Home Education

Developing Fine and Gross Motor Skills Through Play

The preschool years are a prime time in children’s lives when they are developing essential skills that will help them when they begin structured learning. By training the small muscles in their hands and fingers your preschooler will be ready to start writing when it’s time. In a similar way when your child learns to control their larger muscles they develop their coordination and focusing skills.

The good news is that developing fine and gross motor skills can easily happen through play In fact, you may already be giving your children opportunities that are strengthening their fine and gross motor skills and not even realize it. I hope to encourage you in what you are already doing well and inspire you with some new ideas that will help your child have fun while developing these essential skills.

5 Resources for Developing Fine Motor Skills

Many of the following resources you probably already have on hand. The best part is your little one will just think they are playing and not even realize they are developing their fine motor skills at the same time. 

Play Dough

The rolling and shaping of play dough is a fantastic way to work the small muscles in a child’s hands. Set out some play dough and fun tools, like cookie cutters and a rolling pin for your child to play with. Play dough mats are also a great way to use play dough and teach at the same time.

Peg Puzzles

Puzzles are great for teaching spatial awareness, but they are a great fine motor tool too. Playing with peg puzzles helps children develop the tripod grasp, which will make learning to hold a pencil easier. 

Duplos

Set out a bucket of Duplos and let your little one create. Duplos are an awesome way for your child to develop their fine motor and creative skills.

Padlock & Keys

If you are anything like my family, you probably have keys that you have kept but have no idea what they go to. Please tell me we’re not the only ones….

Put those keys to good use and make a fun fine motor activity for your preschooler. Get a cheap padlock at the dollar store. Then put the key that unlocks the padlock along with other random, useless keys on a ring and let your child try to find the right key that unlocks the padlock.

Cups

Use cups in sensory bins or a sink of water. Holding a cup, scooping, and pouring all work the muscles in the hand. Plus it keeps little ones entertained and busy, which is always a good thing.

5 Fun & Easy Gross Motor Activities

Has your child ever had a day that was rough, but the day improved greatly after your child had a chance to run and play? Children need opportunities to work their large muscles everyday. Here are a few easy ways to provide them the opportunity to do so.

Balance Beam

Put a long piece of painter’s tape on the floor or use a pool noodle cut in half lengthwise as a balance beam. Encourage your preschooler to walk across it without falling off.

Obstacle Course

Set up an obstacle course using furniture and items around your home. The great thing about obstacle courses is that they can be tailored to target specific skills your child needs to work on, such as skipping, crawling, walking backwards, etc.

Toss

Help your child develop their hand/eye coordination by tossing a ball or soft object back and forth to you. You could also make laundry a fun activity for them by having them toss the rolled up socks into a laundry basket.

Dance Party

One of our favorite ways to get the wiggles out and brighten everyone’s mood is with a dance party. Turn on some fun music and let loose with your little ones.

Playground

Playgrounds offer many opportunities to work a variety of large muscles. Taking your child to the park or letting them play outside on your own playset is an easy and productive way to develop gross motor skills.

If you’re looking for more activities for your preschooler be sure to check out my blog, Many Seasons of Motherhood. My youngest two are preschoolers right now and teaching little ones through play is a passion of mine.


Misty is a child of God, wife, and mom of five, in the midst of many seasons of motherhood. Time goes fast. It is her heart to encourage other moms to find joy in each season of motherhood and make precious memories in the process. She shares about homeschooling, motherhood, and family at Many Seasons of Motherhood. You can connect with Misty on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Leave a Reply