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Strengthening fine motor skills is important in early childhood classrooms. When students have strong finger muscles they can focus more on developing additional skills like cutting, writing, drawing, etc. But building up these muscles doesn’t have to be boring – or take tons of time to prep for. These easy fine motor activities are super engaging and perfect for when you need a quick-prep option to add to your lesson plans or centers!
*For even more teacher tips and how to create a playful learning environment in your classroom, be sure to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!
Easy Fine Motor Activities for Pre-K & Kindergarten
Before we can ask students to use writing tools effectively, we need to build up their fine motor strength. If you’re looking for ways to help your students strengthen those little finger muscles, try these activities that don’t use a pencil!
Here are some of my favorite ways to work on fine motor skills in the classroom!
Have your students create fun collages/mosaics by tearing or cutting paper. Be sure to save them throughout the year to see how their pieces change over time.
Teacher Tip: Have students prepare their small pieces BEFORE giving them the mat or paper to glue on. Trust me on this one!
Sticker Reward Sheets
Do you have sticker reward sheets lying around? I know I do. I also have more stickers than I can use, and sticker activities are the perfect tool for building up fine motor skills!
Let students use these stickers to fill up the rewards sheets. The peeling is great for building up their finger strength!
Play Dough is a fan favorite for my students. Make it even more fun by offering tools that the students can press into the play dough.
I like to provide a variety of tools like cutters, popsicle sticks, rollers, and/or dough scissors.
Lacing cards often come with fun themes that will definitely keep your kiddos engaged!
Having students lace works on their hand-eye-coordination as well as their fine motor muscles. It’s a win-win!!!
Pom Pom Drop
Start by grabbing some pom poms and an ice cube tray. Add jumbo tweezers (or kids can use their fingers) to transfer the pom poms to the ice cube tray.
Don’t have pom poms? Cotton balls or any small manipulative would still work great!
Water Beads or Sensory Bins
Water beads and sensory bins are always a hit! They’re a fantastic opportunity to make fine motor practice FUN.
Fill a bin with any filler of your choice (we love water beads) and students can use scoopers, tweezers, or other tools to manipulate the materials (make sure the material is age-appropriate/not a choking hazard).
Butcher Paper and Crayons/Markers
This activity is so simple and uses materials you most likely have on hand! Place a big piece of paper over a table in your classroom. Tape down the edges to keep it from sliding off and then let your students have the freedom to color or draw anything they want.
Your kids will be working on proper gripping and proper pressure with the writing utensils. My students enjoy this every time!
Strengthening finger muscles doesn’t have to be complicated with these effective AND easy fine motor activities!
Want to stress less with even more “must-try” tips while learning how to create a “Playful Learning” environment?
(even if you “aren’t allowed to play”)
If you’re wanting to incorporate playful learning, free-flowing centers, effective routines, and more in your Pre-K or Kindergarten classroom, then you’ll definitely want to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!
This course is a deep dive into practical ways that you can create a playful learning environment in your classroom. Be sure to request an invitation so you’re the first to hear when the virtual doors open!
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