There is much talk about fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, and dexterity when it comes to development. However, I found that as a mother of a much younger child, most of the activities were not suitable for her. Even with hawk eyes, little tiny pieces are way too easy to get swallowed. Here’s a list of some quick activities I put together for my young toddler that I have been using for several months now.
2. Condiment Cup Play. I have mentioned buying these before and this really is one of the most versatile and wonderful homeschool purchases. In this instance, they can be used for sorting cups with large nuts, they can be stacked very precisely on each other, and they can be stacked inside each other. I have a couple of different sizes and use them for everything. (She likes making music with them).
3. A Personal Baby Wallet. My daughter has a wallet that I have given her that is filled with “junk cards”. It takes a fine pincer grasp to get the cards out of the wallet. The specific one that I chose for her to play with also has a zipper and a snap. Those in themselves also take some hand-eye coordination to use.
4. Traditional Shape Sorter – This is a favorite in our house. Our daughter loves matches the shapes on the sorter and pushing them through. The best part is that it’s not just “that easy”; she has to get the right orientation to get them to fall through the hole.
5. Traditional Ring Stacker – Even if your child is too young to get the rings on in order, it’s a great activity for dexterity and hand eye coordination.
6. Q-tip & Sterilite Ultra Basket – The Ultra Baskets by sterilite have the perfect size holes to push Q-Tips through. To be honest, this little game came to me as I was using the bathroom and my child waddled in, destroyed the q-tip container and lo and behold there was an ultra basket behind her! So I took her love of q-tips and made it into a game.
7. Peg Games – This can be a homemade board with dowel rod pegs, a pound bench, or more sophisticated peg games. This is great for the child to place a (moving) peg in a (stationary) hole. PLAN toys even has one listed on amazon and they are a company that I really like.
8. ViewTainer – These are such great little learning devices. The child has to learn to get it open to get items both in an out. They have to either squeeze them or stick something (like a peg or clothes pin) through the slit to get them to work. (these are also great for food, like cheerios and the like).
9. Use spare toy pieces. I found both an old pound bench and an old stacker game that were missing lots of pieces. I salvaged them for parts and made a whole new game! It’s one thing to be able to put a peg in a hole that is stationary, but to be able to do the same task while the child is moving both parts is a bit more tricky.
10. Peg Puzzles – While I love knob and chunky puzzles, they have their place just like peg puzzles do. Some days I will only offer a certain type of puzzle just to make sure that she is working on both fine and gross motor and not just favoring an activity.
While there are other great activities, these are the ones that keep my daughter entertained the longest and are the easiest in a pinch when she needs a new activity!
Find more ideas about gross and fine motor skills for babies and toddlers by visiting the posts below.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!