Fine Motor Skills

Preschoolers are working to develop small muscle control, strength, and coordination

child painting with twigs

At A Glance

Preschoolers are exploring their developing fine motor skills in activities like drawing and zipping up their coats. These tasks require developing small muscle control, strength, and coordination. Fine motor skills also help children build self-help and learning skills by using tools (pencils, scissors, forks) and completing tasks (drawing, building, buttoning). We can support children’s development by giving them time and space to purposefully practice manipulating objects, tools, and their bodies.

What It Looks Like

A quick glance at ways you can support preschoolers' fine motor skills

Balance Support and Challenge

Find the right amount of support to help children be successful without taking over. Modify activities so that children can complete them as independently as possible.

Encourage Trying New Tools

Prompt and guide children to try new tools that may be out of their comfort zone, such as using scissors to cut a circle. 

Play Movement Games

Build children’s fine motor skills with games that encourage children to use their hand-eye coordination.


What If…

Written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Mike Curato, this story follows a child who explores the possibilities of what our hands can create beyond paper and pencil.

What If Book Page
Be a Maker Book page


Be a Maker

Written by Katey Howes and illustrated by Elizabet Vuković, this book shows how different tools and grips can help make ideas into real projects.


Creative Expression

This article from EducationWeek highlights how creative expression through fine motor activities can support children who have experienced trauma.


Partnering With Families

This article by Risa Kerslake gives practical ways educators and families can collaborate together to support the development of children’s fine motor skills.


Inclusive Block Play

This article from the Child Care Exchange shares the importance of moving away from stereotypical gendered play and encouraging girls to play with blocks.

Activity Cards for Preschool Classrooms

Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, these activity cards provide simple and fun ways to support children's fine motor skills
Button and Zip Activity Card - Regulate Move

Button and Zip

Strengthen children’s fine motor skills with buttons, zips, snaps, and ties.

Counting Fingerplays and Songs Activity Card - Regulate Move

Counting Fingerplays and Songs

Songs and fingerplays are a great way to support children’s fine motor skills.

Snip Snip Activity Card - Regulate Move

Snip Snip

Cutting larger items with scissors builds children’s hand muscles.

Tiny Art Activity Card - Regulate Move

Tiny Art

Creating small art helps children develop creativity and fine motor skills.


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