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  • Gina

Strengthen Fine Motor Skills Through Sensory Play

Long before a child holds a pencil, they should squish & squeeze & smoosh & dig & pull & push & climb. Those little muscles in the fingers & hands need to be strengthened long before we expect them to write. Sensory play is an amazing way to do just that!

Here are a few of our favorite tools to use:

  • Pipette

  • Spray bottle

  • Tongs

  • Tweezers

  • Clothespins

  • Scoops

  • Safety scissors

  • Hole punchers

  • Beads & pipe cleaners

  • Fruit juicer

  • Q-tips

Pom Pom Water Play:

This activity is great for strengthening fine motor skills, practicing life skills & working on color identification! If you don't care for the texture of wet pom poms, have the child use the juicer to squeeze fresh lemons, limes or oranges!

Safety Scissors:

Using safety scissors (no sharp blade, just dull edges) to cut play dough is how I always recommend beginning cutting practice. It is a safe & effective way to learn proper form. Have them roll the dough into a snake (so good for those hand muscles) & then cut!

You can use a sticker on their thumb to remind them to keep it facing up. We also sing “open shut, open shut, that’s the way we cut, cut, cut!”

Squirt Bottles:

Squirt bottles lend themselves perfectly toward strengthening fine motor skills. They are fun, they are simple & they are so very effective. You can use them to water the plants, to squirt the pavement, to rescue frozen treasures...the possibilities are endless!

Pony Beads & Pipe Cleaners:

There are so many ways to use pony beads & pipe cleaners. You can sort by color, make patterns, count, create bracelets or bubble wands! So many ways to learn, create & play with them, all while strengthening those important finger muscles!


Clothespins are another universal tool that are incredible for strengthening fine motor skills & there are SO many ways to use them! Here are a few of our favorite ways:

  • Put a pom pom in between the clothespin & paint with them.

  • Hang up a piece of string & hang up papers with the clothespins.

  • Write the numbers 0-10 & clip them to the line in numerical order.

  • Write lowercase letters on the clothespins. On a piece of cardboard, write upper case letters around the edge. Find the matches & clip the clothespins on!

Tongs & Tweezers:

Tongs & tweezers are perfect for pinching & squeezing & grabbing. Use them with pom poms, to rescue items from play dough, to dig through frozen treasures or in a sensory bin full of your favorite base.

*As a reminder, small items are choking hazards. You get to decide what is safe & manageable in your home. Never leave small children unattended.*

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