Fine Motor Activities for kindergarten
Fine motor skills are all about using those little muscles in your hand, fingers, thumb, and wrist to do things like getting dressed, eating, writing, coloring, playing sports, playing musical instruments, and flipping through books. Basically, they help you do all the fun stuff and important tasks in life!
Early childhood learners need to keep practicing those super important fine motor skills to improve hand strength. That’s why having a variety of fine motor skills activities in and out of the classroom setting is so important. The more t students practice, the stronger their muscles get. This typically transfers to those important skills like drawing and writing. So, let’s give ’em lots of fun activities to flex those finger muscles!
This blog post is filled with simple ideas you can incorporate right away. The best part, there is a free PDF file for you to download as well.
Why do we work on fine motor skills in kindergarten?
Studies show that fine motor skills directly correlate with literacy and math development. One of the most important reasons we want students to strengthen their small muscles is so they can learn to write. A kindergarten classroom is a perfect place to work on fine motor development, especially during the first few months!
Here are 15 simple activities and ideas for fine motor skills development.
Fine Motor Activity #1: Pom Poms Sorting
Sorting pom-poms with jumbo tweezers makes an amazing fine motor activity! Kindergarten friends will have so much fun sorting the poms-poms into colored cups. If you don’t have these jumbo tweezers, you can use tongs. This makes a great color recognition task, too!
In your fine motor centers, you could add numbers to an ice cube tray or egg carton and students can add other small items to match the numeral. Young children will love these fine motor skills activities all year long by adjusting the focused skills.
Fine Motor Activity #2: Tracing
Tracing takes fine motor control. This simple activity is perfect for little hands. Students spin the spinner and then trace the matching line on their worksheet.
You can add some scented markers to make it more of a sensory play activity. Additionally, this is a great eye-hand coordination activity.
Fine Motor Activity #3: Playdough Activities
As educators, we all know that play dough is a tried and true activity for building fine motor skills. By simply squeezing, squishing, and rolling the dough, students are strengthening the hand muscles that will come in handy later when it’s time to write, color, cut, and perform various other tasks.
Plus, it’s always a delight to watch the little ones twist, mold, and create all sorts of shapes and designs with their play dough creations!
The play dough mats can be found in this bundle:
There is also a set of themed play dough mats. You can check it out here:
Fine Motor Activity #4: Digital Fine Motor Activities
You can use classroom devices to work on fine motor skills all while developing academic skills, too!
Students use Seesaw to complete these digital fine motor activities. Here is the ELA and math kindergarten bundle:
Fine Motor Activity #5: Clothes Pin Activities
Children work on their small hand muscles and pincer grasp while using clothes pins. Little fingers can practice a variety of literacy and math skills all while improving fine motor development.
These Clip-It literacy cards are a great way to practice letter recognition. You can find a whole supply of clothes pins at a dollar store. You can also use paper clips!
There are other literacy skills included in the bundle. Check it out here:
Fine Motor Activity #6: Pattern Blocks
Putting pattern blocks together to create something takes some hand-eye coordination. These blocks are fairly common school supplies and little kids in kindergarten love building their names out of the different shapes.
Fine Motor Activity #7: Threading Beads
A classic way of strengthening those little muscles. Put out some beads and pipe cleaners and you have a fun activity for your little learners! This is a great option to have during free play. This is another way to help strengthen the pincer grip as well.
Fine Motor Activity #8: Puzzles
Putting puzzles together is great fine motor work. These puzzle pieces make up the letters of the alphabet.
These puzzles are great for visual perception practice. Basically, it’s how our brains make sense of what our eyes see. But wait, don’t confuse visual perception with visual acuity (you know, the whole 20/20 vision thing). Even if someone can see things clearly, they might still struggle with processing what they see. So, as we help our students grow and learn, let’s keep in mind the importance of supporting their visual perception skills too!
Fine Motor Activity #9: Lacing Cards
These lacing cards are another great way to incorporate fine motor development into your day. Add these activities to a center, early finisher tub, or busy bags!
This is also a great fine motor practice activity for bilateral coordination.
What is bilateral coordination?
When we perform coordinated bilateral movements, such as reaching across our body to grab an object, we engage different areas of our brain responsible for sensing and controlling movement on both sides of our body. This includes the left and right hemispheres of our brain, as well as the corpus callosum and cerebellum, which help these regions work together. Together, these areas of the brain enable us to produce the complex bilateral movements that are a fundamental part of our daily lives.
Good news, you can snag this free file at the end of the blog post!
Fine Motor Activity #10: Q-Tip Painting
Add some paint to a paper plate and let your littles get in some more name practice! Students use the cotton swab to color in the small circles that make up the letters of their names.
Fine Motor Activity #11: Linking Cubes
These linking cube-building cards from Deanna Jump are a fun way to develop fine motor strength! This is an easy fine motor activity to add to your morning bins or early finish tasks.
Fine Motor Activity #12: Geoboards
In kindergarten, geoboards are so cool! They love them!! Manipulating the rubber bands to make different designs is a great fine motor activity.
Fine Motor Activity #13: Word Building
Use word-building cubes in a literacy center to practice making words. Snapping cubes together to make the word is a great activity for your word work center. These cubes are also an easy way for students to practice sight words. Simply write the words you want students to practice on a piece of paper and add it to the activity bin.
Fine Motor Activity #14: Paper Cutting Center
Of course, we work on developing our scissor skills in kindergarten. Cutting takes a lot of practice! We practice cutting while making crafts and various other activities. One idea for scissor practice is to add all of your recycled papers, construction paper, and index cards to a tub. Then let students cut out designs or zig-zag lines… really anything to build finger strength.
Other Easy Fine Motor Activities for Scissors
Here are a few additional activities for the early years:
- snip straws then string them together to make a necklace
- place dot stickers along the path you want a student to cut. Have your kindergarten students cut the stickers in half. Students can practice cutting straight lines, curved lines, and even turn a corner while cutting.
Students can also use hole punches and this center. Your students will love it, but your custodian might not be as thrilled when he sees the floor.
Fine Motor Activity #15: Blocks
Building with blocks provides a great opportunity for fine motor practice for young kids! Building towers with blocks is a great way for children to exercise and improve their fine motor skills. As they stack and balance the blocks, they hone in on their hand-eye coordination, grip strength, and dexterity. But, that’s not all – there are a plethora of other benefits to playing with blocks as well! From improving spatial awareness to encouraging creativity and pretend play, the list of advantages is long and impressive. And the best part is, all of these developmental areas can be targeted with a simple set of building blocks.
Kindergarten teachers, rejoice! There is a ton of exciting and interactive fine motor fun that can help your little ones develop and fortify those important small muscles in their hands. Why not mix things up by rotating some of these activities during station time? Not only will it keep things fresh and engaging, but you’ll also be able to witness firsthand how play and learning go hand in hand.
Looking for more kindergarten activities?
Here are a few blog articles you may be interested in.
- Fun Kindergarten Brain Breaks (Free File)
- 10 Simple Literacy Stations That Will Last You ALL YEAR (Free File)!
- 15 Kindergarten Math Centers That Will Engage Your Class ALL Year! (Free File)
- 10 CVC Word Games to Play in Kindergarten and First Grade Plus a Free CVC Center Activity!
- 24 Fun and Engaging Sight Word Games and Activities for Kindergarten