10 DIY Montessori fine motor activities for children

Fine motor activities are important in developing writing skills

 

So these easy, DIY activities using household items will be great for practicing and developing fine motor skills!

 

When it comes to creating activities for children to practice and develop fine motor skills, you do not need to spend tons of money. These simple DIY activities using items that you have at home make this perfect for homeschooling or virtual learning families!

 

The importance of fine motor activities

Fine motor development is an important skill that children will need in all aspects of their development.  Fine motor skills aid in the development of the small muscles in their hands, fingers, and thumbs.  The development of these skills help a child with correct pencil grip, writing; and such activities as buttoning, zipping, and tying.  From a young age, young children naturally use their whole hand to grasp, grab and pick up items.  Their small hands need practice developing dexterity and strength frequently.

 

 

Fine motor activities in the Montessori environment

There are many activities that can be introduced in your classroom or homeschool, and even during play time.  In a Montessori primary classroom, there are many areas that include the inclusion of fine motor activities.  In the Language area, there are the Metal Insets.  In the Math area, there is the one to nine Hanging Bead frames.  In the Sensorial area, there are the Knobbed Cylinders.  The most prominent area of the classroom where most fine motor activities are introduced is the Practical Life area.  The Practical Life area is an area where the teacher can use his or her creativity and personality to add fun, engaging activities to the children.

 

 

Most of the the other areas in a Montessori classroom have very specific works that allow for motor skill development. There are ways to add fine motor activities the Montessori curriculum areas of the classroom, and in the Practical Life area you can be as creative as you would like.  One of my favorite areas in a Montessori primary classroom is the Practical Life area.  When I was a classroom teacher, I always integrated various activities in my Practical Life area. I was able to add many new activities to my list of works, and did away with a few as well.   All of the items used in each of these activities use inexpensive items that you can find around your house or at dollar stores.

 

10 DIY activities that promote fine motor development

 

1. Cutting practice

 

Materials needed:

  • scissors
  • hot dog trays
  • envelopes
  • cutting strips

Procedure:

  1. Show child how to hold scissors.
  2. Cut along the lines.
  3. Once all of the lines have been cut,  put cutting strips into the provided envelope.

 

2. Buttoning practice

Materials needed:

  • old shirt
  • tray

Procedure:

  1. Show child how to push button through slit, unbuttoning a few
  2. Have child complete the rest
  3. Show child how to push button through slit, buttoning a few
  4. Have the child complete the rest

 

3. Using chopsticks

Pin this video!

Materials needed:

  • tray
  • chopsticks
  • 2 small bowls
  • pom poms
  • chopsticks helper( if needed)

Procedure:

  1. Show child how to pick up pom poms using chopsticks
  2. Transfer pom poms into other bowl
  3. Have the child pick up pom poms using chopsticks

 

4. Single hole punching

Materials needed:

  • small bowls
  • single hole punches
  • small square pieces of paper
  • basket for paper

Procedure:

  1. Get a paper square
  2. Show the child how to use the paper punch
  3. Hole punch the paper over the bowl
  4. Empty paper holes into trash

 

5. Peeling an orange

Materials needed:

  • spoon
  • tray
  • napkin
  • bowl
  • sponge
  • oranges

Procedure:

  1. Show child how to use the spoon to dig into orange flesh
  2. Use fingers to peel away at the flesh, using the spoon as needed
  3. Place orange peels in napkin
  4. Separate orange slices and place in bowl
  5. Use sponge to wipe tray and spoon
  6. Place napkin in trash

 

6. Squeezing a sponge

Materials needed:

  • sponge
  • 2 bowls
  • food coloring (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Show child how to soak up colored water with sponge
  2. Squeeze out sponge into other bowl
  3. Have the child soak up colored water with sponge
  4. Have the child squeeze out sponge into other bowl
  5. Wipe up any spilled water with sponge

 

7. Transferring using tweezers

Materials needed:

  • 2 small bowls
  • tray
  • tweezers
  • beans of some sort

Procedure:

  1. Show child how to pick up a bean using tweezers
  2. Transfer it to the other bowl
  3. Have the child pick up a bean using tweezers
  4. Have the child transfer it to the other bowl

 

8. Salt or sand tray for writing practice

Materials needed:

  • sand or salt
  • tray
  • letter or number flash cards

Procedure:

  1. Show child how to duplicate letter or number flashcard in sand
  2. Have child practice writing letter or number

 

 

9. Bead stringing

Materials needed:

  • colorful beads
  • tray
  • bowl
  • yarn, string or twine

Procedure:

  1. Show child how to thread beads onto string
  2. Have the child thread beads onto string
  3. To increase difficulty, have show them how to create a pattern

 

10. Pin Poking

Materials needed:

  • giant push pin
  • tray
  • paper with pre drawn shapes
  • piece of cork board or thick foam
  • small bowl for the push pin

Procedure:

  1. Show child how to use the pin poker to poke along the black line
  2. Have the child poke along the black line
  3. Once the shape has been poked all the way around, help them remove the shape

 

 

What to take from this

The most important thing to remember is to develop and enforce safety rules and procedures while giving the lesson of each activity.  That is especially the case for the butter knife with the Banana Slicing, and the pin poker with the Pink Poking work. Also be sure that you reinforce the safety rules and procedures as needed.  The great thing about these DIY fine motor activities is that they can easily be incorporated or even modified to fit into any classroom or homeschool environment!

In the end, choose activities that not only help promote fine motor development, but that your child or children will find fun and interesting!

 

Let me know if you try out any of these activities, and your children reacted to them. Also, if you have any DIY fine motor activity ideas you would added to the list, let me know about them in the comments!

Anitra J.

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38 Comments

  1. Great ways to develop motor skills for children. Have never thought of orange peeling before, indeed it is a great way to develop motor skill while having fun!!

  2. Fine motor skills are really important for child’s overall development. We do not have any montessori school option nearby, I wish we had one here. Thanks for sharing these activities

  3. A very helpful lost of activities, have mostly tried all with my LO but pin poking is something we haven’t done yet. Thanks for sharing

  4. Such great ideas to help encourage motor skills! I’ll have to try some of these with my niece.

  5. Sara says:

    I love the idea of using chopsticks. So simple, but so good for helping with fine motor skills.

  6. These are great fine motor activities for children! I’m excited to try, especially using chopsticks!

  7. These are great activities for improving fine motor skills! My middle boy struggled with fine motor when he was younger – and doing some of these did help a lot!

  8. I can’t believe I never thought of this! The chop stick activity would be so helpful for my son. Thanks!

  9. These are such great fine motor ideas!! I think the hole punch one would be a lot of fun for my kiddos. I’m going to have to try it.

  10. I never even thought of the chopsticks!! This is a great list of ideas for toddlers and pre schoolers!

  11. Great tips for fine motor practice, I loved the chopsticks and the tweezers ideas!

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Yoxani! The tweezers are fun, but the chopsticks rock!

  12. Hey. These are great. My son 2.5 seems to avoid any type of organized activity. It might just be the age or gender but as a Montessori teacher do you find that they grow into it or is there something we can do to help him get more comfortable with these types of play?

    1. Anitra says:

      Hi Stephanie! You definitely want him to be interested in the activities he’s engaging in. I would try appealing to his interests or things he likes. These activities aren’t necessarily organized, you just show them how to do it once, then leave it in a place where they can select it on their own. That is how Montessori works. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  13. These are such great activities especially during this lockdown period since kids are mostly at home. I will definitely be trying these with my toddler!

    1. Anitra says:

      That’s great to hear you’ll be trying a few of these activities, Michelle! Tell me how your kids like them!

  14. Omg both on my kids would love to do the chopsticks with pompoms!! These are all such fun ideas, thanks for sharing!

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Mary! The chopsticks activity is super fun, and was always a hit in my classroom!

  15. These are wonderful activities. I was a Montessori student when I was younger and I remember the day I learned to pour water in school. I poured everything at home after that. I love that you have cutting skills on here as a lot of kids struggle with that until they practice.

    1. Anitra says:

      That’s awesome Kim! Montessori definitely has it’s lasting benefits, and is why I love it so much!

  16. I love all these ideas! Simple, fun, easy ways to help improve fine motor skills!

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Heather! People often think that creating activities for the children is expensive, so I tried to make these as inexpensive as possible!

  17. Another activity we’ve enjoyed for developing fine motor skills is using pipe cleaners and a collender and having the child poke the pipe cleaners through the holes. Lots of fun things!

    1. Anitra says:

      Ronda, that sounds super fun! Simple, easy and great for fine motor development!

  18. Great tips in the article for kids. I followed you on Pinterest too, I love the pins too.

  19. I’ve never tried the pin poking but that and the sand writing look neat!

  20. I love that these are all really nice and easy to achieve!

  21. Crystallace Fenn says:

    The chopsticks idea is great. They can practice with real food too!

  22. Clapping games can also help kids develop their fine motor skills.. It’s a fun way to spend time with your child as well. As children get older, you can find more complicated games and songs to challenge them and add to their skills and fun activities.

  23. These activities look like a lot of fun for young children. Some of these I’d never have thought of 😊

  24. I love the cutting practice. My daughter has been asking about using scissors all the time.

  25. Patricia Chamberlain says:

    These are all great ideas! My daughter loves transferring things with tweezers or spoons and stringing beads!

  26. My son is outgrowing a lot of his babyish toys (he is 2), and I think he would love these activities!

  27. These are all great ideas to give little one’s the best start!

  28. Love this! Both of my boys had bad pencil grip but have naturally learned how to grip the pencil with time and practice.

  29. My sister will love this article and will definitely help her with her toddler! She can start doing some of these activities at home!

  30. Lisa, Casey, Barrett Dog says:

    What wonderful activities. We would have never thought about peeling an orange.

  31. This looks like a great project for younger kids. Developing motor skills is such a wonderful thing to focus on.

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