Fine Motor Skills

Infants and toddlers are working to develop small muscle control, strength, and coordination

At A Glance

Young children develop fine motor skills when they clap, stack toys, or hold objects with their hands and fingers. These actions require children to use small muscle control, strength, and coordination. As these skills grow, children can better use their hands and fingers to manipulate, experiment with, and actively participate in the world around them. Fine motor skills develop with practice! We can support this development by giving them time and space to practice purposefully using objects and their bodies during exploration, play, and daily routines.

What It Looks Like

A quick glance at ways you can support infants' and toddlers’ fine motor skills

Describe Actions

Label and demonstrate different ways children manipulate objects during play like this educator does. 

Narrate and Label Fine Motor Skills

Intentionally focus children’s attention on fine motor movements by modeling and describing your actions and their impact. 

Provide Opportunities for Different Grips

Offer children lots of chances to grip various objects like the thin handle of a wand or the handle of a musical instrument. 


I Can Do It Too!

Written by Karen Baicker and illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max, this story follows a child who uses their own two hands in activities with family and friends.
I Can Do it Too Book Image
ten little fingers cover


Ten Little Fingers

Illustrated by Annie Kubler, this book shows children exploring how their fingers and hands can move around, and encourages children to join in.


Support Through Fine Motor Art

This blog post from the Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network discusses the benefit of children’s participation in the arts in supporting the development of fine motor and social-emotional skills.


Fine Motor Skills at Home

In this video, educators share the benefits of developing fine motor control and give their top tips for developing children’s fine motor skills. These tips can be shared with families to use at home.


Support Children’s Scissor Skills

Children with and without disabilities benefit from developing scissor skills. This Neurological and Physical Abilitation (NAPA) Center article discusses scissor-cutting activities that develop children’s fine motor skills through various stages.

Activity Cards for Infant and Toddler Classrooms

Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, these activity cards provide simple and fun ways to support children's fine motor skills
Activity Card Image - Exploring Books - Regulate Move
turning pages

Exploring Books

Browsing through books offers many opportunities to develop fine motor skills.

Activity Card Image - Fine Motor Meals - Regulate Move

Fine Motor Meals

Meals are a great time to practice new grips and strengthen fine motor skills.

Activity Card Image - Rip Rip - Regulate Move

Rip Rip

Tearing paper into strips and smaller pieces builds children’s hand muscles.

Activity Card Image -Snowball Fun - Regulate Move

Snowball Fun

Encourage children to scrunch scrap paper into balls and practice tossing them into a basket.


Get Our Resource Guide

Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of the Core Skills