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Fine Motor Skills

Construction Games
Building blocks (towers, trains, bridges, copying black designs), stickle bricks, popoids, reo-click, magnetic blocks, construction/art straws.

Bricks, cotton reels, buttons, beads, lacing cards, tapestry, weaving, lacing shoes, typing laces.

Tool Usage
Invent games using the following equipment:
Plastic tongs (kitchenware), teat pipette (kitchenware), tweezers, clothes pegs (giant/standard). Also commercials games such as Trap-A-shape, Bed Bugs, Operation, Buckaroo.

Directional Turning
Billies Barrels, Russian dolls, screwing rods, jar lids, nuts and bolts.

Peg/counter Games
Peg board patterns (big to small, simple to complex). Commercial games such as Connect 4, Solitaire, Draughts, Ludo, Snakes and Ladders (floor games and table top versions).

Simple to complex jigsaws. Floor and table top versions.

Play dough, plasticine, modelling kits. Practice making it flat, stretching it out and squeezing it tightly. Roll it. Knead it. Pinch it. Make shapes, letter, figures, and animals. Use tools to make impressions in it and cutters. Baking is also a good activity.

Paint/Stamping Kits
Finger and face paints. Use thick to thin brushes. Use foam shapes and sliced vegetables for painting. Copy or design patterns. Try mini stamp pads/pens and roller stamp kits.

Sticker story books such as make a scene or dress a doll (reusable ones are better value).

Rhymes/Action Songs
Books available full of ideas for younger children. Use finger and hand puppets. Shadow puppets for older children.

Ripping, gluing and sticking. Use a variety of paper (tissue paper, crepe, tin foil, corrugated cardboard). Try paper mache and collages (dried beans, buttons, and material). Also templates, stencils, paper folding (origami) are beneficial. Pom-pom sets, peg dolls, sand pictures, colour-burst from early learning centre.

Scissor Skills
Self-opening scissors (stirex) and training scissors are available. Use left and right handed scissors as appropriate. Practice single snips and fringing the edges of cardboard then paper. Progress from straight to curved.

Pencil Play
Use a variety of positions, standing, on tummy, side-sitting rather than sitting at a table. Think BIG to SMALL. Think SENSORY (i.e. practice patterns and lines in shaving foam, finger paints, water, chalk and sand).

Painting books using water. Colouring, joining the dots, mazes and trails, stencils, templates and tracing. Cone/animal crayon (ELC).

Hand huggers (triangle shaped pencils) 

Progress from straight to wavy lines to shapes, patterns and letters. Always works left to right. Practice first with eye open and then close) i.e. to reinforce the sensation of movement).


  • Flip frogs
  • Flick paper (in show box on side)
  • Stick toothpicks into plasticine (hedgehog) and pull them out
  • Picking up marbles and roll them on by one
  • Finger taps (copying adult)
  • Finger drumming (tips of finger taps on table in turn)
  • Paper clapping; clap keeping paper between hands
  • Also, see previous modelling section


  • Use a shaker or pom-pom and bean bag
  • Place bean bag under armpit
  • Aim is to keep it there whilst using 'whirley' toy to make circular movements up and down, from side to side, figure of eight, left to right and to draw shapes and letters in the air.


  • Feely bags, identifying objects hidden in a bag through touch only
  • Templates or paper rubbings over rough and textured surfaces
  • Collages using different textures
  • Copying patterns on letters traced on back of hand with eyes closed
  • Discriminating textures.


(Awareness of muscle and joint position with eyes closed)

  • Weight bearing games (e.g. Wheelbarrows, animal walks)
  • Pushing heavy objects (boxes, chairs, benches)
  • Pulling (tug of war)
  • Pushing fingers into clay
  • Pushing shapes our of perforated card
  • Tearing packages and boxes open
  • Tearing edges of computer paper
  • Clapping games


(Moving objects within the hand)

  • Taking coins out of a purse
  • Crumpling paper
  • Taking lids off a jar and getting objects out with the other hand
  • Picking up coins, pegs, paperclips one at a time and holding them in one hand
  • Picking up 3 bricks at a time
  • Dealing cards
  • Sorting paper money
  • Lotto games
  • Stringing beads
  • Buttoning
  • Lining up snaps for dressing
  • Removing bolts from nuts
  • Rotation of pencil in hand
  • Constructing shapes from pipe cleaners
  • Opening locks with keys on a key ring

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