Fine motor activities are so important to foster those emerging skills across all age groups, but often they have small parts or may not be suitable for younger children.
When your children are different ages or you care for a group of multi- age children in a home daycare setting, getting in those fine motor activities can present a challenge….especially if your younger ones don’t nap!
No need to worry, I’ve compiled a huge list of some of my favourite fine motor activities that can easily be modified to keep toddlers, preschoolers and even some babies happy!
At the end of the page you will also find more inspiration collected from some of my favourite Aussie bloggers!
Along the way I will offer some tips for modifying many of the activities, others are self explanatory.
If you want more information on any of the activities featured below just click on the photo to take you straight to the original post. Let’s get started!
This is a recent activity after finding these huge basters marked down in our local Coles….squeezing and releasing can be a difficult concept but younger kids can join in the fun too….
Try offering some spoons (big and small) and encourage them to scoop up the water paint and dump it onto the paper towel to make fun patterns too! This is the way Ruby preferred as her grasp is not as advanced as her twins’ and she finds the squeezing activities difficult.
Older children can poke the straws into the holes and then thread the cardboard circles onto their creations…..
For younger children you can poke the straws in for them and let them have some fun trying to place the cardboard circles onto the straw or even just stack with them!
Such an easy activity to set up but one that will keep them busy and get those hands and wrists working.
For a challenge the children can try to scoop up the balloons with large plastic or wooden spoons….
To make it a little simpler you can hand out some strainers which makes fishing for balloons a lot easier!
Toothbrush painting offers a different fine motor challenge for little hands…to make it easier simply use smaller kid size brushes and a large area as a canvas….
To make it a little more challenging use adult size brushes and smaller areas to paint. Outside provides so many options so don’t just stick to inside with plain old paper!
These are my DIY shape stampers and they have chubby handles to make it easy for little hands to grasp….Stamping activities are always fun for any age though and a real favourite when you have a lot of different developmental levels to keep happy.
Pasting small collage materials can be lots of fun for younger players and all that picking up small pieces, brushing on paste and sticking down can give the muscles and coordination a workout…..
To make it a little more challenging why not punch some holes and get the older children sewing around their creations too.
A fantastic activity for all ages and one that can be changed easily with the addition of a few different materials each time.
Colouring sand and mixing the dye in can be enjoyed by all ages….a little glue and abstract masterpieces are just waiting to be created….wood makes a lovely change to paper as your canvas…
To challenge those developing skills encourage little hands to write in the sand or create pathways and pictures before making their own sand name with a little help of course!
Another easy one that’s fun for all ages….and costs you nothing!
Playdough imprinting can be modified for all ages just by changing the size of your tools. Adding some sensory materials can provide an extra challenge but still remain fun for younger kids.
The spaghetti and meatball game is such a favourite here….there are tongs to hold spaghetti and spoons to scoop up meatballs and balance until you reach the bowl…
But it is easily adapted for those that find this too difficult. Ruby enjoyed collecting some ‘meatballs’ with her hands and arranging them in the wooden bowls…it’s about the process and not sticking to the ‘rules’.
Keep your eye out for these sort of things in your $2 shop. These scrubbers can be used with the hands to make some lovely prints….
Or with the handle to provide a different challenge and range of movement….
Use the tongs to pick up the blocks and other treasures….
Or just play in the coloured water when it all seems a little difficult. provide a few jugs and cups and there is still some valuable pouring practise happening!
Fantastic fine motor fun for younger toddlers although I have seen preschoolers also enjoying this one with the addition of a few little jewels or marbles.
Fun for all ages…for an extra challenge older children can draw around the outline of their shapes once dry.
Some toddlers can find it very difficult to get the hang of threading and doing the classic bead or pasta threading can actually prove quite frustrating as they learn to master the skill of pulling through.
This activity makes threading a little easier but is still a challenge…
To make things a little easier you can also set this one up and you have something that covers all ages.
3 of my absolute favourites!!
Simple but fun for all ages!
A classic but one my 3 yr olds STILL like playing with! To add an extra challenge place a bowl of small cotton reels or beads close by and see who can thread them onto the pipe cleaners.
Threading with a bit more of a challenge than those previously mentioned…Younger children will enjoy just sticking the spaghetti sticks into the dough.
Using large and small pasta at the same table activity gives all ages a chance to join in and create….
Fun for all ages…paper towel helps to soak up any of the paint spills made by over exuberant younger children.
The humble chalkboard allows any age to freely create and explore no matter their current developmental stage.
As does this version of water painting on the chalkboard….this time using shaving brushes.
One of my all time favourites for multi ages….babies love this and I have seen school age kids enjoy making intricate little masterpieces too!
So many ways to use this activity…babies and toddlers can pick out favourites to fill their basket and then tip them out to start all over again.
Preschoolers can sort pebbles by number, colour or patterns….all the while using those little fingers to pick up and place materials exactly where they need them.
I hope some of those activities helped you to see just how easy it can be to modify fine motor activities to include all ages in your care.
Here’s some more inspiration from some of my favourite Aussie bloggers. Do stop by for a visit, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Laughing Kids Learn
Learning to Play and Playing to Learn
Octavia & Vicky
The Craft Train
My Little Bookcase
Learn with Play at Home
A Little Learning for Two
Just for Daisy
Triple T Mum
An Everyday Story
Wildlife Fun for Kids
Now that should keep you busy for awhile….I’d love to hear about your own favourite fine motor activity, be sure to leave your comment below so we can try it out!
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