Promoting Fine Motor Skills

We do a lot of activities aimed at promoting the children’s fine motor skills. All of the activities below also help to develop concentration and curiosity. They are open ended, which means that there is no right or wrong way, enabling the children to experiment and gain self-confidence.


Moon Sand

This time we added spades, scoops and the set of stacking cups. It is quite tricky getting the moon sand into the cups when you are 1 year old; a bit easier when you are 3. Definitely easier to use your hands at either age! However, F (15m) in particular showed a lot of determination in his will to succeed in using the spade.




To begin with, we used coloured matchsticks – which I find are always a big hit.


Then we moved onto the Mr. Potato Head pieces, which we hadn’t done for a while. N (19m) set off on a mission to insert every single body part into his dough “potato”. Inevitably, they added matchsticks as well, which to me looked a bit like hair (who knows what it looked like in the boys’ blossoming imaginations – but that’s what it’s all about). We had some great creations and all 3 boys had a great time.



Shoeboxes with holes, straws, cocktail stirrers and pipe cleaners

This activity was a great hit with F (15m) although he desperately wanted to insert the straws etc. all the way through the holes into the box. The cocktail stirrers, being the most rigid, were the easiest to insert – once he got the hang of which way round they went. The bendy straws proved a bit tricky if inserted mouth-end first because if he missed the hole, the hinged part bent upon impact with the box. And if he pushed the pipe cleaners down, they bent and disappeared all the way into the box, a result with which he was very satisfied.

Next week we’re going to use coloured matchsticks for posting and introduce the steamer and colander to further extend the activity. I can see this one lasting for weeks!


Milk Bottle Tops and a Gravy Granules Canister

Following on from the success of the above activity, I made another simple posting toy by raiding my junk modelling box! This kept J (15m) busy for some time. To begin with, he posted all of the milk bottle tops into the canister. This took a while as the bottle tops were quite a snug fit for the slot. I then demonstrated how the lid came off and then fixed it back on again and handed it to J. He struggled for a short while before the lid came off and the bottle tops spilled over the carpet. He was slightly surprised and immensely pleased with himself – and promptly set about trying to fix the lid back on, which proved trickier! There was much filling and emptying as well as shaking, which produced a nice rattling noise, and general exploration of the bottle tops.


When we’ve got through some more gravy, I’m going to make some more of these posting canisters and cover each one with a different colour to match the bottle tops: red, orange, green and blue. This will hopefully encourage sorting according to colour and provide further entertainment for the children.


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