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!
And if you are looking for gross motor development toy recommendations, I have a great list here!
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.
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
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.
This piggy bank toy not only facilitates hand-eye coordination, but also helps with learning colors and numbers!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
This activity cube in jam packed with different fine motor activities. Each side (5 total) facilitates unique fine motor coordination tasks.
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.
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.
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.
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!