What Fine Motor Skills To Teach

What Fine Motor Skills To Teach

Are you unsure what fine motor skills to teach? Not only is it important to understand why fine motor skills are important, but it's so important to understand the wide variety of fine motor skills that children need to develop. 

When selecting and creating fine motor Kindergarten activities, we need to develop a wide range of skills. These include:


This is needed for activities such as typing, pointing, tying shoe laces, gripping a pencil and more.


This is otherwise known as “disassociation of the two sides of the hands”. This skill is important for things such as holding a pencil and stabilising the hand on the table, tying shoes, holding multiple objects in the palm of your hand, cutting, unbuttoning and more. Children need to practise bending the ring and pinky fingers in towards their palm (rather than stretched out away from the hand). 


This is where children build up consistency in using their preferred hand.


Open thumb web space ensures a functional grasp of writing utensils. We want students to make a round O shape with their thumb and pointer finger, rather than squashing that area of space. This impacts pencil grip, handwriting, and manipulating small objects to name a few. This ‘O’ shape is known as an open thumb web space.



This is where children can use the very tips of their thumb and pointer finger to pick up very small items.


This is used to hold items such as paper, a pencil, or small items.


This is where children can effectively squeeze all their fingers shut around an object, and it is used for activities such as handwriting or using scissors. Students require stamina to keep their hand squeezed shut in order to complete the activity.



Thumbs need to be able to be flexed and rotated to perform tasks such as pulling zippers, tying shoe laces, undoing and doing up buttons, manipulating small items and more.



There are several arches in the palm of your hand. These arches support you in being able to grasp objects of different shapes and sizes. They control the power of your grasp and the movement of your fingers. They are important for manipulating small objects such as pencils and other writing utensils, using cutlery and scissors.


This is the ability to move a small object around in just ONE of your hands.  There are three parts to in-hand manipulation:

  • TRANSLATION: moving an object from the finger tips to the palm of your hand.
  • SHIFT: adjusting an object between the fingers and thumb to ensure it is ready to use e.g. positioning a pencil or a paint brush before you begin to use.
  • ROTATION: making alternating movements between the thumb and fingers to rotate an object (e.g. unscrewing a tooth paste lid).


This is the functional use of both hands in a co-ordinated manner together. The process of development is that chidden use both hands, then switch to using only their dominant hand, and then progress to finally using both hands together effectively.


Would you like to know more about fine motor skills development? Download my FREE Fine Motor Handbook. With over 50 pages, it so far includes:

  • The stages of fine motor development
  • All the different aspects of fine motor development and the various skills that should be worked on
  • Pencil grip tips
  • Hundreds of activity ideas for the home or classroom
  • Fine motor craft ideas
  • Inspirational accounts to follow for more fine motor ideas