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  • Sarina Shirazee

Fine motor skills


Fine motor skills are those which involve the smaller muscles in the hands, for example, to hold a pencil, use scissors, build blocks, do zips and buttons, or use cutlery. Without adequate fine motor skills, a child may struggle to gain independence in their self-care skills such as feeding and dressing, their academic performance may suffer due to difficulty with drawing, colouring, writing and cutting, and their play options may be limited, which can affect their social participation and interactions.⠀

How can you tell if a toddler/child has difficulty with fine motor skills?

• Prefers physical, gross motor activities⠀

• Tires easily with fine motor activities⠀

• Frequently swaps between using left and right hand, rather than using dominant hand consistently (dominance should emerge from 2 years of age)⠀

• Difficulty manipulating items within one hand⠀

• Avoids or is disinterested in arts, crafts, pencil or scissor activities⠀

• Awkward pencil or scissor grasp⠀

• Waits for parents to dress them or feed them rather than trying themselves⠀

• Difficulty using a spoon or fork/messy eater⠀

Here are some great activities that encourage the development of fine motor skills:⠀


• Threading (e.g. beads or pasta onto string, or threading through holes in paper)⠀

• Pipe cleaner construction⠀

• Play dough/theraputty⠀

• Paper tearing and scrunching⠀

• Puzzles⠀

• Piggy bank with coins⠀

• Card games⠀

• Picking up items with tweezers or tongs⠀

• Nuts & bolts⠀

• Unlocking padlocks with keys⠀

• Dressing dolls⠀

• Building blocks⠀

• Construction games such as Lego⠀

• Mazes and tracing activities⠀

• Finger puppets⠀

• Squeezing clothes pegs⠀

• Popping bubbles⠀

• Popping bubble wrap⠀

• Hammer and nail activities⠀

• Dot painting with cotton buds⠀

• Peeling stickers⠀

• Hole punch crafts

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