What are fine motor skills, and why are they important?

Fine motor skills focus on building the strength and dexterity in the hands to improve your child’s efficiency with pencil grip, writing, drawing, gluing, scissor usage, tying shoelaces, buttoning jackets, opening bottles and a whole lot more! It is vitally important to develop these skills to lead a happy and healthy life in modern society.

Here are five easy and fun activities that you can try at home to help develop your child’s fine motor skills:

  1. Cutting practice.

Practice makes perfect. Make sure your child knows how to hold scissors correctly before you begin – thumb in the top loop and two fingers in the bottom loop. Draw a little smiley face on their thumbnail to help them remember.  If they are just starting, they can practice cutting up paper or snipping ribbons or straws, then when they get the hang of it, they can move on to cutting sheets like this pre-writing and cutting practice sheet and practice cutting along the dotted lines. You can also use these to practice pre-writing skills by tracing them.

  1. Threading and lacing.

This activity is easy to do at home; you can use shoes, make your own beaded necklaces (you can use beads or pasta is excellent too), or even make your own threading shapes. Simply cut out some shapes from cardboard, use a hole punch to make some holes around the edge (this is great for children to do as well) then use some ribbon, string, or wool to weave in and out of the holes.

  1. Play Dough

Yes, play dough! Play dough helps to strengthen little hands and builds up muscles in those tiny little fingers, and it’s lots of fun! Play dough can be used to roll, pinch or cut. Children can push things into the play dough or even roll it out and make shapes or letters. There are so many ways to use it! Let your child explore and use their imagination too.

Here is a recipe to try at home

Begin Bright Play dough Recipe
* 2 cups plain flour * 2 tablespoons vegetable oil * 1/2 cup salt
* 2 tablespoons cream of tartar * Up to 1.5 cups boiling water * food colouring *


Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl.
Add food colouring TO the boiling water then into the dry ingredients (colour optional)

Stir the mixture continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough

Allow it to cool down, then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone.

This is the most crucial part of the process, so keep going until it’s a perfect consistency! (If it remains a little sticky, add a touch more flour until just right).

4.Tongs, tweezers and eyedroppers!

Using tongs, tweezers and eyedroppers can be pretty tricky for little people. When children try it, you can see the enormous amount of concentration involved, but it’s fantastic for building up the muscles in their fingers. Simple games of putting pom-poms into an egg carton can benefit your child’s development. You can also let them use an eyedropper or pipette to pick up and transfer water.

  1. Building blocks.

Whether it’s stacking cubes or connecting Lego or other blocks are a great way to develop your child’s fine motor skills and co-ordination.

These activities also have other benefits, such as building children’s concentration span and independence, essential school readiness skills.

Begin Bright programmes incorporate fun activities like these into our programmes to help build fine motor skills and prepare little hands for learning to write.

Click here to find out more about our programmes and your nearest location.

Learning is fun when you Begin Bright!