fine motor fun ~ challenges

     Most fine motor tasks can be changed a bit to make them easier if needed or more challenging.

     Consider tracing a line (side note- I rarely recommend tracing letters for handwriting) the task of tracing requires visual focus as well as control of the hand and pencil. A simple version could be tracing a large bold coloring book picture with few details; a high level tracing task could be tracing a map of the world.

     Now, to distinguish tracing from imitating: think about the difference in having a child trace a map and having them draw a map while looking at one identical to what you expect them to draw. Which is more difficult? 

     Coloring within the lines may be a difficult task at first, but encourage the child to continue the challenge without getting frustrated by adapting it for them. Notice the picture. If they are using a large crayon, it is going to be difficult staying in the lines if there are tiny details. For a picture like that, use colored pencils instead. Can your child hold a standard crayon? Crayons can be melted down and reformed into different shapes or into muffin tins for a larger surface to grasp. One of my favorite styles of crayons is those that twist up. Kids that still bring everything to their mouth may do better with that type or thick colored pencils, though you have to use your judgment with that.

    Drawing – Mona Brooks book Drawing With Children shares a perspective of drawing with tips that help children create masterpieces. 

     Games- I mentioned them before. Look for games that have pieces that need to be picked up with the type of grasp that you want your child to accomplish.

     Have you ever struggled to put clothes on a Barbie? It isn’t a simple fine motor task. Think of the difficulty you had with that task (or any other thing that wasn't simple for you) as you help your child do something hard for them. Make the task just a little easier, for example dressing an 18-inch doll is easier than Barbie doll clothes! Once they succeed with the easier task, progress to the more difficult one.

   My first introduction to origami was folding money. It is still fun to surprise my kids with a bill folded into a bow-tie. Try some of these on your own then teach them to your child. If they enjoy it, consider an origami book. I've even seen inexpensive paper folding kits at the dollar store. 

     Miniatures can be fun to play with. Look for Polly pocket toys, doll houses, and these puzzle erasers.

     Keyboards of any kind- piano or computer require precise controlled movements of each finger. If you can't isolate finger movements, typing by pointing one finger one one letter at a time is slow but still purposeful. Consider a key guard. There are many adapted keyboards such as one with larger letters or one with an ergonomic design

     If you look for a different way to complete a task, you may find your child much more capable than even you realize. This video is an inspiring example of accomplishments despite obvious limitations. 

    For even more fine motor tips, see this guest post about fine motor skills shared during Occupational Therapy month last year. 

***The information provided in this series has been simplified for generalization. I have not met your child so cannot offer individualized therapeutic advice. If you have a concern about your child’s fine motor skills or suspect a delay, seek a referral to a local Occupational Therapist. 

     This 5 day series FINE MOTOR FUN is a part of a larger series by 65 bloggers on the TOS Homeschool Review Crew. See all of the topics here.



  1. These are some really great ideas! Thanks for the post:)

  2. Your series was really informative. Thanks for sharing all these tips and advice.

  3. Excited to try some of these activities at home.


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