Or, using hands only, roll out snakes. If you want to add some aromatherapy to your playdough activity, here is a great recipe for aromatherapy playdough.
Coloring. Coloring is a fine go-to fine motor activity. Even now, our boys prefer the large diameter crayons when doing tasks that involve coloring. If you want to take your coloring fine motor work to the next level, have your child color with broken pieces of crayon which makes them work harder from a fine motor perspective. When no longer being used, broken crayons turn into a fun craft by melting them into crayon bars, or check out these other great crafts you can make with them!
Bubble Wrap. Popping bubble wrap is a fun way to improve finger strength.
Washers and Screws. A favorite of my boys. We got ours from Home Depot. I have a set of 10 large screws (2 inches long) and washers. You can have your child screw the washers on all the screws one setting; have them remove the washers another. Again, small parts, so use parental discretion.
Blocks/Legos. My boys were never able to do lego tasks without getting frustrated, (although they are a great fine motor activity and for many kids, provide high motivation.) Instead, we built towers with the large DUPLO blocks . We also stacked blocked and made towers, towns and more using this great set of wooden blocks . (We ended up getting two sets of these and years later, they are still played with by their youngest sibling).
TIP: Depending on your child’s needs, many fine motor activities can be used as independent work while you are helping another child with academics.