The best toys for developing fine motor skills
Fine motor skills are so important - using the little muscles in their hands and fingers for puzzles, threading and playing, your child is learning how to control objects, how to dress themselves, they are even gearing up to write.
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There are lots of toys out there than can encourage your child to develop these skills in a fun and creative way.
I'm sharing with you the definitive list of toys for developing fine motor skills
Every one of the toys on this list has been tried, tested and loved by my children.
So whether you're looking for a gift or just something to distract a busy pre-schooler then read on, there are ideas to suit any budget and they all have our seal of approval!
These double-sided squares feature a 24-pin circle on one side and a 5x5 pin grid on the other and come with a pack of 120 elastic bands for stretching and looping over the pins.
A 140-piece set of colourful flexible plastic straws and connectors with tonnes of potential for building models.
Creation Station animal lacing
A set of 4 large, flexible plastic animal shapes, in different colours with matching laces to enjoy poking through. I keep ours in my bag for entertaining the kids at cafes and in the car.
This is such a fun introduction to colours, shapes and textures whilst developing fine motor skills - you have to twist the circles, turn the triangles and align the squares all in size order.
An activity board that helps build dexterity - each door and window has a latch that hooks, snaps, clicks, or slides to reveal colourful animals underneath. One of our all-time favourites.
Brio are known for their high quality wooden toys and this is no exception - comes with 6 wooden shapes to post in the holes. We love the pull out tray at the bottom to empty it.
Learning Resources handy scoopers
These help children practice scissor actions and are great for manipulating loose parts, as well as sand and water play .
We have bucket loads in our house and with good reason, it's fun for all ages and endlessly creative. So durable that my children still play with my old bricks which are good as new.
36 rainbow pebbles in 6 sizes and colours which are perfect for stacking and manipulating. Comes with 20 handy activity cards and a storage tub.
This little set is perfect for learning how to balance objects; the wooden animals are also great for small world play and it comes with a handy storage bag.
Manipulating play-doh with fingers and tools is such a fun way to develop fine motor skills. For lots of playdough ideas, including a home-made recipe, check out my blog post.
Melissa & Doug giant lacing beads
We love these brightly coloured beads - they are in a variety of shapes, and come with 2 laces and a wooden storage box - a really colourful way to develop hand-eye coordination.
I purchased our set after finding out it was my eldest's favourite toy at school. Solidly made and really easy to use, it's the ideal open-ended construction kit for little fingers.
Stacking rainbows are so versatile as they're totally open ended - think houses, ramps, tunnels, you name it! Grimm's toys are super quality and have a lovely natural wood texture.
Learning Resources jumbo tweezers
These are probably our most used fine motor toy! Perfect for adding to sensory trays, they really help fingers develop strength and prepare for that all important pencil grip.
Melissa & Doug basic skills board
This board is such a fun way for your child to learn how to dress themselves, with removable parts that have a button, zip, laces, buckle, popper and belt to practice on.
The ideal size for young children to manipulate, I like how each bolt shape has a different number of edges, from 1 (circle) to 8 (octagon).
This cotton reel set is a two-for-one in fine motor skills - it comes with string for threading, and on their own they are perfect for stacking.
A great way to introduce patterns and symmetry to older children whilst honing fine motor skills. This set comes with 5 boards, 1,000 pegs and a little booklet of suggestions.
If you are new to Geomag then this is a good place to start; the 32 piece set includes magnetic spheres, rods and panels which you can experiment and create with endlessly.
These colourful octagonal shapes can be clipped together to make so many things - flowers, crowns, animals... it comes with an illustrated guide to get you started.
Milly & Ted magnetic fishing game
This little game is ideal for popping in your bag, and using the magnetic fishing rods to pick up the sea creatures really works that hand-eye coordination.
These colourful magnetic tiles are currently Mr 2's favourite! They have really strong magnets so you can create big structures from the selection of squares, rectangles and triangles.
Learning Resources jumbo droppers
We love these droppers as they are easy for even the smallest of hands to use. Perfect for strengthening finger muscles and exploring concepts such as volume.