Early Childhood

Fine motor skills


I am in a Pre-K classroom (age range is 4 with a few 5's) and would like to improve the students fine motor skills. Are there any lessons plans or activities that might help?

Gabriella Fiorino
Gabriella Fiorino
395 Activity Points

Hey Gabriella,

   I have several ideas that you can do to help students improve their fine motor skills.  One idea is to have students use Q-tips to paint.  When I visited a Pre-K classroom, the teacher placed several small containers of paint on the students’ assigned tables and provided them with Q-tips.  She had them dip their Q-tips in the paint and trace lines and other shapes.  If you want to expand this activity to feature a science concept, you could discuss color mixing where students mix the different colored paints before they paint their images.  Another activity you could do is have students use tweezers to pick up different objects.  When I visited another Pre-K classroom, the teacher had students use tweezers to pick up pom-poms and place them on large black lines that were in the shape of letters.  Although this was more of a literacy activity, you could adapt this activity to have students use tweezers to pick up various objects related to your science topic, such as plastic bugs if you are conducting a lesson on insects. 

You could also have students engage in engineering based activities that incorporate fine motor skills.   For example, students can build different structures out of marshmallows and sticks where they would have to push the sticks in the marshmallows to connect them.  Finally, you could have students use squirt bottles to water classroom plants where they have to push the handle to expel water.  When I completed my field placement last semester, my teacher mentor had students plant their own seeds where they used squirt bottles to keep the soil moist.   


Michelle Biddinger
Michelle Biddinger
405 Activity Points

Measuring and mixing ingredients to make playdough, and then play with it will strengthen children's fine motor muscles. See the NSTA Early Years blog posts about playdough at 



Best wishes,


Peggy Ashbrook
Margaret Ashbrook
9535 Activity Points


Great fine motor skills are so important for our learners and I am glad you are valuing that! 

Here are a few things that have helped mine!

  • Using jumbo tweezers during sorting activities or letter mats
  • making directed pipe cleaner animals the twisting and bending really works those muscles
  • lacing cards 

I put the lacing cards and tweezers in station activities so that they are using them often! I hope this helps!

Emily Collins
Emily Collins
1666 Activity Points

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