ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Play to Learn: Fine Motor Fun Part 2

Monday, April 26, 2010

Play to Learn: Fine Motor Fun Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our Fine Motor Fun series here at Play to Learn! We’re continuing on with our fine muscle building games to help your little guys gain better control of their fine muscles which will aid greatly when they begin more complex skills such as handwriting!

Glass Beads:

I found this bag of gems at Michael’s. We use them for everything from color sorting, to counters for our Letter of the Week games! Balancing them on the Popsicle sticks takes great control!

Small Spaces!
This idea came from Carisa at 1+1+1 and I have to say it’s been a winner in our house for everyone. It’s great for fine motor coordination and one-to-one correspondence as well! This was an old plastic jar I had, and I used a nail to punch holes in the top.

Blokus Game:
This game is easy enough that everyone can play, even our preschooler. Each player gets a different color, the goal is to get as many of your pieces on the board as possible. The trick is they can only be touching by their corners.
Variation: My preschooler likes to play alone, she sorts all the colors on the board and her goal is to get all the pieces on. Its great for logic / puzzle solving skills, color sorting, and all the while working those tiny hand muscles by picking up small pieces and fit them into their little spots on the board!

Everyone loves these! They’re great for logic, patterns, shapes and puzzle making. It also takes some dexterity to place each shape on the board without disturbing the others.
I also made pattern cards for use with these blocks, click the image to download a copy, there are 8 patterns plus a spot to make your own fun pattern!

Sorting with Spoons:
This game practices counting while at the same time working on fine motor coordination. The goal is to use the small measuring spoons to carefully scoop up and pour out the correct number of beans into each bowl based on the number inside. Variation: You could also use tweezers with the beans, pom-poms, or beads.

Poking Holes:
I found this fun idea on Activity Mom. We either use a toothpick, or we have these cute Oversized Push Pins (note: they are sharp), to poke holes through the paper in the shape of the letter. Print on regular paper for easier poking, and do this one on carpet! There is a printable for each letter on my blog.

I found these large sized buttons at Oriental Trading. We use them for all sorts of things, lacing, shape sorting, color sorting, patterning and as counting manipulatives!

This was a super easy felt project, click the title for more info and instructions! You could easily switch this up so it’s not a Thanksgiving theme. Simply sew buttons onto a felt shape and provide a selection of extra felt pieces with slits cut in them to button. Click here to download the turkey template!
Variation: Sew different height green stems onto a sheet of felt with buttons on top of each one, then cut extra pieces in flower shapes with a slit in the center. You can also add buttons, snaps, zippers, and hooks to a piece of felt covered cardboard to make a great fine motor skills learning center!

This activity was excellent, they are ‘sticker by number’ work boards that work several skills at once! You have to look at the color key, look at the number on the board, then pick off the correct colored tiny square foam stickers and place them on the cards provided. The end results are beautiful mosaics!

A less expensive variation of these can be found for $1 at Michael’s in the craft section. They are VERY sticky and my 4 yr old got a little frustrated with this, but my 7 year old loved it.
The Orb Factory has a bunch to choose from, though they’re a bit more expensive. The more pricey ones are done using color-by-number association. They take some good muscle control to pick off each little foam tile and place it on the correct number on the board. These $1 Michael’s ones don’t have numbers, they are just free to decorate as they like. We’ve done both, and my kids love them.

These are fun little beads that ‘snap’ together! This is a “Parents” toy I found at Target and I’m always happy with their products. We use these to make necklaces, bracelets, patterns, sort by color/shape/size etc. They’re great for fine-motor muscle control, plus they’re super fun!

Those are just some of many ideas for fine motor skill fun.
If you have more ideas to share, or would like to be included in future “Play To Learn” posts, please email me at homeschoolerconfessions {at} gmail {dot} com, we’d love to hear from you!


  1. Great collection of ideas. My son's fine motor skills are significantly delayed, and I'm always looking for new ideas to challenge him.

  2. I like the idea of poking holes on the paper letter using toothpicks! Thanks!

  3. I love the sorting mats with the large lacing buttons. I have the buttons already but can the mats be downloaded somewhere?

  4. I have the same question as Christie... Are the sorting mats somewhere to be downloaded? Great ideas!!

  5. I love the glass stones that you found. I've been keeping an eye out for a colorful assortment like that, but I've only been able to find single (and drab!) colors without hitting up an actual craft store. I think I will have to bite the bullet and try michael's or craft warehouse. I love how you sorted and balanced them on the craft sticks!