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Fine motor skills are important to develop. From cutting with scissors, using utensils or learning to write these skills take time and patience to develop but they can also be fun. I have three children. I have a six year old with autism and twin neurotypical three year olds. These are some of their favorite toys that are also secretly helping with fine Motor skills.
Pop beads are a fun way to build hand strength and coordination. These colorful beads were hard for my little ones at first but they quickly got the hang of them and started making necklaces, snakes, dragons and other monsters.
Discovery Putty is a type of therapy putty with objects hidden inside. There are lots of different types with different objects hidden: animals, dinosaurs, trains, etc. so there is something for every kids interest. In addition to being a great way to grow grip strength and dexterity this type of activity can also be very regulating.
My kids love this scissor skills workbook (yes, they actually love what is really a workbook). It is full of fun pictures to cut. Because I have three kids I also got a fun set of extra scissors which led to lots more great scissor skills practice.
Tape Activity Book
The Tape Activity book was a huge hit with my six year old starting when he was about four. He loved it so much we had to buy more wiki tape for it (an easy buy from Michaels or sometimes the dollar store). It is pretty simple in design. It has various pictures and youR child tapes over them. When Ross started using the book he still needed my assistance to help rip the tape but by the second roll he had figured it out.
This classic toy has lots of fine motor benefits. It builds hand strength and dexterity plus you can add in scissors and other tools to practice with those as well. My twins currently love to play pretend kitchen with their playdough.
Playfoam is a fun alternative to play dough (with the advantage that it doesn’t dry out). You can often find single color packages, perfect for small gifts, at the dollar store or bullseye section of Target. My kids also love the number and letter sets (picture/link below).
Fine Motor Tool Set
The Learning Resources Fine Motor Tool Set includes four tools; a tweezers, a baller, a scooper and a syring (those definitely aren’t their titles, just ours). We use this set with kinetic sand, play foam, water, and water beads.
My kids love kinetic sand! It is a very regulating activity to most children as well as being a great way to build hand strength and coordination. We pour the kinetic sand into plastic boxes and use it in conjunction with the fine motor set. They also make portable boxes of kinetic sand and colored sand as well.
Water beads are another great toy to use with the fine motor tools. They are little beads that get bigger and squishy when the are placed in water. My three year old twins love to place them in water, monitor them growing and then play with them!
Wiki-Stix are fun, flexible sticks of wax. They are great stocking stuffers or small hanukkah gifts (I’ve actually used them in goodie bags too). They build dexterity and also hand strength and endurance.
We were handed down the A to Z Magnatab and it has been a huge hit. It is a portable board with a magnetic pen. Users trace the letters and the pen brings up the magnetic balls. It’s great for in the car or quite solo play.
Magna Tiles are semi-transparent, colorful magnetic blocks. They require fine motor skills and control to properly put them together and they are so much fun to build towers, castles and more!
We were given a small tube of Wacky Links as a gift and they have been a hit with all three boys. They are flexible sticks that connect to fun shaped connectors. My kids build crowns, jewelry and of course, swords (because I have all boys and everything is a sword).
My oldest is obsessed with LEGOS but I’ve tried to find him a few other alternative blocks. Plus Plus blocks have been a fun alternative for creative block play (while working on motor skills). They come in two sizes. The basic size is great for my six year old and the larger size (“duplo” size) is suitable for my twins.
Those are my 15 favorite toys for fine motor skill development. What toys do you love? What did I miss? Tell me in the comments. Please contact me if you have any questions and I would love to have you on my newsletter. I also have a list of great basement toys and sensory tools you might be interested in and tips for surviving the holidays with your special needs child.