HomeBrowse by agesNewborn + Baby + Toddler + Preschooler
Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are made up of small movements that play a big role in your child’s development.

Baby boy eating soup wearing green bib

Fine motor skills involve small, precise movements of the thumb, finger, hand, and wrist.

Examples of fine motor skills include picking up cereal with a thumb and index finger, shaking a rattle, drawing circles with a crayon, turning the pages of a book, zipping up a jacket, and stacking blocks. All of these skills are based on connections between your child’s muscles and brain – and building these connections takes exposure and practice.

Here are some ideas to help strengthen your child's fine motor skills:

  • Encourage your child to draw and paint by pulling out big sheets of paper along with washable crayons, finger paints, and paint brushes. You can also use chunky sidewalk chalk outdoors or washable soap crayons in the tub.

  • Provide your child with toys and materials that can be pushed, pulled, and stacked. Nesting toys, puzzles, and playdough are a few examples.

  • Offer your toddler a spoon  to use when eating.

  • Give your child play items that can be poured, scooped, and squeezed. Empty plastic yogurt containers can transform into perfect bath or sand toys.

  • Let your child turn the pages of a book while you read together.

  • Let your toddler try dressing himself or help you with the process, such as looping large buttons through buttonholes.

  • Give your child a piece of yarn or string to loop cereal through. This makes a fun craft project.

“My son loves to find objects I hide in the sandbox for him. He uses his fingers to pull things out. It used to get him frustrated, but now he loves it!”
KellyMom of a 3 year-old

First 5 California
Contributed by:
First 5 California
Find this useful?
Join our First 5 family – it’s free!
Enjoy personalized content based on your child’s age every time you visit our site.