5 fun ways to build motor skills for toddlers

Read Time ~ 3mins

Any activity, organized or unstructured, your child finds fun and enjoyable is considered play. But play is much more than just a fun activity for your child! While playing, children learn and develop important fine motor skills (alongside many others) which they will continue to use throughout their lifetime. 

To develop motor skills, toddlers need strong muscles in their hands and wrists. Here are ideas for activities that can help them build the muscles needed for fine motor skills.  

1. Play-dough Mania

Child playing with play dough

Play-dough has been a childhood favorite for decades. Not only is it downright fun, but handling play-dough also develops some important skills. Squeezing and stretching it helps strengthen finger muscles, and touching it is a valuable sensory experience.


2. Finger Painting

Child doing finger painting

Using finger paint can strengthen your child’s hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. All you need is an easel or a thick piece of paper, some finger paints and a space—like the yard or garage—where your child can get messy.


3. Spongey Fun

Child playing with water

Set up two separate bowls, one filled with water and the other empty. Give your child a sponge and have her soak it in one bowl. Then have her squeeze the water out of the sponge into the other bowl. She can transfer water back and forth between bowls, too. This simple game can strengthen hands and forearms. It’s especially fun if you throw in some bubbles or some food dye.


4. Bathroom Murals

Sponge Cut-outs

Show your child how to safely cut thin pieces of craft foam into whatever shapes she wants. Then she can use them to create murals during her bath. Simply wet them so they stick to the wall or to the side of the tub. It’s a fun way to improve cutting skills and manual dexterity.


5. Pasta Necklaces

Boy stringing macaroni necklace

Stringing together necklaces is a great way for your child to be creative while working on her hand-eye coordination and developing her ability to manipulate objects. To start, give her thick string and big beads or large pieces of dry pasta. Over time, she can work on more complex designs using smaller pieces.

EduBox has more playtime inspirations for other developmental skills, so do check the resource page for them!

Unsure of where to start?

If you are unsure of where to start to help your child with the different areas of development use this free assessment kit on 'Discover Play Patterns' to kick things off for you!

This assessment kit can help you

  • Uncover the play pattern of your child for different areas of development
          (i.e. Speech, Cognitive, Fine Motor, Gross Motor, etc.)

  •  Identify specific tools that can help your child with all areas of development based on
           identified play pattern.

  • Tips on how to work with your child

Sounds good? Hit the button below to download the kit!

Uncover Play patterns

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