Looking for the best toys for fine motor skills practice? Whether you have a new baby or an active pre-k, we’ve pulled together some of the best fine motor toys for toddlers, babies, and preschoolers.
When we talk about fine motor skills, we’re referring to the little motions and movements our kids make with their hands.
Children develop and practice their fine motor skills from the day they’re born, and keep working at through childhood. It’s a key skill from the first day and onwards, and appropriately developed fine motor skills are critical to school success.
If you’re keen to help your little one by providing different ways to practice and flex their skills, these toys for fine motor skills development are just the ticket!
Toys for Fine Motor Skill Development in Babies (0 to 18 months)
Toys for motor skills development in babies tend to focus on eyesight, hand and arm movements, as well as encouraging them to develop the strength and cognition they’ll need to get hit toddler milestones, and use some of the fun dexterity toys for older babies.
Probably the best example of hand eye coordination toys for babies are the colorful and irresistible rattles and balls so many babies love to grasp, and bring to their mouth, eventually using them to pass from hand to hand or throw.
From around 4 to 8 months, you’ll want to include eye hand coordination toys that encourage your baby to grab onto objects within their reach, like their baby bottle! Tummy time mats and toys that encourage your little one to roll over to get to different objects, and prop themselves up while on their tummy to reach for objects also encourage fine motor skills development at this age! Fine motor toys for infants also include small balls and objects that they can pass from one hand to the other.
Your kiddo will develop fine-motor skills like grasping and twisting, along with hand-eye coordination, when they build this adorable and colorful inchworm by connecting the soft, squeezable blocks into a row. Toys like the inchworm are great motor skills toys for 1 year old and older, as they can be used in different ways for different levels of challenge.
These clever lace-up toys will help to advance your little one’s hand-eye coordination, dexterity and other fine-motor skills like grasping. They will have fun guiding the string through the fruit slices and cheese wedge with the help of the easy-to-grasp caterpillar, worm and mouse needles.
Fun and easy to grasp, these little figures come in three different, brightly-colored shapes with suction cups that stick to both each other and flat surfaces. Your little one will love the popping sound as they unstick them, and they will practice grasping and hand-eye coordination.
Made of multiple food-grade silicone bubbles set in an easy-to-grasp BPA-free plastic disc, this toy is perfect for multi-sensory development. The bubbles are various sizes and colors and can be poked and inverted for fine motor practice. Our kiddo enjoyed this one from around 10 to 18 months.
Motor Skills Toys for Toddlers (18 months to 3 Years Old)
Once your kiddo hits 18 months, they’ll probably be ready for a different type of toy for fine motor skills practice.
Toddler fine motor toys encourage development of the pincer grasp (using their thumb and pointer finger together to pick up small things), use of their pointer finger (pointing at pictures in their favorite books, or trucks on the street, for example), transferring and scooping, holding things, and using both hands at the same time during play (among other things!).
Some popular toddler activities – like sensory bins and playing with playdough – are perfect for practicing these motor skills. However, many toddler toys can help them develop this skill, so if your little one has a particular interest (like, pirates, for example), by all means go with it!
Some of our favorite fine motor skill toys for toddlers are listed below.
Complete with six brightly-colored bolts and six matching nuts, this set will help your little one develop fine motor skills like grasping, twisting and hand-eye coordination. They are made out of BPA-free, phthalate-free and lead-free materials for peace of mind.
This stacking toy takes learning to the next level with three different pegs where three different groups of colorful stacking shapes can be piled up in order. Your little one will have fun while building up their coordination, problem-solving and grasping skills.
Based on a soft, plush pillow, this colorful toy with a friendly face features three different types of buckles to help your little one practice fine motor skills like the pincer grasp. They will also have fun lifting the number flaps to reveal sweet little hidden animals.
The perfect introduction to building Legos, this set is made of larger bricks for smaller hands and is a great way to promote fine motor skills, creativity and visual-spatial awareness. The endless creative possibilities make this set one that will last through many developmental stages.
This large foam pegboard acts as a base for 30 plastic pegs in six different colors. They can be pegged into the board and then stacked onto each other to build grasping, hand-eye coordination and pattern recognition skills. It’s a great example of hand eye coordination toys for toddlers, requiring quite a bit of thought and practice!
This fun and innovative toy features six eggs that are the perfect size for small hands. Each egg opens to reveal two colorful halves, one with a 3D shape and the other with a matching inverted shape. Your kiddo will learn problem-solving through self-correction as they attempt to match the egg halves by shape.
Toys to Help Fine Motor Skills in Preschoolers (3 & 4 Years)
Once your little one reaches the preschool stage, toys to develop fine motor skills will require smaller and more precise movements (such as using tweezers) and start to prepare your little one for school, with tracing and cutting activities.
They’ll also be ready to tackle more complicated items like buttons, having likely already gotten good at locks and keys toys and latches later in the toddler stage.
This cute wooden beehive comes with cheerful and colorful little bees that need to be placed in their color-coordinated spots. Your child will build up their grip strength and coordination, along with color recognition, when they use the over-sized tweezers to place the bees back in their spots.
Four different locks and latches are set on a board with accompanying images, just waiting for your little one to open them up. They include a classic lock toy with a tethered key, two combination locks and a latching lock. This set is perfect for hand-eye coordination and problem-solving.
Simple and entertaining, this “tablet” has a lot of tiny metallic beads laid in a plastic board. The magnetic stylus pen pulls the little beads into various shapes, creating drawings. Your kiddo will practice how to properly hold a pen and will build coordination and creativity.
Perler Tray ‘n Cards (Use with Biggie Beads)
This smart toy promotes a multitude of skills for productive learning. Your little one can grab the butterflies with the tweezers and count, sort and match them into trays. They will build fine-motor skills, color recognition and organizational skills. They’re also a great tool for learning math, and as an accompaniment to the best numbers books for pre-K kids.
Should You Invest in Toys to Help with Fine Motor Skills?
In a word, yes!
In our opinion, the key word here is “toys.” At this stage, your little one will learn by playing and having fun, so the key is to provide lots of different ways to play, and follow your little one’s lead as they use the materials you provide them to hone their fine motor skills on their own timetable.
Of course, if you have any concerns about whether your child is meeting their milestones, talk to their paediatrician or your family GP.