Fine Motor Play Ideas

There’s no denying that fine motor skills are an integral part of early childhood development. We use fine motor skills throughout our day for various self-care tasks and they are vital for learning how to make marks and eventually learn how to write.

Little Toy Tribe are an Australian toy shop run by early childhood teacher and mum of two, Alison, and her husband Dion. They have the most incredible range of toys and resources for little learners so I am so excited to partner with Little Toy Tribe for this sponsored blog post to share some of our favourite fine motor products from their store and how we’ve been using them to develop fine motor skills with our little learners.

Layout of fine motor resources available at Little Toy Tribe.

Why are fine motor skills important?

Fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles in the hand and fingers and aide our children in grasping, holding and pinching small objects. These fine motor skills enable our little learners to complete a range of activities throughout their day including getting dressed, opening lunchboxes, building with LEGO blocks and even doing things like puzzles or picking up small pieces of food like cereal or sultanas.

Once our little learners head off to school, they will need to use fine motor skills to manipulate a pencil to write, or scissors to cut a piece of paper. As an early years teacher, I am always looking for fun ways to help strengthen the muscles in our children’s fingers and hands and of course, my favourite way to do this is through play! 

Today I’d like to share how we use some of our favourite products from Little Toy Tribe to support the development of fine motor skills with our little learners. My hope is that this blog will inspire you to prepare your very own toolkit of fine motor tools and supplies so that you can help support the fine motor development of your little learners too!

The following tools and supplies are some of my favourites from Little Toy Tribe for fine motor skill development:

This week, we decided to explore some of our new Little Toy Tribe products to create a few different fine motor invitations! Our first invitation is a simple colour sorting poke box! We drew some coloured spots on the top of a box and used a knife to cut X slits in each hole.

Elliot then sorted a bowl of Papoose Felt Balls into the holes. This was a great way to strengthen those little finger muscles while supporting his pincer grip (which is so important for learning how to hold a pencil and eventually learn to write).

DIY recyclced play idea with pompom pushing for fine motor skills

Elliot loved working with the Felt Balls so we extended on this with his all-time-favourite toy at the moment – the Squigz! We’ve had these for a while and Elliot loves to play with them on his own, sticking them to different surfaces and seeing if they’re strong enough to lift books and containers around the house. We decided to add them to our shelves this week with a set of Bamboo Tongs and the Papoose Felt Balls. Check out how carefully he and Audrey (2.5 years) used the tongs to balance the balls onto the Squigz!

Fine motor activity using Fat Brain Toy Squigz and felt pompom balls and bamboo tongs.

As we were exploring the Papoose Felt Balls, Audrey was busily transferring some of the extra balls from tray to basket using the Handy Scoopers so I decided to add some bowls to a tray with the Handy Scoopers as well as the Bamboo Tongs to see if I could extend on that interest. You could try adding some bottles to make this a little trickier. Audrey loves these kinds of invitations!

Montessori-inspired transferring activity with two bowls set up for toddler.
Child working on fine motor skills transferring pompom activity.

This term at Kindy, Elliot has been involved in a sewing project. They’ve been enjoying a variety of sewing invitations so when he saw the Natural Threading Set in our delivery, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on it! This invitation would make a fantastic busy bag for car trips or while you’re waiting for appointments even. We decided to leave this on our toy rotation shelves this week to see if Audrey (2.5 years) comes to explore it too!

Natural threading set handmade in Australia from sustainable wood.
Small child's hands playing with Australian-made wooden toy.

Play dough is another incredible tool for developing fine motor skills so we love to use it whenever we can! For this invitation, we made a fresh batch of natural play dough and then added our wooden nails and wooden hammer.

Audrey LOVED hammering the nails into the dough – we found it worked best when we rolled the dough into a big ball so she could hammer the nails right into the dough! And the best part? She was working her hand-eye coordination AND fine motor skills at the same time. As she pulled the nails from the dough, she was also using her pincer grip as her pointer finger and thumb came together.

Small child hammering wooden golf tees into playdough using rustic wooden toy hammer.

You could also extend this invitation by adding some of the Papoose Felt Balls and inviting your little learner to carefully balance a ball on top of the nails. Make it trickier by adding the tongs!

Fine motor skills are so incredibly important for our little learners. These skills form the foundation needed to learn how to hold a pencil, write, use scissors and go about their day to day independently. If we can support our little learners to develop their fine motor skills, we can help set a really solid foundation for their future learning, all through play!

You can head on over to Little Toy Tribe to grab all of the products we used in our fine motor invitations this week so you can create your very own fine motor tool kit. These items are great for toy rotation invitations or even added to bags to take out and about. We love to take busy bags with us on holidays too so these materials can be used outside your home as well!

If you grab some of these goodies, be sure to tag me @littlelifelonglearners and Alison @littletoytribe so we can see what you get up to!

 

Written by Casey from @littlelifelonglearners for Little Toy Tribe.


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