10 Great Toys for Fine Motor Skills Development

Give little fingers a workout with these fun playthings

An important part of your preschooler's development is to master the use of their small muscles, such as those found in the fingers. Called fine motor skills, these are something that will continue to emerge and improve as your child grows and practices. A great way to help a little one refine these skills is to have her play with different types of toys that do a good job (purposefully or not) of working these muscles. This assortment of toys for fine motor skills do a good job of letting preschoolers practice eye-hand coordination, their pincer grasp, dexterity, and more.

Melissa and Doug Basic Skills Board

Melissa and Doug Basic Skills Board
Melissa and Doug Basic Skills Board. Melissa & Doug/PriceGrabber
When it comes to helping work fine motor skills, this Basic Skills Board from Melissa & Doug clearly has it all. At first glance, the toy appears to just be a puzzle, but each piece is a fine motor skills station, that asks little ones to buckle, tie, snap, zip, and more.

Educo Colorback Sea Turtle Bead Maze

Educo Colorback Sea Turtle Bead Maze
Educo Colorback Sea Turtle Bead Maze. Educo/PriceGrabber
Many toys that work fine motor skills also help kids in other areas too. The Colorback Sea Turtle Bead Maze from Educo also encourages kids to utilize their critical thinking and problem solving skills as they use the magnet pen to manipulate the balls throughout the turtle. Play may be frustrating at first as little ones need to learn the correct way to hold the pen and drag the magnetic balls around, but as they get better at it, this toy will also provide a good confidence boost.

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Manhattan Toy Dress Up Friends

Manhattan Toy Dress Up Friends Pirate
Manhattan Toy Dress Up Friends Pirate. Manhattan Toy/PriceGrabber

While your preschooler may be learning to get dressed on her own (a great activity for building fine motor skills), she can also practice on these adorable dolls from Manhattan Toy. Available as a princess or a pirate, the doll features buttons, snaps, hook-and-loop closures, zippers, and a shoe tie.

Fat Brain Toys Dado Cubes

Fat Brain Toys Dado Cubes
Fat Brain Toys Dado Cubes. Fat Brain Toys/PriceGrabber
Try a new twist on building blocks with Dado Cubes, hexahedrons that don't stack, but interlock thanks to slits in the sides. Kids can build up, but horizontally and diagonally as well, building their spatial awareness. Aside from encouraging kids to build creatively, they need to use their fingers to manipulate the blocks to fit into the slats.

Hape Lacing Pony

Lacing Pony
Lacing Pony. Hape/PriceGrabber
Bright and colorful, kids can't help but pick up this lacing pony from Hape. Featuring four laces, 10 beads, and five components, the design possibilities are endless. Younger preschoolers may have trouble in the beginning as they learn to pass the strings through the holes, but with a little encouragement and reassurance that there is no wrong way to play, this horse is sure to become a favorite.

Playskool Mr. Potato Head

Playskool Mr. Potato Head
Playskool Mr. Potato Head. Playskool/PriceGrabber
Add a creative twist to your child's fine motor play with a childhood classic -- Mr. Potato Head. As your preschooler changes the different features of the swapping spud, they have to use their fingers to push and pull the various pieces. And while your child works on the pincer grasp, she'll also have fun creating new looks for the stylish spud.

Carson Dellosa Pegs and Playpad Set

Carson Dellosa Pegs and Playpad Set
Carson Dellosa Pegs and Playpad Set. Carson Dellosa/PriceGrabber
Any type of toy that asks kids to manipulate something small into something larger will help them learn to work their fine motor skills and this peg and playpad set from Carson Dellosa is no exception. While the toy is simple, it gets the job done. Kids can work on sorting and creative thinking as they place the pegs into the board itself or stack them up vertically.

Fisher-Price Snap-Lock Beads

Fisher Price Snap lock beads
Fisher Price Snap lock beads. Fisher-Price/PriceGrabber

While at first glance, these Fisher-Price Snap-Lock Beads may seem like a toy for an infant (and they certainly can be!) they are also great for helping a preschooler work on hand-eye coordination and small muscle development. It take a lot of dexterity to get the tab of the bead into the hole, but these bead offer much more to their play than that. Kids can work to make a circle and sort into colors and shapes, helping to improve their math skills too.

Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker

Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker
Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker. Melissa & Doug/PriceGrabber

Toys like stackers and shape sorters are great for building fine motor skills because in order for kids to properly play with them, they have to use their fingers to make the pieces fit. Toys in this category also teach kids about colors, shapes, sizes, and sequencing, as well as problem solving. This stacker from Melissa & Doug is especially good because it offers three columns to build on and figure out. The blocks do not have to be placed in the right order, increasing the creativity of your child's play.

Ohio Art Magic Etch A Sketch

Ohio Art Magic Etch A Sketch
Ohio Art Magic Etch A Sketch. Ohio Art/PriceGrabber
This classic toy offers up a great combination of fine motor skill and creative play. By simply manipulating the knobs, kids can create all sorts of wonderful drawings. No batteries, no sounds, just a basic board that can keep little ones entertained for a long time.

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