Fine Motor Skill Activities for 2-4 Year Olds

I frequently get questions from parents who wonder just what to do and where to start with their preschoolers.  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.


Sorting Pom-Poms into Colors: My kids did this sometimes with their fingers, sometimes with tweezers. 🙂

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 activity. 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:


Poking activity:

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.


“Putting Things In…” Hand-Eye Coordination:

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.

Toothpick-Play Sewing:

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.

Sewing-for-TotsManipulating Buttons:

The stem is sewed on with a button on the top. Flowers have a slit.

Button-Activity-FlowersPerler 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!)

Hammer-ActivityMany of these activities are inspired by the Montessori method. You may want to visit Deb’s wonderful website, Living Montessori Now, which inspire you with hundreds of activities to keep your toddler and preschooler engaged!

Other related posts you might be interested in:


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.

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page.  And, don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. ~Liesl

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