The Ultimate Guide to Developing Fine Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills are important to everyday activities such as tying shoes, writing names, and buttoning a shirt. Little hands need practice to develop these skills and strengthen hand muscles.

Ultimate Guide to Developing Fine Motor Skills from #finemotor

What Are Fine Motor Skills and Why Develop Them? is a great place to start if you aren’t sure what fine motor skills really are or why they are important.

Fine Motor Activities for Babies & Toddlers:

Fabric Sensory Box for Toddlers–little fingers explore textures and practice pulling fabric strips out of a hole.

Gel Sensory Bags–let little fingers explore textures and practice manipulating items.

Rubber Band Guitar for Babies–let little fingers try to grasp and pluck the rubberbands to make noise.

DIY Shrinky Dink Ribbon Pull Toy–little fingers pull the ribbon through the holes

10 Fine Motor Activities for Babies & Toddlers from Happy Hooligans

Sticky Sheep from Twodaloo–stick pom poms on contact paper

Types of Fine Motor Movements

Essentially, I believe there are five basic movements that all fine motor skills activities revolve around–tearing, pinching, cutting, lacing, twisting. These basic movements are the basis for so many skills we use in our everyday life.

Tearing paper develops Fine Motor Skills @happybrownhouse


Focus on Fine Motor Skills~Tearing

Torn Paper Nest Craft–an easy spring craft for little fingers

Paper Ripping Activity from Craftulate includes different paper textures

Torn Paper Collages from Homegrown Friends

The Train Themed Unwrapping Activity from Craftulate is a clever way to use fine motor skills in an everyday situation. And let’s face it, what toddler doesn’t like getting into things?

Piggy Bank Fine Motor Skills practice from @happybrownhouse


Focus on Fine Motor Skills~Pinching

Rainy Day Drip Painting from Minne-Mama is a fun way to use medicine droppers and practice pinching fingers together.

Button Sorting Cups from About Family Crafts is an easy way to practice pinching and color sorting at the same time.

DIY Felt Button Chain is a great way to practice pinching and manipulating buttons.

The Bubble Wrap Learning ideas from Meaningful Mama are a fun way to target a variety of skills.

DIY Cardboard Construction Play Set from Happy Hooligans is a quick and frugal idea.

Rubberband Passing Game–so much fun!


Focus on Fine Motor Skills~Cutting from @happybrownhouse


Focus on Fine Motor Skills~Cutting

DIY Chopstick Tongs an easy way to make a pair of tongs for …

Number Punch~use a hole punch to practice squeezing handles

Cutting tissue paper to make a Stained Glass Butterfly Art is always popular at our house.

Cutting Practice & Learning Shapes from Learn With Play at Home

5 Scissor Exercises for Kids to Develop Scissor Skills


DIY Sewing/Lacing Cards from @happybrownhouse


Focus on Fine Motor Skills~Lacing

Pool Noodle “Beads” Lacing–Is there anything more fun than giant foamy beads for little hands?

Toilet Paper Roll Lacing Tools–A unique idea for recycling toilet paper rolls.

DIY Foam Lacing Cards–easy to make foam lacing cards

Baby Gate Weaving–large scale weaving!

18+ Fine Motor Activities for Kids Using Yarn–great list of ideas!

Giant Lacing Spider Web from Fun at Home With Kids

Feather Beading is simple and fun for kids.

I love the Rainbow Lacing Busy Bag from Coffee Cups and Crayons! So cute!

Child’s Sewing Basket–I like the variety of skill level in this basket

Homemade Weaving Looms from Buggy & Buddy

Twisting nuts and bolts for fine motor skills practice from @happybrownhouse


Focus on Fine Motor Skills~Twisting

Heather from Crayon Box Chronicles and her son set up a DIY Geoboard with lots of twisting and then they played!

Tie-riffic Fun with Twist Ties is a clever idea for using leftover twist ties from Learn With Play at Home.

The DIY Latch Boards from My Life of Travels and Adventures are such a neat idea!

Fine Motor Skills Wheels from Lalymom are so fabulous! Kids will love these, especially if you use the family pictures.

Fine Motor Resources:

100 Household Items for Fine Motor Skills from @happybrownhouse

100 Household Items for Fine Motor Skills is a post I wrote that helps your take a look at normal household items in a new light and encourages you to use what you have at home to strengthen fine motor skills with objects children will use in day-to-day interactions.

10 Favorite Toys for Fine Motor Skills

10 Favorite Toys for Fine Motor Skills–pretty self-explanatory, huh? :)

Homemade Playdough Recipe–my favorite recipe! Free printable recipe card included.

10 Ways to Boost the Power of Playdough from @happybrownhouse

10 Ways to Boost the Power of Playdough–Think playdough is just rolling snakes? Think again.

Need even more ideas for playdough play? Here’s my Playdough Pinterest Board

50 DIY Fine Motor Toys For Fine Motor Development

Sensory Bins: The What the How & The Why by Sharla Kostelyk

Sensory Bins: The What, The How & The Why written by my friend, Sharla. This ebook is a great place to start to get ideas and understand why sensory bins are perfect for little hands. While sensory bins have many uses, there are many fine motor benefits!

Basic Shapes For Beginners: A Hands-on Approach to Pre-Writing Strokes for Preschoolers written by my friend, Heather. This book is perfect if you are just starting to work with your little one to develop pre-writing strokes. I have been using some of the activities with my youngest son. It is a great first step for little hands.

ultimate guides hosted by iHomeschool NetworkThis post is a part of iHomeschool Network’s Ultimate Guides lists. Visit iHomeschool Network to see more Ultimate Guides–we’ve already done the research for you!

Dog’s Colorful Day

Dog’s Colorful Day is a fun book for young children. The book naturally leads to learning activities focusing on colors and numbers. It’s a favorite around our house.

Dog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting

About the book:

Dog starts off the day with one black spot on his ear. But it seems that wherever he goes, he runs, rolls, and trots right into colors. As he wanders around town, Dog collects spots made of red jam, blue paint, pink ice cream, and more. When he finally arrives back home, Dog has ten different colored spots. And then it’s bath time for this colorful canine, who makes learning colors and numbers easy, messy, and fun!

Dog's Colorful Day Activity

Asher has finally started to join in the learning fun! While his attention span is still very short at this point, he definitely has a desire to join us at the table for activities he can do. At 22 months, he can count to ten with minimal assistance. One of the skills we have been focusing on is color recognition.

Combining the need to work on colors, his interest in dogs, and his counting skills, we spent some time enjoying Dog’s Colorful Day. After we were finished reading and pointing to all the colors on Dog, Asher used the dot markers to make dots on a Dog printable from Making Learning Fun. He loves dot markers, so this was a perfect activity for him.

When he finished, we hung his masterpiece on the refrigerator and cleaned up. Asher didn’t think he was clean enough and helped himself to a bath like Dog. Ahem…

bathtub silliness after Dog's Colorful Day activity

Jonah wanted in on the learning fun, too, so I made some printable activities of our own to focus on more advanced skills like, identifying tallies,  reading color/number words, and reading a “key” using color-by-number. I thought I’d share it with you and your little one.

Dog's Colorful Day Kindergarten Pack

This pack is full of cards for matching games, color-by-number pages, and more! Download it free today! (Link below)

Dog's Colorful Day Kindergarten Pack (3327)

Reminder: When sharing, please link to this blog post, not to the download url. For personal use only. These files may not be uploaded to any other site. A book and a Big Idea from iHomeschool Network

Looking for more picture book fun? Be sure to visit the iHomeschool Network for A Book and a Big Idea, a blog hop where iHn bloggers share some of their favorite picture books and coordinating enrichment activities!

Roll-a-Monster Game {Free Printable}

Roll-a-Monster Game by Happy Brown House

Using the book If You’re A Monster And You Know It as our starting point, we played a Roll-A-Monster to review body parts and build our own silly monsters. It’s a fun little book that grabbed Jonah’s attention.

If You're a Monster and You Know It

Monster Body Parts Prep

Using craft felt, I made some simple shaped body parts for the monster.

Roll-a-Monster Game from Happy Brown House

I free-handed my monster shapes and cut them out of inexpensive felt from the craft store.


Roll-A-Monster Game Printable

Once the felt monster pieces were ready, I created a printable to go along with the game. I’m offering the Roll-A-Monster Game and the directions to you so you can spend some time giggling with your own “Little Monster.”

Roll-a-Monster Game {Free Printable} from Happy Brown House

Download Roll-a-Monster Game (3312)

How to play the Roll-a-Monster Game:

  1. Roll the dice.
  2. Count the dots.
  3. Look at the chart to see what monster body part to add to your monster (Download below)
  4. Place the correct body part on your monster.
  5. Now, it is the other person’s turn.
  6. If you roll a number that you’ve already used the body part (like feet), roll again. If you roll a number the second time, and you still can’t go, then your turn is over.


Happy Monster

Other Favorite Monster Books:

go away big green monsterGo Away, Big Green Monster!

there was an old monsterThere Was An Old Monster!

glad monster, sad monsterGlad Monster, Sad Monster

Bye-bye big bad bullybugBye-Bye, Big Bad Bullybug!

Monsters don't eat broccoliMonsters Don’t Eat Broccoli

tickle monsterTickle Monster

nighty night, little green monsterNighty Night, Little Green Monster

B is for Bugs {Free Printable}

Our life has been full of creepy, crawly bugs lately.

We’ve watched caterpillars grow and change into butterflies. We’ve stopped to watch a parade of ants and then watched them problem-solve when the sidewalk chalk paint interrupted their procession…And don’t even get me started about the war the Mr. has been waging with the wasps around Happy Brown House!

We’ve made Stained Glass Butterfly Art and Spider Web Snacks.

And just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore bugs….we did some more.

Bug Fingerprint ArtTo be honest, I’m so glad we did. I love that I have his fingerprint drawings from his last night as a four-year-old…forever.

B is for Bugs Fingerprint Art Printable

Since we’re celebrating a birthday around here, I thought I’d share a little present with you!

Free Download: Bb is for Bugs Fingerprint Art Printable


This printable is FREE of charge and you are welcome to download it for you personal and/or classroom use only. However, free or purchased printables are NOT to be reproduced, hosted, sold, or stored on any other website or electronic retrieval system (such as Scribd or Google docs). My printables are copyright protected and I appreciate your help in keeping them that way. :)

Pound the Sound: a sensory sound game for preschoolers

In my last post, I shared about Preschool Hammer Practice using common household items. Today, we’re going to extend the activity by adding some letter sound practice!

Pound the Sound: a sensory game for preschoolers

Prep your materials:

Using a marker, write letters on your piece of styrofoam. You can choose target letters that you are working on, or write the entire alphabet, that’s up to you.

Pound the Sound: a sensory sound game for preschoolers

Ideas for Play:

  • Say a letter name. Have your child find the letter and “pound their golf tee into the letter.
  • Say a letter sound. Have your child “pound” their golf tee into the letter that makes that sound.
  • Say a word. Have your child “pound” their golf tee into the letter that begins with that sound.
  • Say a word. Have your child “pound” their golf tee into the letter that ends with that sound.
  • Use a set of beginning/ending sound picture cards. Your child will draw a card from the pile and “pound” the corresponding sound.

Math Ideas~ I could totally see this working for numbers, too! {It was just more fun to have a catchy name like “Pound the Sound.”}

  • Say a number. Have them find it and “pound” the number.
  • Math Facts! Have them “pound” the answer.

Pound the Sound: a sensory sound game for preschoolers

Jonah absolutely LOVED this. I always try to use different words when we practice sounds. I want to ensure he’s really paying attention to the sound, not just memorizing certain words that I use over and over. So, I pull out really random things…which results in giggles all around. All that to say, get creative and have fun!

What other ideas do you have to extend this activity? Tell us in the comments!

Preschool Hammer Practice

One of Jonah’s favorite things to do is practice using a hammer…preschool style. If we’re working in the basement, he often asks for this activity to work alongside of us. This is a trick I learned while I was in college, but it’s probably all over Pinterest already. I’m sharing it anyway for the two of you out there that haven’t seen it yet. :)

Preschool Hammer Practice

Preschool Hammer Practice



Using the golf tees as nails, let your child practice using a hammer. It’s fun to let them choose their design, but for an added level of difficulty, have them make a pattern.

Preschool Hammer Practice

Target Skills:

  • Pincer grasp (helps in handwriting)
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Life skills

Mommy & Me: Shape Building

I’ve got a post over at Totally Tots today sharing a fun and easy shape building activity. It’s a super simple one to make…like 2 seconds. Easy-peasy!

Jonah and I took some time while Asher was hanging with Daddy to build some shapes. (You can see the tutorial for setting up this activity in my Totally Tots post.)

I love watching him think.

This activity provided him plenty of opportunity for problem solving. It also provided him the chance to make choices for how to do something. There was an end goal, but he had to decide how to make it happen. While I provided initial support, I backed off rather quickly and let him decide how to make his shapes.

Once we made some of the basic shapes, I showed Jonah how to make some 3D shapes. He thought this was a fantastic idea and had fun exploring after the “formal” activity time was over.

We have added this activity to our “Busy Bags” set. It is a self-directed activity that doesn’t require my help and he can explore at his leisure. It is fantastic for those times when I’m nursing and I need Jonah to chill out a little so he won’t distract Asher.