Fine Motor Skills Help!

Updated on March 03, 2011
B.W. asks from Seattle, WA
8 answers

My twin sons will be 4 at the end of May. One of my sons has an IEP and gets speech and occupational therapy at a public preschool, my other son atteneds the school as a "peer" but doesn't have therapies. Both seem a little behind on their fine motor skills, though. I hear stories of kids writing their names at this age and I'm thinking, the boys can barely draw circles! My son who has the more significant fine motor delay doesn't really seem to like coloring either. He does like painting though. We work on fine motor by doing "threading" toys and blocks and puzzles and stuff and both boys are pretty good and enjoy this. Gross motor skills seem okay, but neither boy seems to have any interest in tricycles or bicycles. My questions:

1. Should I "push" them a little more to color and draw, or just build on the things they like to do already?
2. I am looking for a private OT for my son who has services, should I get my other son evaluated for fine motor again?
3. What are some toher good fine motor activities?


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So What Happened?

Thanks for the great feedback everyone :) I am not going to oush them too much, just work on the stuff that they like to do.

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

cutting with scissors was always recommended to us for creating fine motor skills. My 13 year old did not like to write her name at all in preschool, hated a lot about school in elementary, and now writes poems and fiction and draws any free minute she gets. If I could do it all over again, I would worry less and enjoy more.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

Give each a can of playdo and have them roll out little balls. Have them only use pointer finger and thumb.. have them do this with both hands. Have them line them up[ in long lines.. again only using finer and thumb.. The as they count them have them squash them with only the thumb or the pointed fingers. Then have them take the flatten playdo and have them stack them, again only finger and thumb.

Give them clothes pins and have them try to pick up and carry the item.. socks from the clean cloths basket, magazines, the mail.

Get a box of large paper clips and have them make a long chain. The another time get a small boc of paper clips and have them make chains out of those.

Each time you have a shirt with buttons in the clean clothes, have them hang the shirt and then button every button. Have them zip every zipper on pants,

Have them tap all of their fingers on the table one at a time. Both thumbs, both first finger, both middle fingers.. have them bounce their hands as they do this.

Get a huge piece of paper (old wrapping paper on the blank side) and have them using only first finger and thumb hold a marker (crayon, pencil, pick one)make long continuous lines. Then some wavey lines, then big circles. Then get their small trucks or cars and using only their pointer finger, have them "drive their cars down each line, without stopping) Then have them do this using their thumbs to drive those cars on the lines.

Have them place stickers on paper in lines, then in circles or just let them put them in any pattern thy want.

Finger puppets - let them make up stories about the dancing puppets..

Puzzles, small blocks, small toys all lined up.. Dominoes where you stand them us and then knock them down..

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Play doh, stress balls, picking up coins from flat surface with O. hand only & dropping in a jar/cup, crumple tissue or newspaper sheets with O. hand only, O. at a time, mazes with a pencil, placing round stickers into circles drawn just slightly bigger than the stickers.....
Writing on a chalkboard or slant board is very helpful.
Dressing dolls with snaps, buttons, laces, etc.
Just google fine motor skills.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

How about playing pick-up sticks or Ants in the Pants? Make up a game where you have to pick up cotton balls with tweezers.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Playing with clay is really good too (a bit stiffer than Play-doh). Even if you don't start with an OT right away, they can give you some good ideas for things to do.

Additionally, we had positive results with a supplement called carnitine (an amino acid derivative). I do not know the dosages for children your kids' ages. That's something to research and inquire about from a health care professional (we went to an integrative physician and a nutritionist for that issue).

I am not a health care professional of any type - this is just my "mom" opinion.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My 7 year old also has some fine motor issues. We got him a light box at an art store so he could trace things. That has been a great inspiration for him to work with pen and paper.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Peeling stickers, cutting with scissors and Legos are good. My daughters Montessori does tweezing, so picking corn kernals off a dried cob, picking up cotton balls and moving them to another container, that sort of thing. Actually it might be helpful to look on some Montessori websites as they have many fine motor, "pre writing" activities. You do want to practice, as school will be very hard if they have difficulty writing, even in kindergarten.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Boys are always a little behind in fine motor skills compared to girls. If you hear stories about some kids writing their names at 4 they are the exception--not the rule (I'm an ex first grade teacher).

Boys are into large muscle skills at 4, but that doesn't mean you can't do some things to help them. Give them things like play dough, small things that float in the bathtub, small finger food at the table, weaving toys to play with, etc. Go to an educational toy store and look for toys that require small muscle activities. Give them coloring books with small markers--not larger ones.

But when they get tired of doing the small muscle activities, let them go out and run around. Don't make them only do small muscle things.

2 moms found this helpful
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