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The 10 Best Fine Motor Skills Toys for Toddlers & Preschoolers

There are so many fancy and pricy fine motor skills toys on the market, it can be hard to figure out what you should buy your kids, and what’s actually unnecessary.

The truth is that your kids just need to play with the basics to fully develop their fine motor skills.

So, what are fine motor skills, and what is the importance of fine motor development?

Fine motor development is a child’s ability to control the small muscles of the body such as the eyes, fingers, toes and tongue.

Here are a few fine motor skills examples:

  • Buttoning up a dress
  • Painting a picture
  • Writing
  • Cutting

It is important for things like playing, drawing, performing self-care tasks and other daily activities, participating in activities, forming letters and writing.

Here are 10 of the best and simplest fine motor toys that every child should have at home or at school.

Some of them are not really toys, but household items and materials you probably already have. Buy a few good-quality items and improvise as much as you can with the rest.

You don’t need to buy new toys for every age as children will interact with the same toy differently as they grow and mature.

Introduce your toddlers to these fine motor resources but allow them to experiment without pressure as they are only beginning to develop finger control.

Your 3-year-old will be able to play with all of these, 4 and 5-year-olds should show greater control and cognitive understanding, and they are still educational for 6 and 7-year-olds.

This post contains affiliate links for educational products that I personally recommend. If you purchase through one of them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the terms and conditions for more details.

1. Threading Beads

Threading beads onto a string is a great way to develop fine motor skills in young children. It takes a lot of concentration and determination too.

Often also referred to as lacing beads, there are many types and sizes available online.

Choose oversized wooden threading toys for toddlers and regular beads for preschoolers, like these:

Montessori Educational Wooden Lacing Beads Toys for Toddler 3 4 5 Year Old, Farm Animals...
  • 【THREADING TOYS & 3D STICKERS】 The Threading toys set includes 42 lovely farm animals,vegetables and...
  • 【MONTESSORI TOYS FOR 3 4 YEAR OLD】 This wooden montessori toy is cute and easy to attract children's...
42PCS Lacing Beads Montessori Toys for Toddlers Wooden Primary String Threading Beads...
  • 【IDEAL GIFT FOR TODDLERS】---Great toys to play with friends; Perfect as a preschool educational toy, early...
  • 【CREATIVE LEARNING WAY】---Bright rainbow colors and various shapes will attract your kids to play; Develop...

The older the child, the smaller the beads can be.

2. Lacing Cards

Lacing cards are a wonderful tool for developing eye-hand coordination and fine motor control.

They require a lot of control so are suitable for ages 3 and up.

Lacing requires moving a string or shoelace in and out of holes on a board or other object. It is the same skill used when lacing up shoes.

Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Activity Set: Pets - 5 Wooden Panels and 5 Matching Laces -...
  • With adorable pets pictured on both sides, it's fun to practice lacing and tracing skills
  • Charming animals encourage lacing practice

3. Wooden Blocks

Block play is one of the best fine motor activities and is suitable for all ages – from 12 months to beyond the preschool years.

There are so many benefits of playing with blocks – over and above improving fine motor skills – that every home and class should have a set.

While babies can play with foam, plastic or light wooden blocks, it is best to invest in a good set of large wooden blocks that your toddler will play with for years to come.

It should be of good quality, like the set below, with lots of pieces in different shapes and sizes to fully encourage creativity and construction play.

Standard Unit Building Blocks for Toddlers with Storage Tray (64 Pcs) Sanded Wood Blocks...
  • Wooden Building Blocks Set: Keep your kids engaged in imaginative construction games with our set of large...
  • Perfect For Grabby Hands: These large building blocks for kids are 5.5” long, 2.75” wide & 1.375” thick,...

4. Lego

Lego is another building toy that will improve fine motor skills and develop many other skills too.

Children enjoy how the pieces fit together and they often get lost in their constructions, building their attention span at the same time.

From around the age of 18 months to 2 years, children can start playing with Duplo, which are large Lego blocks that are easier for small fingers to handle.

Sale
LEGO DUPLO Classic Brick Box Building Set - Features Storage Organizer, Toy Car, Number...
  • Endless Builds - Includes 65 LEGO DUPLO bricks plus familiar pieces to stimulate toddlers’ minds, including...
  • Fun Learning - This set is a wonderful way to promote early learning and development by helping build...

Older children can move onto a set of regular Lego blocks.

While there are many fun, themed Lego sets available, it’s better to purchase only one classic set that will last years.

Building with regular pieces builds creativity as children use their imaginations, rather than relying on a model to follow.

Sale
LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box 10696 Building Toy Set - Featuring Storage,...
  • Fun and Engaging - Kids will spend hours engaging in pretend play with this medium-sized building kit. Create...
  • Endless Builds - This creative toy for boys and girls includes windows, toy eyes, 18 tires and toy wheel rims...

Any construction play toy is a good investment. These are items that link, fit snuggly, click together, are magnetic, etc.

Sale
NXONE 195 PCS Educational STEM Toys for Boys and Girls Ages 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Construction...
  • 195 pieces with kid-safe electric drill – Nxone STEM toy set contains 195 pieces of blocks, a storage box...
  • Toys for boys and girls that encourage your child to learn through playing time - STEM toys are for developing...

If you have to choose, however, always start with wooden blocks and Lego.

5. Peg Boards

Peg Boards were always a must in my classroom and are one of my favourite fine motor toys.

Excellent for building hand-eye coordination, they come in all types and styles.

The best peg boards for toddlers have large, chunky pieces that are easier to handle.

This set below also doubles as threading beads:

Battat – Toddler Peg Board – Stacking Peg Board Set – Fine Motor Skills Toy –...
  • Versatile toy: A colorful pegboard with matching cords for infinite playtime possibilities.
  • Includes: 25 colorful pegs in 5 different shapes and 5 cords.

There are many options for preschoolers but the best is a simple, traditional peg board like this one.

Amazing Child Peg Board (6" Square) with 1200 pegs (12 Montessori Colors)
  • 10 x 10 peg board with 1200 coloured SMALL pegs in 12 different colours (100 of each colour).
  • Peg colours are equivalent to the Montessori short bead stairs. Please note the pegs in the pegboard may be...

6. Playdough and Tools

Playdough is a fantastic tool for strengthening finger muscles.

While it is easy to make homemade playdough, it’s a great idea to purchase a set of playdough cutters and tools that include rolling pins, moulds, cutters and stamps.

This will take the fine motor practice to a new level.

You can also improvise with cookie cutters, a kitchen rolling pin, plastic knives, cups, etc.

Crayola My First Safety Scissors, Toddler Art Supplies, 3ct
  • Includes 3 Kids’ Safety Scissors for “ouch-free” paper cutting
  • 3 different cut styles for a variety of toddler art projects: straight, wavy, and zigzag.

7. Scissors

Learning to control scissors and cut is an important fine motor milestone.

Choose safety scissors with a blunt-nosed tip and let kids cut freely as often as possible.

Crayola My First Safety Scissors, Toddler Art Supplies, 3ct
  • Includes 3 Kids’ Safety Scissors for “ouch-free” paper cutting
  • 3 different cut styles for a variety of toddler art projects: straight, wavy, and zigzag.

8. Puzzles

Another one of my personal favourites, puzzles are excellent for toddlers’ development, for older kids and there are even benefits for adults.

There are so many types available. To choose the right puzzles, follow these guidelines:

  • The younger the child, the bigger the pieces should be, although there are large puzzles with many pieces that are suitable for older children.
  • Start with fewer pieces and move onto more pieces.
  • If a puzzle is challenging but doable, it’s the right size for your child.
  • Choose wooden, sturdy puzzles that will last.
  • Toddlers can start with shape sorters, chunky puzzles and knob puzzles.

It’s hard to beat the wooden Melissa and Doug Puzzles that have a board to build on.

Melissa & Doug Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzles - Shapes and Farm Animals - Chunky Baby Puzzles,...
  • Colorful farm and geometric artwork
  • Extra-thick wooden puzzle features jumbo wooden knobs for easy grasping.
Melissa & Doug Natural Play Wooden Puzzle: Animal Patterns (Four 4-Piece Animal Puzzles)
  • Four 4-piece wooden puzzles with an animal theme; animals include fish, giraffe, zebra, and cheetah
  • Match pieces to patterns to complete the scenes in the puzzle board wells
Sale
Melissa & Doug Animals 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles Set - Pets and Farm - Toddler Wooden...
  • Take-along set of four 12-piece wooden puzzles
  • Pieces are color-coded to return easily to the correct puzzle board.
Sale
Melissa & Doug 3-Puzzle Jigsaw Set - Dinosaurs, Ocean, and Safari - Toddler Jigsaw...
  • Includes 3 wooden jigsaw puzzles
  • Pieces feature a gorgeous variety of realistic, appealing images and stunning original artwork

9. Drawing and Painting Tools

One of the best ways to build fine motor skills is to give children lots of opportunities to draw, paint and hold various types of tools.

This may not be a toy, but it’s absolutely essential if you want your kids to build fine motor control.

They should use wax crayons, oil pastels, coloured pencils and pens, paintbrushes, paint rollers, markers and anything else you can find.

As they pass through the stages of drawing, they also improve their ability to hold these tools, which eventually helps them learn to write.

Buy jumbo crayons for younger kids and regular crayons for older kids.

Arteza Kids Jumbo Crayons, Set of 36 Vivid Colors, Toddler Crayons from Wax
  • 36 Large Crayons That Fit Comfortably in a Small Hand: Our crayon box features 36 vividly colored jumbo-size...
  • Unique Brilliant Colors: We designed our kids’ crayons to blend easily as they glide smoothly onto your...
Crayola Crayons 24 Count - 2 Packs (52-3024)
  • Classic BOX of crayons for all ages
  • Double wrapped for extra strength
Luoluo Childrens Paint Brushes, 15 Pack Paint Brushes Set Kid Starter Kit with 1 Color...
  • 🌈 Contains: 15 pieces paint brush and 1 color palette: including 4 kids paint brush, 2 round paint brush, 3...
  • 🌈Aluminum and Plastic Interface: The brush head and handle are connected by aluminum or plastic tube. It...
Crayola Silly Scents Dual Ended Markers, Sweet Scented Markers, 10 Count, Gift for Kids,...
  • CRAYOLA SILLY SCENTS MARKERS: 10 Dual Ended Scented Markers with a different bold color on each end. That’s...
  • SWEET SCENTS: Complementary sweet-smelling aromas are on either end of each double ended marker.

10. Woodwork Set

Kids love hammering nails into wood and avoiding hitting a finger requires a lot of concentration and good eye-hand coordination.

You can use a woodwork set, complete with tools to get into some pretend play, or even a simple board with wooden pieces to nail into.

TOOKYLAND Fine Motor Toys, Toy Hammer and Nails Game Is Montessori Toys That Exercise...
  • TRADITIONAL TOY. The tap tap art game is very popular classic toy for creative children. Just take the wooden...
  • LEARNING TOY. The miniature hammer and nails will help your kids train their hand grip and will keep them...

These 10 fine motor toys are great for all ages and will keep kids busy and learning all through their early childhood years.

10 fine motor skills toys pinterest image

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Blessing Matthew okina

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Wow I love it all

Tanja Mcilroy

Thursday 31st of March 2022

Thanks!

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