Preschoolers and Kindergarteners have so many skills to develop. Help them work on fine motor skills with engaging activities perfect for fall.
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When you teach preschool or kindergarten at home, it can be overwhelming to figure out what activities your child should do. Many times, developing reading and math skills come to mind first. While it is important to learn letter sounds and how to count, preschoolers especially need to focus on fine motor skills.
Fine motor skills, such as cutting, tracing, and building, are extremely important for little ones to work on as preschoolers and kindergarteners. These skills help develop hand-eye coordination and strengthen hand muscles needed for writing, among other things. Luckily, it’s extremely easy to add activities that work on fine motor skills into your child’s day.
Fall Fine Motor Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten
Adding hands-on fine motor activities to your preschooler’s or kindergartener’s day makes it fun to develop this skill. Important fine motor activities include working with playdough or clay, building, tracing, and cutting. Below I share ideas that you can easily put together that not only develop fine motor skills for preschoolers, but also add in seasonal play for fall.
Playdough is hands-down my favorite fine motor material. It’s so versatile! I prefer to make my own, but store-bought works fine too. For fall activities, use orange, red, yellow, or brown playdough. Scented playdough adds another fun sensory aspect. You’ll find some great fall-themed playdough recipes at this site.
Children can roll it into fall shapes like apples or leaves. They can also use it to form basic shapes, letters, and numbers. Then they could roll it into balls for counting. It’s a really fun way to strengthen hand muscles used in cutting and writing.
Activities that involve tracing are a great way to start working on fine motor development. Children can trace objects drawn on a piece of paper. To work on more skills, they can then cut out what they trace.
Alternatively, you could print sheets of tracing lines or objects to trace and laminate them. Then children can use dry erase markers to trace the lines. This is cost-effective because you only need to print once. It’s also perfect to use with more than one child. For a fun fall activity, children can trace fall objects like apples, pumpkins, and leaves.
Playdough is also great for cutting. Children can cut it with plastic knives or scissors. They can also develop cutting skills by cutting paper. To add another skill, have kids trace or draw lines and then cut them.
A fun fall fine motor activity would be to have kids trace or cut leaf shapes and then cut them out. Pumpkins and apples are also easy enough shapes to cut. Practicing cutting is a great way to help children learn how to properly hold paper or objects being cut. It also helps strengthen their hand muscles so they are able to cut and write more easily as they grow. Coloring the images before cutting adds another way to develop fine motor strength.
Cutting skills can also be practiced through cutting food with knives. Feeding themselves is another reason children need to develop fine motor skills, so being able to cut their own food is important to learn. Independence with eating also helps mom and dad out at meal times, especially if there are younger siblings to take care of!
Another fun way to work on fine motor development is through building. Younger children can build with larger items, like wood blocks or large building blocks. As children get older and develop more strength in their hands, they can begin to use smaller building items, such as Legos or linking cubes.
Preschoolers and kindergarteners will enjoy building an apple orchard or pumpkin patch after a field trip to one. The linking cubes make building small fall items fun, like apples, pumpkins or leaves.
A great way to include more preschool and kindergarten skills with a building activity is to add building cards. Using these building cards will allow children to work on hand-eye coordination, following directions, and visual discrimination. They will have to look at a picture and use problem-solving skills to decide how to recreate it with the cubes. And the best part is that all of this is play for your little one!
A fine way to include fall fine motor activities that work on preschool and kindergarten skills is through lacing. When children lace something like yarn or shoestring through the holes of a lacing card, they have to hold the card in a way that makes it easy to lace. They also have to understand how to lace up and down through each hole.
This seemingly simple activity can actually be quite difficult for children to master. It requires concentration, so it helps develop that skills. Children also need to hold the string with their fingers, strengthening hand muscles. Additionally, they need to use hand-eye coordination and problem-solving to be able to lace the string through each hole.
It’s so easy to make lacing a fall activity. Simply use lacing cards with fall objects, such as apples, pumpkins, and leaves. Children can even choose yarn or shoestring that matches the object. To add yet another skill for development, have your child use a hole punch to punch through the holes to create a lacing card.
Pin Poking Activities
A great way for older preschoolers and kindergarteners to use the same muscles used in writing is by poking holes with a push pin. Obviously as the parent you should use discretion with this as not every preschooler can handle this activity. But for those that can, this activity is really great at building hand strength and hand-eye coordination.
A simple way to create images for pin poking is by using a marker to dot around a fall object or use pin poking sheets already done for you. Basic objects like leaves, apples, and pumpkins could be drawn easily on computer or construction paper. I suggest putting a small piece of foam or a styrofoam plate under the paper. My kids enjoy using giant push pins for pin poking activities. Coloring black & white pictures before poking is a fun way to add in more skill development.
Cotton Swab Painting
Little kids love to paint. Using smaller painting utensils like cotton swabs help them with dexterity and strengthening hand muscles. For a fun fall-themed activity, print pages of fall objects with dots around them for your preschoolers or kindergarteners to paint. I’ve used tiny amounts of acrylic paint and even watercolor paint for this activity. Kids could also dot around regular images of fall objects or create their own with the cotton swabs. Mini stickers could also be used instead of paint.
Dauber or Pompom Activities
A final fall fine motor activity is similar to the cotton swab painting but with larger dots. Children can use stickers, bingo daubers, or pompoms to cover the dots in an object. I like to use pompoms with color images for a reusable activity and markers for black and white images. Using fall-themed images makes this a fun fall activity.
As you can see, it’s simple to add fun, fall-themed activities for your preschooler and kindergartener to do. These activities feel like play to your little ones, so they will love to be able to do them. You’ll love that these fall fine motor activities keep them busy and learning.