Skip to content

Developmental Skills: All about Fine Motor Skills

  • by

Developmental skills…you hear us talk about them all the time during our Fun Van classes, but what are they, and why are they so important? In early childhood (birth to 5 years old) we commonly refer to 5 developmental domains, or skills: fine motor skills, gross motor skills, language and literacy skills, social/emotional skills, and cognition skills. These skills are vital in performing everyday tasks. The more developed they are, the more successful children are in engaging with the world around them.

As parents and teachers, it is our responsibility to set up environments and experiences that allow children to practice and perfect these skills, but it can sometimes feel overwhelming to do so. Over the next few weeks we are going to investigate each of these developmental domains and give a few examples of how you can help encourage these skills. If you have any questions about these domains, please ask your Fun Van educator. We are happy to help you come up with different ideas for your family.

Fine Motor Skills:

Fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles in the hands. Think about buttoning a shirt, tying shoe laces, holding a pencil to write, or stringing beads onto a necklace; all of these activities require the precise use of our fingers in just the right combinations to accomplish the task. The more developed the muscles are the better the quality and quicker the task is accomplished. Fine motor skills are also necessary for academic tasks. Young children need help perfecting these skills. Look below for a couple of activities that help to promote fine motor skill development.


  • Messy play with pureed food
  • Reaching and grabbing toys in front of them on bouncers or activity mats
  • Picking up and dropping toys into recycled cans
  • Rattles
  • Exploring touch and feel books
  • Picking up Cheerios and putting them in a bowl
  • Pulling scarves out of an Oball
  • Letting baby “paint” with ice cubes on construction paper


  • Playdough play- this is a great opportunity to practice with scissors
  • Sorting toys from one container to another
  • Practicing with a child appropriate fork and spoon handling during meal times
  • Peeling painters tape or stickers off of paper or different surfaces
  • Building with blocks or Duplos
  • Sand, water or snow play
  • Anything arts and crafts related: gluing, cutting, coloring, threading etc.
  • Stacking cups or containers


  • Threading yarn through holes or pipe cleaners in a colander
  • Practicing with crayons, markers, colored pencils and Kwix Sticks on paper
  • Practicing cutting with scissors and paper
  • Hammering tees into Styrofoam pieces
  • Coloring with Chalk
  • Threading fruit loops on yarn
  • Playing with puzzles
  • Using kitchen tongs or clothespins to grab objects





“Fine Motor Skills.” Kid Sense Child Development, 2018,