55 Skills to Help Develop Motor Skills

Choose suitable activities for your child’s age. Please supervise the activities carefully.

1) Pick up and sort objects such as blocks, spools, coins, beans, marbles, cotton balls, pins, buttons, straws, nails, nuts, bolts, popcorn and place them into containers of varying sizes. (Egg cartons, cups, mugs, or jars etc.)

2) Pick up objects (blocks, cotton balls, counters, etc.) using tongs transferring them between containers

3) Stack objects

4) Screw and unscrew objects such as nuts and bolts, caps from jars

5) String beads onto a shoelace

6) Run a threaded needle through cloth

7) Fasten safety pins

8) Cut straight and curved lines/shapes drawn on paper, or cloth with scissors

9) Play the piano /other musical instrument

10) Type

11) Crumple paper in a small ball and then flick it with the index finger

12) Shuffle cards, deal cards one by one, turn cards over

13) Roll a pencil between thumb and fingers without dropping it

14) Knead dough

15) Stick small objects into play dough for him/her to pull out

16) Wind thread on a spool evenly

17) Put rubber bands around various size containers and objects

18) Use tweezers to pick up small objects

19) Move spoonfuls of small objects from one bowl to another

20) Do up buttons, zippers, or hooks

21) Tie shoelaces

22) Cut finger and toenails with clippers

23) Trace and copy letters

24) Do connect the dot puzzles

25) Solve mazes

26) Manually sharpen pencils

27) Use a manual can opener

28) Tie a box with string or ribbon

29) Put keys into locks to open doors

30) Put paper clips onto paper

31) Use a stapler

32) Remove staples with a staple remover

33) Place clothes pegs on the edge of a box or container

34) Knit!

35) Set a watch or clock

36) Pick up or move marbles using a melon baller. This could be made into a game – i.e. take turns rolling a die. Whatever number turns up, pick up that number of “marbles” and place them into an egg carton.

37) Use Lego to form shapes, letters, numbers, and other designs.

38) Colour using the flat side of a crayon. Put paper over leaves, stencils, and other objects so that the child gets sensory feedback as s/he colours.

39) Make a matching game (pictures, letters, or numbers) using a coffee can and clothes pins. Have the child put the clothes pins on the rim of the can.

40) Use sprayer bottles filled with water and sponges to have the child “clean” a desk or table, then squeeze the excess water into a dishpan. This is a great pre-scissor skill activity.

41) Lace various sized beads. Any activity involving the use of both hands is good to develop bilateral integration.

42) Put money into a piggy bank.

43) Using eye droppers to “pick up” water for colour mixing or to make artistic designs on paper.

44) Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, and then gluing the balls onto construction paper to form pictures or design

45) Turning over cards, coins or buttons, without bringing them to the edge of the table.

46) Drawing in a tactile medium such as wet sand, salt, rice, or “goop”. Make “goop” by adding water to flour until you have a mixture similar in consistency to toothpaste. The “drag” of this mixture provides feedback to the muscle and joint receptors, thus facilitating visual motor control.

47) Attach a large piece of drawing paper to the wall. Have the child use a large marker and try the following exercises to develop visual motor skills: Have the child trace over your line from left to right, or from top to bottom. Trace each figure at least 10 times. Then have the child draw the figure next to your model several times.

48) Play connect the dots. Again make sure the child’s strokes connect dots from left to right, and from top to bottom.

49) Trace around stencils – the non-dominant hand should hold the stencil flat and stable against the paper, while the dominant hand pushes the pencil firmly against the edge of the stencil. The stencil must be held firmly.

50) Attach a large piece of felt to the wall, or use a felt board. The child can use felt shapes to make pictures. Magnetic boards can be used the same way.

51) Have the child work on a chalkboard, using chalk instead of a marker. Do the same kinds of tracing and modelling activities as suggested above.

52) Paint at an easel. Some of the modelling activities as suggested above can be done at the easel.

53) Play “throw and catch” with a ball. Start with a large ball and work toward a smaller ball. (Sponge balls are easier to catch than a tennis ball.)

54) Practice hitting bowling pins with a ball. (You can purchase these games or make your own with plastic bottles and a small ball.)

55) Make GOO GLOVES! Take a rubber examining glove and put a table spoon of finger paint in the glove. Next fill the glove ¾ full with white PVA glue. Tie the end of the glove off. Wash off any glue or paint that might have gotten on the outside of the glove. Then you put another glove on the original and tie. This will give it extra protection. Squeeze the glove and work together the glue and paint until it is one solid colour.