playdough fine motor
Lots of fine motor activities to strengthen the muscles in a child’s hands and fingers are sure to give them a good start when it comes to writing, here is a roundup of my favourite fine motor skills activities.

1. Playdough

Play dough is one of the simplest ways to encourage children to use their hands, manipulating playdough is great for developing the muscles needed for writing and you can add a multitude of accessories including rolling pins, small world toys and cutters.

2. Sorting

Children always enjoy sorting, you can sort natural materials such as conkers and leaves or fill a tub with different coloured pompoms and bowls. The key with this activity is the utensils you provide, large tweezers and different sized spoons are good options, as well as nets and ladles. To add some challenge, allow the children to time themselves which is a great way to get boys involved.

3. Balancing

Balancing objects needs precise movements, you can keep this simple with blocks for younger children or make it harder for older children. Use oasis to stand golf tees up and challenge the children to balance marbles on top of them.

4. Threading

Threading is one of those activities which is so simple but so good for developing writing skills. You can start on a large scale by threading scarves around fencing and move onto threading items onto shoe laces. Try threading pasta or beads.

5. Hammering

Hammering is brilliant for getting every child involved, the element of risk makes it a real winner. Remember to use safety goggles and risk assess the activity, for example I only allow two children at a time in the presence of an adult. You can hammer golf tees into cardboard boxes, water beads or try hammering real nails into wood or vegetables such as pumpkins.

These activities cover the following Early Learning Goals

ELG 04 – Moving and Handling
Children show good control and coordination in large and small movements. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
ELG 08 – Making Relationships
Children play cooperatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity.

This post was written by Laura England of Little Miss Early Years

Laura England thumbnail Laura is the lead practitioner at Blythe Bridge Day Nursery, she is currently a trainee early years’ teacher and has a monthly column in  Teach Early Years Magazine. She is interested in everything early years but is passionate about teaching through the children’s interests,  setting up enabling environments and the adults role during play.

Laura writes her own blog over at, you can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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