October 2, 2022

Every day, children learn to use their thumbs. Preschoolers and babies who use crayons and rattles are both examples of this. These skills can be learned through play, which is as good as any lesson. Your child won’t even know they have toys that are good for fine motor skills. “working.”Scary Mommy reached Emma Hubbard as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist to learn more about the essential toys for strengthening fine motor skills.

The Expert

Emma HubbardShe is a certified pediatric occupational therapist, with more than 12 years of experience. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Newcastle. She is also the CEO and founder of Brightest BeginningA website and YouTube channel designed to assist new parents. She shares her knowledge and experience on all things related to child development, sleep, toilet training, and feeding.

What toys can help you improve your fine motor skills?

To start, it’s helpful to better understand what fine motor skills entail. Hubbard stated that these skills are vital in preparing children for independence. “feed themselves, get dressed, brush their teeth and hair, open containers, draw, and write.”

Practice makes perfect, just like any new skill. Hubbard recommends toys that are durable and simple to use for children. “encourage a child to use small finger movements”These are the things that you need to know. “appropriate for their development”to avoid frustration, and provide the right challenges

What to look for in the best toys for fine motor skills

To help you find the right toy for where your kiddo is at developmentally, here’s what you need to know about emerging skills for the toddler and preschool age range.

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For Toddlers

Hubbard said that toddlers are still learning to pick up small objects with their index and thumb fingers, continuing on from their birth. They are also learning how to place small objects into small containers. “how to rotate their fingers and wrist for accurate placement.”

Hubbard suggests a variety of toys to help these skills be strengthened.

For Preschoolers

Hubbard stated that preschoolers are eager and willing to learn self-care skills. These skills include button placement and other skills that will help them prepare for kindergarten.

She believes toys are great for preschoolers. “threading and lacing toys, puzzles, play dough, drawing implements, Lego and [other] blocks, dolls with dress up clothes, and imaginative play kits.”They also benefit from toys that are recommended for toddlers. “further developing their hand-eye coordination, finger strength and ability to isolate their fingers to complete intricate tasks.”

Using Hubbard’s advice, we’ve rounded up the best fine motor skills toys that will entertain your kids (and exercise those little fingers), with everything from STEM-based toys to more open-ended and creative picks.

01

A set of Chunky Lacing beads to entertain for hours

This colorful set of Lacing beadsThis is a classic method to help your LO improve his pincer grasp and dexterity. The set contains 30 beads of rainbow-hued colors in five different shapes. One customer stated, “Made with good quality!!! My kid plays with this for hours.” It has entertained them for hours on end.” Reviewers note the set may be used in many ways including “beading, colors, counting, shapes, sorting etc.”Two sturdy laces are included in the kit. The set comes with a wooden storage container. It is a popular choice for parents.

Recommended Age3 years or older

02

This is a best-selling game that teaches fine motor skills.

This is a very simple game. GameThis game is very popular with preschoolers. The spinner is a great tool to improve fine motor skills. You can aim to collect one acorn for each color. “stolen”The sneaky squirreltweezer is used to grasp and refine the game. Parents report that the game takes just 10 minutes for two and 15 minutes for three. “If you’re on the fence, GET this game for your kiddos,”One parent raved. “It’s perfect for teaching turn taking, understanding matching colors and they won’t realize they are really working on perfecting those fine motor skills.”Another reviewer said that parts work well and are easy to use. “The spinner is great–doesn’t get stuck like other games I have.”

Recommended Age3 years or older

03

This Travel-Ready Peg Stacker Board Set

This Construction setChildren can build three-dimensional structures and improve their hand-eye coordination with 25 colorful chunky pegs and an 8-inch crepe rubber board. The storage box is equipped with a handle for easy transport. “They get input from the pushing and pulling motions and there are a bunch of different ways to use this while getting educational [play],”One happy reviewer explained. Another satisfied customer raved about its durability, writing: “You can stack, sort by color and count them. The board has survived our playroom with three boys and twin girls and shows no signs of the abuse it’s endured.”

Recommended Age2 years or more

04

The Dino They’ll Love Building (& Taking Apart)

This tool kit is ideal for children who are fascinated by tools. dinosaurOnce the brachiosaurus assembly is complete, it encourages dexterity, problem-solving skills, and imaginative play. “The mouth, neck, legs, and tail move, which makes it even better. A screwdriver comes in the set and makes a clicking sound to let you know it’s tight, which I love,”One reviewer agreed. The plastic parts are smooth so they can’t hurt little fingers as your builder constructs (and deconstructs) their dino again and again with the easy-to-use screwdriver. Do you need more dinos to build? Try the Four-pack of dinosThis is an incredible deal.

Recommended Age3 years or older

05

This Garden-Themed Set That’s Dishwasher-Safe

This 44-piece garden is unique and will help children love nature. Construction setGreen Toys One reviews noted that the set includes petunias, daisies, and lilies. It is beautiful. “simple but endless, creative and practical, fine motor skills and problem solving… It has it all.”The parts are made from used milk jugs. They are free of BPA, phthalates, PVC, and paint that could crack. Everything is easy to clean (they can go in the dishwasher) and reviewers say they’re super durable: “The pieces are well made and sturdy. They’ve held up for years now.”

Recommended Age3 years or older

06

This Popular Blade-Free Scissors and ActivityPad Set is a great option

Scissor skills are key in preschool/kindergarten and they help children work on their hand-eye coordination. Plus, what child doesn’t love cutting paper? This highly-rated product is yours! Melissa and Doug have a setAmazon has over 15,000 reviews. The 20-page booklet includes pre-printed activities. These activities include simple mazes, more complex puzzles, and sequencing problems that will help children improve the use of their scissor. Reviewers loved the fact that the included scissors were all plastic and didn’t have a blade, but they still cut well. Got a lefty? No worries. Reviewers agree. “it works for left or right handed kiddos.” It’s also available in a pack with Three different activity books.

Recommended Age4 years or older

07

An Egg-cellent Sorting system for the Younger Crowd

These Hide & Squeak eggsThese toys are rare toys that entertain both toddlers and preschoolers. The eggshells can be decorated with faces that show different emotions. This allows children to practice matching colors and shapes. Children can practice hand-eye coordination with the replacement of eggsshells or chicks. When you press on the chicks, a gentle peeping sound is created. One happy mama said, “Overall, this is a great product, super sturdy and has many uses that can grow with your child. We even added a balance game by trying to stack the empty shells. […] The eggs are large enough to not be a choking hazard.”The set comes in a yellow plastic container that has a latch. It’s a great way for children to practice their fine motor skills!

Recommended Age18 months and older

08

These Clever Building Blocks For Preschoolers & Kindergarteners

These are for slightly older kids. little building piecesInstructions for making a rainbow are included. The 240 BPA and phthalate-free plastic pieces measure 0.75 x0.5 inches so they can be combined to make mosaics.

The tube is light and thin so it can be easily carried in a bag. One shopper stated that the tube is lightweight and slim so it can be carried easily in a bag. “[I] bought these as a recommendation from my son’s teacher in helping with fine motor [skills]. He loves these and is entertained for a good solid hour.” To up the feel-good factor: they’re made in Denmark using 100% wind energy. To make your collection even more fun, add an accessory. pink glitter, neonOr pastelExhilarating challenges to set them or challenge them Puzzle by number.

Recommended Age5 years old or older

09

Lacing boards made with friends and family that last for years

Sometimes the simplest activities keep kids’ attention the longest. These five farm-themed activities will keep your kids’ attention for a long time. lacing boardsMelissa & Doug products last. As toddlers grow into preschoolers who are passionate about weaving and become skilled weavers, Melissa & Doug products will be durable. They’ll work on dexterity and hand-eye coordination with this fun challenge. One parent said that she’s using them to get ahead of the next school year. “I bought this for my four year old who is in Pre-K to help with motor skills and to build those hand muscles that are needed for kindergarten activities. […] Super fun learning activity for younger ones.”The laces come in a variety of colors to make it harder to match colors.

Recommended Age3 years or older

10

The Ultimate Lab Set for Budding Scientists

This colorful 12-piece set is for all budding scientists Science setIt is great fun. The test tubes’ caps can be removed and put back on. To improve pincer grasp, you can also use the eyedropper and tweezers. Children love to pour from one test tube to another, which helps with hand eye coordination. One reviewer said that they were excellent. “like[d] how chunky these are for little children. Easy for them to use and my 3 year old son loves squeezing the liquid up with the squeezer and then letting it out in a separate container.”The activity cards included will help guide your child through science experiments.

Recommended Age3 years or older

11

A Mesmerizing Gears Board For Younger Tots

This chart shows the cause-and-effect relationship for babies who turn one (or older). moving gears toyMany reviewers agree that it’s suitable for growing toddlers. The 11 interchangeable gears spin, play music, and make sounds — and they also light up. Little ones can stack, move and spin the gears with their hands. One parent said, “It’s a very simple toy, but my toddler likes it a lot. He enjoys putting the gears on their slots and then playing the music as a reward. […] This helps in fine motor [skills] and in their problem solving skills, too.” There’s also a convenient carrying handle at the top of the board.

Recommendation age12 months or older

12

Fun and challenging board for pattern-matching

This Problem-solving toyEncourages children’s spatial skills and pattern-matching skills through matching the challenge cards with colored rubber bands You can also create your own designs. This is where elastic rubber bands come in handy. “build great dexterity for [kids’] hands and fine motor skills,”One review said so. The set includes a woodenboard, metal pegs, and 35 pattern cards. Five of these cards are blank for DIY. There is also a variety rubber bands. There are no sharp edges. One parent said, “I like that the nails / pegs have rounded tops so [they] are not sharp to the touch and while they hold the bands on the board securely, they don’t snag when [you’re] wanting to remove the bands either.”

Recommended Age3 years or older

13

The best way to practice self-care skills.

14

A collection of themed play-doh accessories with tons of fun accessories

This set is a great way to make the dentist easier to understand and encourage little hands from getting moldy. Play-DohTeeth that need to repaired. The drill has a button that children can press. The set includes a toothbrush, a braces roll, toothbrush, pick, and flosser. Hubbard suggests play dough as an option for small muscles. The set will keep children entertained for a long time. The set comes with eight containers of Play-Doh. One parent enthused: “Such an excellent idea and they executed it perfectly by creating this engaging toy. Great quality and easy cleanup. 5 stars!”

Recommended Age3 years or older

15

A Childhood Classic — Now Improved For Your Kiddo

This classic toy from your childhood honed your own fine motor skills even though you didn’t realize it. The Version new and improvedIt comes with six templates, 200 colored pins and LED bulbs. These are portable and battery-powered, so you can take it with you everywhere. The patterns are simple and children will love creating their own masterpieces. “write”You can send them a simple message, or their name.

According to one reviewer, professionals love this toy. “I’m a therapist and this is a game that’s always in my treatment bag for all age levels. Great for fine motor skills. My younger students have fun by just inserting them in or I’ll ask them to follow a 2 color pattern. My older students have a blast trying to imitate the pictures/designs presented to them.”

Recommended Age4 years or older

16

The Sweetest Pineapple set That Hones Emotional Skills

Children love exploring emotions and playing with them Pineapple – Big Feelings. 26 adorable face pieces must be grasped and manipulated, which gives little hands a great workout. One reviewer shared the following information: “I am a pediatric [Occupational Therapist] and love using this pineapple as a tool for introducing emotions. Also doubles as a great fine motor toy.”The pineapple is available with two sides so that children may build both faces simultaneously.

Recommended Age3 years or older

17

Sensory tool for fine motor skills

This is a great addition any sensory table. tool setThis set is great for fine motor skills, such as writing, cutting, and other fine motor skills. Reviewers say that the set can be used to transfer small objects like pom-poms or count bears. It can also be used to play with food items such as beans, rice and oats. The set comes with scoopers, tweezers, and droppers that can be used to assist pre-scissors.

Recommendation age3 years or older

Expert:

Emma HubbardFounder of Brightest Beginning

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