FINE MOTOR TODDLER TOYS

Let’s talk about fine motor skills! 

Fine motor skills involve the development of small muscle movement and small scale coordination. Fine motor activities are more focused on precision than gross motor activities.
If you want to learn more about gross motor development, check out this post!
GROSS MOTOR DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES - IS MY BABY ON TRACK?
And if you are looking for gross motor development toy recommendations, I have a great list here!
GROSS MOTOR GEAR AND TOYS
When you think about fine motor skills, they often involve the hands and fingers. Fine motor skills include: grasping, pinching, twisting, writing, tying, eating, and so much more!
 
Both gross and fine motor skills are an important part of child development, and the two compliment each other in many ways.
 
Think about reaching for a toy as an example: a child needs to reach and shift his weight to gain access to the toy (gross motor). The child then grasps the toy with his fingers to retrieve it (fine motor).
Another example would be eating: a child needs to maintain sitting balance and shift his weight to reach for food or a water cup (gross motor). Next, the child grasps the water cup or the utensil, and brings the food or water to his mouth (fine motor).
 
In the physical therapy world, we love activities that encourage a child to reach across his body to help develop the right and left integration of the brain. Cross body activity also helps promote hand preference, which is a big fine motor milestone.
Sometimes a child does not get adequate cross body activity if he likes to w-sit. If your child likes to w-sit and you want more information about this, read about it here.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT W-SITTING?
 

 

So what can we do as parents to foster fine motor development? 

There are many things we can do as parents to help our children develop their fine motor skills. Below I have some awesome recommended toys that will help foster their development of fine motor skills.
Some of these fine motor toys may be more appropriate for a younger toddler versus an older toddler. That said, every child develops fine motor skills on his own timeline.
A good guide is to pay attention to what type of skills your child may be interested in working on at any given moment, when deciding on what type of new fine motor toy to select.
 
 
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RECOMMENDED FINE MOTOR TODDLER TOYS

1. Stacking Cups - The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys
These cups can be stacked inside of each other or on top of each other like a tower. Either option initiates hand-eye coordination and visual-spacial reasoning.
 
 
2. Stacking Toy - Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker
Grasping the small pieces of this toy will help to develop tiny hand and finger muscles. Then lining up the small hole of each piece on the wooden post facilitates precision of movement.
 
3. Peg Board - Gleeporte Stacking Peg Board Set Toy - Montessori Occupational Therapy Early Learning for Fine Motor Skills
This is an occupational therapy favorite for fine motor practice, so you know it's good!
 
 
 
4. Piggy Bank - The Learning Journey Learn with Me - Numbers & Colors Pig E Bank 
This piggy bank toy not only facilitates hand-eye coordination, but also helps with learning colors and numbers!
 
 
5. Jumbo Knob Puzzle - Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle
Knob puzzles are always a great way to practice grasping as well as visual-spatial skills. This puzzle also promotes matching colors and learning shapes!
 
 
6. Threading Toy - Coogam Wooden Lacing Apple Threading Toys Wood Block Puzzle Travel Game 
This is a more advanced hand-eye coordination task and might be more appropriate for the older toddler. Threading abilities directly translate to skills like sewing, and putting shoe laces in shoes.
 
 
7. Musical Instruments - Kids Musical Instruments - Childom Musical Instruments
Music has so many benefits for the developing brain! Imagine all of the different ways your child can practice hand and arm coordination using this instrument kit!
 
 
 
8. Pound and Roll Toy - Melissa & Doug Pound & Roll Tower
This is definitely all about the hand-eye coordination on a fine motor scale. Your child is also discovering cause and effect with this toy!
 
 
9. Magnetic Blocks - 42 Piece Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set, Tints
I highly recommend these magnetic blocks! They stick together for building and can be used on the refrigerator. Your child will enjoy manipulating 2 blocks at a time to find the sides that stick together.
 
 
 
10. Quiet Book - Quiet Book with 10 Pages for Toddlers - Soft Baby Busy Book This is a great travel option for young kids! There are so many functional AND fun activities to practice inside -  zippers, buttons, velcro and more!
 
 
 
11. Activity Cube - Battat – Wooden Activity Cube – Discover Farm Animals Activity Center
This activity cube in jam packed with different fine motor activities. Each side (5 total) facilitates unique fine motor coordination tasks.
12. Crayons - Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons Natural
These crayons are thick, and ideal for an immature grasp. I highly recommend these crayons for your child's first writing/drawing practice. These crayons are also non-toxic for those super oral babies/toddlers.
 
 
13. Play Dough - Green Toys Dough 4 Pack Activity Set What a fun sensory activity to develop hand strengthening! Use rolling pins and cookie cutters to add to the fine motor experience.
14. Pop-up Toy - Playskool Poppin’ Pals Pop-up Activity Toy
This toy is a great way for your child to practice using different types of switches, nobs and buttons. Your child will not only learn to use different types of switches, but will also learn to recognize how they work, based on their appearance.
 
15. Shape Sorter - Green Toys Shape Sorter
This shape sorter will allow your child to discover how to manipulate and rotate object to fit through specific openings. Your child will have the added benefit of learning shapes, matching and visual-spatial reasoning skills.
 
16. Fine Motor Hedgehog - Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog
Placing the pegs in the holes on the hedgehog will require some serious hand-eye coordination. Your child will then get to practice his firm grasp to twist and remove the pegs from the holes.  
 
 
 
Well here are a few ideas to get you started! There are a ton of toy options out there, but I don't want to overwhelm you, so I decided to only include my top picks! 
 
RELATED RESOURCES: 
GROSS MOTOR GEAR AND TOYS
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT W-SITTING?
GROSS MOTOR DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES - IS MY BABY ON TRACK?