28 Fine Motor Activities That Get Little Hands Moving

Fun ways to increase strength and coordination.

Examples of fine motor activities including hands counting with elastics on numbered popsicle sticks and creating mosaic art from colored beans

We all use fine motor skills every day without even noticing it. Tying our shoes, buttoning our shirt, feeding ourselves, and brushing our teeth all require fine motor skills, which involve using the small muscles of our hands and wrists. The development of these skills begins at birth and continues to develop over the course of childhood. Perfecting these skills becomes even more important as kids start school since classroom tasks like writing and cutting are dependent on a student’s hand-eye coordination. Bilateral coordination and balance are other examples of fine motor skills that require practice. Check out our list of the best fine motor activities for you to use in your classroom!

Fine Motor Activities for Preschool / Toddlers

1. Process Art Sculpture

A little girl is shown sticking pipe cleaners into a foam block. (fine motor activities)

The setup for this activity is so simple—it requires only some foam blocks, pipe cleaners, and beads. Be sure to have a variety of beads and colored pipe cleaners so students can really personalize their sculptures.

Learn more: School Time Snippets

2. Fruit Loop and Spaghetti Stringing

A little boy sits in front of a sculpture that has a base of play dough with raw spaghetti sticks coming out of it. He is stringing fruit loops onto the spaghetti strands. (fine motor activities)

Kids will love this activity, however, you will want to make sure to check for allergies before proceeding. Always have some extra fruit loops on hand since kids will likely steal a few!

Learn more: School Time Snippets

3. Button Squiggles and Swirls


Pieces of blue cardstock have black squiggles and swirls drawn on them. Little hands are seen lining buttons up along the lines. (fine motor activities)

Draw squiggles and swirls on card stock, then let students line buttons of different shapes and colors along those lines.

Learn more: Learning 4 Kids

4. Counting With Elastics

Popsicle sticks have numbers on the top of them and little hands are shown putting the correct number of elastics onto them (fine motor activities)

We love that this is a fine motor activity that also teaches counting. All you’ll need are oversized Popsicle sticks and a ton of little elastics.

Learn more: Little School of Smiths

5. Pom-Poms in Water Bottles

An empty water bottle is filled with pom poms and a little hand is shown placing another into the bottle (fine motor activities)

This is the perfect activity to work on bilateral coordination since kids will have to hold the bottle with one hand while stuffing the pom-poms in with the other.

Learn more: The OT Toolbox

6. Pom-Pom Sorting

Text reads Mega Block Pom Pom Sorting. Mega blocks are turned upside down in different colors. Corresponding colored pom poms are shown and are placed into their matching colored block. (fine motor activities)

Instead of building with all of those mega blocks you have in the classroom, why not turn them upside down and repurpose them for a color-sorting activity? You’ll also need some pom-poms in corresponding colors and some plastic tweezers.

Learn more: Happy Toddler Playtime

7. Cardboard Roll and Straw Threading

small cardboard rolls have holes punched in them. Little hands are shown threading plastic straws through them (fine motor activities)

Cut up some toilet paper rolls, then have your students work on punching holes in them. Add another fine motor activity by having your students thread straws through those holes.

Learn more: Laughing Kids Learn

8. Dinosaur Spikes

Print and laminate some dinosaurs in different colors and have your students practice attaching clothespins in matching colors to their backs.

Learn more: Oh Hey, Let’s Play

9. Animal Tape Rescue

Small plastic animals are taped to the floor; little hands are shown trying to remove the tape and free the animal (fine motor activities)

Little ones will certainly get a kick out of “freeing” the animals from the floor or whatever surface you decide. You can work on hand-eye coordination while also working on animal recognition.

Learn more: Messy Little Monster

10. Sticker Color Sorting

A little girl is shown holding sticker dots in different colors. There are four squares in red, yellow, green, and blue on the wall. She is matching the stickers to the squares.

This activity is so simple yet it works on both fine motor skills and color recognition.

Learn more: Busy Toddler

11. Another Animal Rescue

Several plastic animals are wrapped up in elastics (fine motor activities)

Here’s another adorable animal rescue mission for your little ones. This time, they will have to remove the elastics to free their animal buddies!

Learn more: Team Cartwright

12. Colorful Rainbow Hair

A cardboard face has holes punched in it with pipe cleaners sticking out of it and beads attached.

This might just be the cutest pipe-cleaner-and-bead fine motor activity we have ever seen!

Learn more: Toddler Approved

13. Button Sorting

Several small containers in different colors have a slit on the top. Multi colored buttons are piled up by them.

Find some small bowls with lids, cut slits in the top, then let your students sort different-colored buttons into the appropriate containers. Kids will be working on their hand-eye coordination while also practicing color recognition.

Learn more: About Family Crafts

14. Pumpkin Sorting Bin

Several small pumpkin containers are lined up in the back of a bin with small orange pumpkins in pretend dirt in front of them. (fine motor activities)

This is the perfect fine motor/sensory activity for October, although it would be fun anytime! Grab some small pumpkin containers and orange pom-poms or small pumpkin candies, then let your students see how many pumpkins they can pick up.

Learn more: I Heart Crafty Things

15. Q-Tip and Straw Activity

A little girl is seen stringing straw pieces onto colored q-tips.

Another threading activity, this time using cotton swabs and straws. We love how inexpensive this activity is to pull together!

Learn more: Mess for Less

16. Holiday Tree Balance Activity

A little girl is balancing along the lines of a Christmas tree which have been created using green painter's tape.

Despite this being a Christmas tree, you could easily make it non-denominational by simply creating a forest in your classroom using green painter’s tape. Have students practice their balance by walking along the limbs of the tree.

Learn more: The Inspired Treehouse

17. Quiet Books

A child's hands are shown buttoning buttons on the pages of a soft book. (fine motor activities)

Quiet books are soft books that often contain real-life tasks for little ones to complete like tying shoelaces or buttoning buttons. Purchase some to include in your class library, or if you’re feeling really crafty, make one yourself!

Learn more: My Mommy Style

Fine Motor Activities for Elementary Students

18. Pushpin Mazes

A piece of paper is shown with push pins in it and a crayon has been used to trace around the push pins (fine motor activities)

If you’re doing this activity with older elementary students, you will be able to let them design their writing patterns with the pushpins before they practice their writing skills following the maze.

Learn more: Planning Playtime

19. Yarn Wrapping

A heart shape has yarn of all colors wrapped around it.l colors wra

Yarn wrapping is so fun, and it makes for the perfect craft for elementary school–age students. Be sure to have plenty of varieties of yarn so your students can really express themselves.

Learn more: The Pinterested Parent

20. Perler Beads

White boards are shown with small hands placing beads onto them into various designs.

Since stringing beads onto pipe cleaners might not be challenging enough for elementary-age students, why not try Perler beads? In addition to the hand-eye coordination required to put the small beads on the boards, it will also take patience and determination. Having an extra adult on hand to handle the ironing will help!

Learn more: Mama in the Now

21. Beaded Friendship Bracelets

Several beaded bracelets are shown.

A childhood staple for generations, kids will love creating these cute beaded bracelets to keep or give as gifts.

Learn more: Projects With Kids

22. Play Dough Writing

A hand is shown practicing writing with a wooden stick in play dough.

Practicing handwriting can be tedious, but practicing it in play dough can liven it up a bit.

Learn more: Fantastic Fun and Learning

23. Stack the Erasers

Small erasers are shown being stacked (fine motor activities)

Roll some dice, then have your students stack mini erasers to get to the desired number. Keep stacking until they fall over!

Learn more: School Time Snippets

24. LEGO Challenge

Text reads "Lego Stem Challenge Cards" Various Lego creations are shown.

Since most kids love LEGO, this fine motor activity is sure to be a hit in your classroom. Come up with daily or weekly challenges for your students, then watch them get to work. You may need to ask for donations of LEGO bricks from friends and families.

Learn more: Life Over C’s

25. Edible Toothpick Sculptures

Sculptures are created from grapes and toothpicks.

Provide your students with grapes or marshmallows and countless toothpicks, then watch their creativity flow!

Learn more: Artful Parent

26. Paper Weaving

Several papers are shown woven through with strips of paper.

First, have students cut up strips of paper and magazines, then have them practice weaving them through slits in paper.

Learn more: Babble Dabble Do

27. Bean Mosaic Art

Several mosaics are made from painted beads arranged onto paper plates

Older kids will really excel at painting beans and then arranging them into creative mosaics.

Learn more: Pretty Life Girls

28. Braiding Boards

Text reads Braiding Boards Easy DIY Teaching Tool. strings of yarn are grouped into threes and attached to boards.

Braiding is the perfect activity for older elementary students to work on their hand-eye coordination. Similar to tying shoelaces, braiding requires patience and mastery that is age-appropriate for elementary students.

Learn more: Happy Hooligans

Looking for more fine motor activities? Find out how handwriting helps develop fine motor skills!

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Developing fine motor skills is essential to tasks like writing and even eating. Check out our list of the best fine motor activities!