Preschool at Home: Activities You Can Do with Your 2-4 Year Olds (Fine Motor Skills)

I frequently get questions from parents who wonder just what to do and where to start with their preschoolers.  I thought I would spend a few posts sharing some of the things I’ve done with my kids along the way.

Many of the things we did are things most parents do naturally in their home: free play with toys, time exploring and playing outside, dancing to music, reading books aloud to the kids.  But as a Mom who stayed at home, I was always looking for different activities and approaches to spice up and add variety to our day.

This week I thought I would share some activities we did to help the kids with their fine motor skills:

Tongs and Tweezers:

Using tongs and tweezers helps develop the muscles in kids hands. It requires the kids to concentrate and strengthen the muscles in their hands.

In the picture below, I set out some wooden marbles and a bathroom suction decor with the cups facing up.

For the tweezer activity, i placed a sticker of different colors around the plate. My daughter had to sort the pom-pom into different sections.

Cutting and Gluing:

Depending on the age of my kids, sometimes I had this out all the time and sometimes I just brought it out under supervision. (Yes, I had the daughter who cut part of her hair VERY VERY short when she was three! Keep that in mind!) Anyway, when the kids were tots, I put colored strips of construction paper and scissors out.  I often had a glue stick and paper for them to glue afterwards if there was any interest. As the kids go older, I made the cutting a bit more challenging like the “snake” you see below.  If you go online you can find lots of print-outs with zig-zags or wavy lines to cut along. I always just took a marker and made my own on colorful construction paper.

Here’s another take on the cutting unit. When we did a bird unit, I set out these paper feathers and had the kids make fine cuts to make it look like individual strands of the feather. You could do the same for making “grass” as the bottom of a simple picture:

Poking activity:

This activity is easy to set up. Just put dots in different shapes, letters, or numbers on construction paper.  Give the child something to poke with — either a skewer with a rubber band as I did or with an over-sized push-pin.

“Putting Things In…” Hand-Eye Coordination:

There are so many variations on this activity. Anything where the little ones have carefully put something into something else is great for eye-hand coordination.  In this particular post, the girls spent time putting craft matchsticks into styrofoam. I had an old spice jar that was full of craftsticks in the homeschool area for years!  If your child is a little too young for this, you can use clothes pins into a soda bottle.

 Sewing:

For this activity I had a huge embroidery needle and embroidery thread on hand with these plastic canvas shapes.  This is another great activity for hand-eye coordination.  This is an activity that I had to do with the kids until they were at least 5 because it was pretty difficult to get the hang of putting the needle through the top and then up through the bottom and so forth.

You can find plastic canvas shapes like these at craft stores like Jo-Anne for less than $2.00.

That’s about all I have time for today, but I’ll be back next Friday with some more activities you can do with your 2-4 year old.

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  1. by Brian Reece

    On April 11, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Great lists of activities for toddlers! My favorite out of the list is Tongs and Tweezers activities for the kids as it will concentrate and strengthen the muscles in their hands as well is very convenient for the parent to get the activity done using households item.

  2. by Practicing Cutting | Ready, Set, Play!

    On April 22, 2013 at 9:20 am

    [...] great resource for fine motor activities can be found on the Parents website here. They include activities appropriate for 2-4 year olds with pictures of each [...]

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  6. by Preschool at Home: Handwriting | The Homeschool Den

    On December 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    [...] Preschool at Home: Activities you can do with your 2-4 Year Olds, Fine Motor Skills [...]

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  8. by Preschool Science at Home | The Homeschool Den

    On January 3, 2014 at 6:35 am

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  16. by At-Home Preschool Tips And Activities - Baby Gizmo

    On November 11, 2014 at 12:59 am

    [...] Preschool Ideas For Fine Motor Skills. This site has some great ideas for practicing fine motor skills with your 2-4 year olds at home. Cutting, gluing, and operating small objects. There are plenty of ideas here that are fabulous for learning at home! [...]