8 Great Fine Motor Toys
I am not an occupational therapist, but since my son has started occupational therapy over a month ago, I have seen many everyday toys used for therapy purposes. This is a list of fine motor toys that our occupational therapist has used to help Caden refine his fine motor skills and a little bit on how she uses them to aid his overall development. I have also included some other toys we have played with at home that are great for fine motor development.
1. Mr. Potato Head– Caden enjoys playing with his Mr. Potato Heads, we have a good collection of accessories. Caden does not have much trouble using his fine motor skills to put together Mr. Potato Head, but sometimes has an issue with concentration and keeping his attention on task. The OT uses this toy to help develop a longer attention span by having him complete the task from start to finish. First he has to open the back, take out all the pieces and hand them to the OT. Then she gives him a choice of two pieces and he has to point or verbally tell her which piece he wants. The idea for this is to slow his actions down so that he pays attention to what he is doing. Caden has a habit of rushing, which causes frustration, which leads to him giving up on the task.
2. Snap- Lock Beads– Although this is a baby toy, the OT uses it again to force Caden to slow down and complete a task from start to finish. And some of the beads are pretty tough for him so it also builds fine motor strength. The OT has Caden pull off each bead one at a time and hand them to her. Then she hands him one at a time or gives him a choice of two beads to put the string of beads back together. These are the beads that the OT brings, we have a bug set from Target that is much harder to handle because of the shape of the beads, they are also pretty tough to pull apart and push together.
3. Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank– The OT has brought this toy once and Caden really seemed to enjoy it, probably because he had never seen this toy before. It is a great toy to work fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as you have to turn the coin just right to get it in the slot. With this toy again the OT gave Caden a choice of two different coins and asked Caden to choose a coin by pointing or saying the color of the coin. This is also a great toy to work on color recognition.
4. Hungry Dog Motor Skills Game– This is a fun game! The OT actually brought a monkey version of this game, but I think Caden would enjoy playing this dog version even more! The OT used this game as a warm up for Caden. She had him take one banana or in the case of this version a bone, and put it into the animal’s mouth. He could either use his hands or the tweezers. Caden tried the tweezers but finished up with his hand.
5. Shape Sorter– These are usually thought of as baby toys and I made the mistake of packing ours away too soon when I noticed he wasn’t playing with it and thought it was too infantile. But don’t pack it away and if you have, dig it back out again! There is still a lot of learning that can be done using this toy! I actually bought this one after the OT showed it to me. The first one we had only has four different basic shapes and this one has much more complex shapes to learn. It also has the holes on all six sides instead of just on top. Caden is very good at this “game”, he easily finds the correct hole for the shape. The OT is using this toy to teach Caden to slow down and take his time. She also has him complete the task from start to finish, from emptying the container to put them all back one at a time.
6. Beads and String– Our OT hasn’t worked with Caden on stringing beads much, but I bought him this cute transportation themed set to help motivate him to work on this skill. I have him “drive” three cars to the stoplight and then he can play with the wooden car beads however he likes.
7. Pegs & Pegboard– This is a pretty basic activity but Caden had a hard time with it at first, and still does, but not with the fine motor aspect, but with his concentration and attention span. Our OT wants him to finish most of this board on his own. She also has him choose one peg at a time and not grab it from her hand, but point or say which color he would like. This particular board is not the board the OT has, but it is the one we bought after the OT first brought it out. The OT’s might be better because she has pegs for every hole in the peg board and I don’t think this set does. But you can purchase extra pegs to go with it.
8. Duplo Creative Cars set – This isn’t a toy used by the OT but we have played with this set a lot lately and Caden is finally getting the hang of looking at the “instructions” pictures and building entire cars by himself from start to finish. This takes not only fine motor skills but also logical thinking skills. In order to build the cars you have to look at the picture and figure out which pieces you need, where to put them and in what order. Tip: If you have a laminator, laminate the instructions, ours got pretty worn out before I got around to laminating it.
Our NEW 99 Fine Motor Ideas for Ages 1 to 5 is full of all types of enriching fine motor activities that your kids will love! And you will love them too because they are simple to set up and use everyday items you probably have around the house! Each activity includes full color photos, a materials list and step-by-step instructions. It’s a fantastic resource for parents, educators, and caretakers!
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