Fine Motor Activity Ideas for 2-4 Year Olds

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Here are some fine motor activities that help to develop fine motor skills for ages 2-4. Please refer to my Age Appropriate Skill List for ages 0-6 to see what are age appropriate fine motor skills for your child.

Fine motor activity ideas for toddlers and preschoolers ages 2-4.

Fine Motor Activity Ideas for Ages 2-4

For review, let's look at what your two to four year old should be working on. Next to each item, I will have tips and ideas for you to help facilitate those skills.

2 1/2- 3 YEARS

strings large beads Make sure you use large size beads that they can fit their hand around. Begin to encourage them to use their pincher grip (thumb, index and middle finger) to pick up items.

snips paper with scissorsChoose a theme, like shapes or colors and help them make a picture collage.

rolls clay/playdough into “snake” Begin making basic shapes with the play dough; lines, circle, cross, square shapes.

can draw and copy a horizontal line – For my kids at work, I use the terms “Straight line down.” and  “Across” (make sure they start left to right). You always want to give a model and repeat the directions when they copy you.

3-3 1/2 YEARS

able to complete simple puzzles Start to 4,6 and 8 piece puzzles. Once those are mastered go on to 12, 18, and 24 piece puzzles.

can build a tower of nine small blocks or moreBoys will especially love this! Be sure to let their imaginations be the lead! Houses, towers, anything they can think of! Be sure to encourage using the pincer grasp (thumb, index, and middle finger).

can get himself dressed/undressed independently; only needs help with buttons; still confuses front/back for clothes, and right/left for shoes – This is self-explanatory. Practice makes perfect! To work on sequencing the right steps, have them dress dolls, paper dolls, or animals.

can feed himself with little or no spilling, drinks from a cup/glass with one hand – I don't know many kids that don't get dirty at all when eating, haha! But it is definitely a skill to work on! Work on holding the spoon and fork correctly.

3 1/2- 4 YEARS

can pour his own drink from a pitcher if not too heavy Practice carrying heavier objects, picking up toys, small boxes.

can place small pegs into small holesPracticing this skill with clips, snaps, and clothespins will help to develop the pincer grasp needed for this skill.

able to string small beadsThis is a great skill to work on practicing left to right, and especially crossing midline (the ability to cross your left arm to the right side of the body and the right to the left side). Be sure that if they start the bead with their left hand or right, that same hand goes across the whole length of the string.

can hold a pencil with a “tripod grasp” (3 fingers), but moves forearm and wrist to write/draw/color – Refer to my post of finger grasp for proper grasp pictures.

You can find many more activity ideas in my book Basics of Fine Motor Skills – Developmental Activities for Kids.

Basics of Fine Motor Skills: Developmental Activities for kids.

I also have a Pinterest board with more ideas for fine motor skills for toddlers.

Follow Heather G. | Golden Reflections Blog ‘s board Fine Motor Skills for Toddlers on Pinterest.
You May Also Like:

Fine Motor Activities for Ages 4-6, preschooler fine motor development.

Heather Greutman, COTA

Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with experience in school-based OT services for preschool through high school. She uses her background to share child development tips, tools, and strategies for parents, educators, and therapists. She is the author of many ebooks including The Basics of Fine Motor Skills, and Basics of Pre-Writing Skills, and co-author of Sensory Processing Explained: A Handbook for Parents and Educators.

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One Comment

  1. Fredda Rosenbaum says:

    I came across your site today through Pinterest. I am a retired music teacher, pleased to be a new grandmother! Also, I am teaching private piano to all ages, currently 4 yrs through 43 yrs. Your information is a wonderful and fresh view of developmental stages of preschoolers. It is a thrill to teach a few children at a time versus the 375+- K-5th graders that I taught by myself for years in the public schools. Bravo on a terrific web site.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
All information on the Website is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for medical advice from a physician or your pediatrician. Please consult with a medical professional if you suspect any medical or developmental issues with your child. The information on the Websites does not replace the relationship between therapist and client in a one-on-one treatment session with an individualized treatment plan based on their professional evaluation. The information provided on the Website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

Do not rely on the information on the Website as an alternative to advice from your medical professional or healthcare provider. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment as a result of any information provided on the Website. All medical information on the Website is for informational purposes only.

All activities outlined on the Website are designed for completion with adult supervision. Please use your own judgment with your child and do not provide objects that could pose a choking hazard to young children. Never leave a child unattended during these activities. Please be aware of and follow all age recommendations on all products used in these activities. Growing Hands-On Kids is not liable for any injury when replicating any of the activities found on this blog.

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