Toddler Fine Motor Activities

These toddler fine motor activities are for those days when your little one is ready for a little more, but some of them are such fun they will ask for them over and over. Developing toddler's fine motor abilities is easy for a mom at home. There are so many day to day things that they can do together. 

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Spray bottle
Fill an empty spray bottle with water. Show your toddler how to spray out a mist with their index finger in the lever.

Sponges
On a warm day give your toddler a bowl of water with a variety of sponges in it. Show them how to squeeze the water out of the sponge with their fingers. This is one of the easiest fun toddler fine motor activities.

Lacing Shapes
Cut out some basic shapes from thick card, footprints, cat face etc. Punch holes around the edge about 2cm apart. Give your toddler a plastic blunt needle threaded with wool and let them lace the edges fo the cut out.

Puzzles
Puzzles with big pieces are great for your toddler to do. Choose 4, 6 and 8 piece packs that have large pieces. Make sure your toddler can sit comfortable and that your surfaces even. Choose puzzles that are relevant to your toddler’s interests. When these have been mastered choose packs that contain 12, 18 and 24 pieces.

Encourage your toddler to look for the straight edges first. They may be impatient and you need to be patient with them, but finding the straight edge is also a visual discriminatory process which is valuable. Puzzle building should continue through all of your child's young years as it is a great fine motor activity.

Cutting/Tearing Activities
The following ideas can be used, remember though that your attention span is much longer than a toddlers!

  • Give your toddler coloured paper to tear or cut with safety scissors in strips.
  • Give them big clear outlined pictures to cut out

    Choose a theme and cut out pictures from magazines together and stick them onto card as a collage

    Key game
    If you have a handy man in your family ask them if they can make you a series of little doors mounted onto a frame with differing latches and keys for your toddler to open and close. We used to have this activity at a moms and tots group and it was valuable for small wrist movements.

    Lids on containers
    Save your empty, washed plastic containers and lids. Keep these in a box where your toddler can match lids and containers and learn to screw them on and off.

    Pegs
    One of the great toddler fine motor activities! Take a medium square of hard corrugated cardboard (from and old box) and a few wooden pegs. Make sure they are the ones that your toddler can squeeze together on one end so the other opens. Show them how to peg them on and off the edge of the cardboard.

    Spaghetti
    Take an empty spice shaker and fill it with a few pieces of uncooked lengths of spaghetti. Show your toddler how to unscrew the top, remove the spaghetti, replace the lid and then place the spaghetti back in the bottle through the holes in the lid.NOTE Once my one child tried to eat a piece of dry spaghetti and it got stuck in her throat. With a little coughing and some water it was dislodges quite easily, but do be aware of this if you see your toddler putting some in their mouth.

    Playdough
    Playdough is such a wonderful tactile activity for toddlers. In the beginning some may like to try to eat it, and while this is not ideal, small amount will not harm them. Purchase some cookie cutters, a small rolling pin and add some plastic non-serrated knives and your toddler is set for a whole lot of fun. Some children's toys stores also sell playdough syringes that you can fill with playdough and squeeze out the other side. This does take a fair amount of muscle power but by 2.5 years your toddler will master it.


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