Preschool at Home: Activities You Can Do with Your 2-4 Year Olds (Fine Motor Skills)
I frequently get questions from parents who wonder just what to do and where to start with their preschoolers. I thought I would spend a few posts sharing some of the things I’ve done with my kids along the way.
Many of the things we did are things most parents do naturally in their home: free play with toys, time exploring and playing outside, dancing to music, reading books aloud to the kids. But as a Mom who stayed at home, I was always looking for different activities and approaches to spice up and add variety to our day.
This week I thought I would share some activities we did to help the kids with their fine motor skills:
Tongs and Tweezers:
Using tongs and tweezers helps develop the muscles in kids hands. It requires the kids to concentrate and strengthen the muscles in their hands.
In the picture below, I set out some wooden marbles and a bathroom suction decor with the cups facing up.
For the tweezer activity, i placed a sticker of different colors around the plate. My daughter had to sort the pom-pom into different sections.
Cutting and Gluing:
Depending on the age of my kids, sometimes I had this out all the time and sometimes I just brought it out under supervision. (Yes, I had the daughter who cut part of her hair VERY VERY short when she was three! Keep that in mind!) Anyway, when the kids were tots, I put colored strips of construction paper and scissors out. I often had a glue stick and paper for them to glue afterwards if there was any interest. As the kids go older, I made the cutting a bit more challenging like the “snake” you see below. If you go online you can find lots of print-outs with zig-zags or wavy lines to cut along. I always just took a marker and made my own on colorful construction paper.
Here’s another take on the cutting unit. When we did a bird unit, I set out these paper feathers and had the kids make fine cuts to make it look like individual strands of the feather. You could do the same for making “grass” as the bottom of a simple picture:
This activity is easy to set up. Just put dots in different shapes, letters, or numbers on construction paper. Give the child something to poke with — either a skewer with a rubber band as I did or with an over-sized push-pin.
There are so many variations on this activity. Anything where the little ones have carefully put something into something else is great for eye-hand coordination. In this particular post, the girls spent time putting craft matchsticks into styrofoam. I had an old spice jar that was full of craftsticks in the homeschool area for years! If your child is a little too young for this, you can use clothes pins into a soda bottle.
For this activity I had a huge embroidery needle and embroidery thread on hand with these plastic canvas shapes. This is another great activity for hand-eye coordination. This is an activity that I had to do with the kids until they were at least 5 because it was pretty difficult to get the hang of putting the needle through the top and then up through the bottom and so forth.
You can find plastic canvas shapes like these at craft stores like Jo-Anne for less than $2.00.
The stem is sewed on with a button on the top. Flowers have a slit.
Perler Beads: My kids started doing Perler Bead designs around the age of three and continued to do these regularly until they were about five. It’s fabulous for small motor skills. This is the link to the animal set Pet Parade Value Gift Box (affiliate link) but you’ll find lots of designs to choose from (stars, lizards, shapes, rainbows, etc.)
Hammering Activity (my kids adored this-it had shapes and small thumb tacks that they hammered into a felt board). There’s a similar hammering shape set here at Amazon (affiliate link). There is another set by HABA Geo Shape Tack Zap (affiliate link) but it is quite a bit more expensive and this set worked fine for our family (through use by all three kids!)
You can also do various activities with clothes pins that help strengthen their pincher grasp. I set this activity out pretty regularly when the kids were little. They had to match the clothes pin with the same color muffin cup:
Kids can do similar clothes pin math (or letter) activities, placing the clothes pin on the correct answer. The activities below are from our Dinosaur Packet:
Dinosaur Packet for Ages 3-7
Dinosaur Packet: Don’t miss our 60+ Page Dinosaur Packet. It includes
- Montessori 3-Part Dinosaur Cards (15 dinosaurs)
- Dinosaur Lapbook
- Letter Recognition Activities
- Number Activities and Games
- Dinosaur Game Board
- Coloring Pages
- Herbivores vs. Carnivore Sorting Activity
- Fast Fact Information Cards
- Dinosaur Writing Cards
- Bingo Cards and more!
Other related posts you might be interested in:
- Preschool at Home: Learning Letters
- Preschool at Home: Alphabet Activities
- Preschool at Home: Felt Board Play, Make your Own Felt Board
- Preschool at Home: Handwriting
- Preschool at Home: Science for 2-4 Year Olds
- Preschool Montessori: Vertebrate and Invertebrate Study and Free Cards
- Preschool at Home: A Few Math Ideas for the 2 1/2-3 year old crowd
- Preschool Math Activities (K4) Montessori Math and More
- Free Math Lapbook (PreK-K)
- Preschool at Home: Lapbooks
- You might also be interested in the post: Homeschool Preschool Year in Review which was a recap of many of our preschool activities this past year.
- Preschool Geography: Activities for learning about where we live in the world, Montessori world map work and more
- Preschool Geography: Maps and More
- The Seven Continents and World Landmarks
- If your child knows their letter sounds, they may be ready to learn to read. Visit this post, Teach Your Child to Read Activities, for fun ideas that help your child learn to read!
- Rainforest Plants (from around the world)
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this oost are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.