Fine motor activity requires children to use the small muscles of their hands, fingers and thumbs. Fine motor skills - which begin to form at a very young age and get better with practice - help kids gain independence with activities of daily life such as feeding and writing. The ability to accomplish these tasks by using fine motor skills help build children's self-confidence and self-esteem. This is why it is so important to include fine motor skills in your toddler's routine.
While many fine and gross motor activities are included in the Montessori practical life curriculum, it is important to know that you don't need to wait until your child is old enough to use a curriculum to integrate fine motor activities into your daily routine.
Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers
That’s why today I’m sharing some of my favorite Montessori-aligned fine motor activities for toddlers! As is often the case with Montessori-aligned toys, these recommendations also come with many other benefits to their learning, including introducing basic math concepts and building additional skills.
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Fine Motor Toys for Toddlers
With Learning Resources Mental Blox Critical Thinking Game, your toddler can stack, pattern, and match the multicolor shapes. This game allows them to practice following verbal instructions, build critical thinking skills, and of course - practice their fine motor skills!
You can’t go wrong with Playdoh! An always popular toddler pass time, the opportunities for fun and learning are limitless with Playdoh. And, it’s an incredible multisensory activity that helps to prepare the hand muscles for writing.
This Melissa & Doug Scissor Skills Activity Book is a paper-cutting project book with 20 pre-printed activity pages, and it includes child safety scissors! This activity book allows children to practice different skills and techniques when cutting, and can be used by both right and left handed children.
Another Melissa and Doug favorite is this wooden fruit cutting set. Not only is it great for introducing the concepts of whole vs part in math, but your toddler is sure to have fun “slicing” the fruits apart and sticking back together over and over again. This was a personal favorite of both of my kids when they were toddlers. It was incredibly well-loved in our home!
I love this jumbo eyedropper set because it’s great for any aged toddler. Younger toddlers will enjoy simply exploring how this dropper set works while older toddlers can explore the properties of water, cause and effect, and more. This is a great set that allows for fun while building fine motor skills! For a toddler that is highly interested in the ocean and ocean animals, print and laminate matching cards for them to use alongside this fun tool.
This set is great for older toddlers and perfect for your sensory bin! They’re sure to love playing with the water beads and playing with the sea animals as they “swim” about. Your toddler can practice their fine motor skills with the beads themselves, the animals, and with bonus tools, such as spoons or tongs.
Another family favorite, this set includes 60 fruit counters (10 fruit shapes in 5 different colors), a plastic pie plate, 2 jumbo tweezers, and an activity guide. Not only is this a great toy for hand-eye coordination, but they can work on their problem-solving skills as they compare, contrast, and investigate the toy’s fun sorting and patterning play. And, parents "eat" free from this pie!
This set from Learning Resources lets your 3 year old explore their creative side and encourages self-expression while developing fine motor skills and hand strength. It’s great to include in any sensory box or sensory exploration task!
With 60 brightly colored beads in 7 different shapes, this toy makes for a great gift for the two year old in your life! It’ll help enhance color recognition, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and counting.
This butterfly sorting activity is a great toy to help toddlers learn colors and basic math concepts, such as counting, patterns, and addition, but it also comes with the added benefit of practicing the pincer grasp. It’s also a set that will grow with the child as they move into more complex math games.
These Snap-and-Learn Alphabet Alligators are not only fun, but they’re a great way for toddlers showing signs of readiness for learning about letters and letter sounds. If you see signs that your toddler may be approaching a sensitive period for language and want to include some phonics-boosting fun that does double the work, these are sure to be a hit. Start with just a few at first, then add more with time.
Kids who struggle with fine motor tasks can become overwhelmed and frustrated when they are unable to complete everyday tasks like cutting a across a dotted line. Bolstering their skills and confidence couldn't be easier with these fun toys.
Fine motor skills are a major developmental area for toddlers, and toys are a great way to help your child build and master these skills. No matter what toys you pick to help bolster your toddler’s fine motor skill development, they’re sure to have fun while learning!