These fine motor skills activities are great for helping 2 and 3-year-olds develop hand strength, coordination, and manipulation skills.
By 2 or 3 years of age, kids’ fine motor skills have developed to the point where they can engage in all kinds of play activities and functional tasks that let them get a little taste of independence.
And the more they’re exposed to fun fine motor skills activities, the more developed their skills will become.
Laying the foundation now is essential for the development of more complex skills down the road like pencil grasp, handwriting, dressing, and clothing fasteners. Fine motor skills activities can be so creative and fun that your kiddo won’t even know how hard she’s working as she plays!
Before you get started, click through to learn more about developmental milestones so you know which fine motor skills to expect at this age. And, if you’re wondering about your child’s fine motor skills, check out these hand strengthening red flags for kids!
Fine Motor Skills Activities for 2-3 Year Olds
1 || Practice with clothing fasteners.
Get little fingers ready for zipping and buttoning by practicing on a button snake (Happy Hooligans) or by making a button chain (Tips From a Typical Mom). Or try out some of our other activities to practice clothing fasteners.
2 || Practice with scissors.
Try snipping scrap paper or junk mail, or try something new with this fun idea for scissors practice!
3 || Get a head start on handwriting by starting with some simple prewriting strategies.
Start with imitating simple shapes and lines with paint, markers, crayons – anything you can think of! Start with horizontal and vertical lines and circles and gradually move on to more complex shapes like intersecting lines and triangles.
4 || Squirters, squeeze bottles, and spray bottles
These are the perfect props for fun fine motor play and are perfect for strengthening little hands and fingers! Try squirting at a target, or making your own little car wash! One of our favorite fine motor skills activities for 2-3 year olds!
6 || Squeezing, squishing, pulling, and pushing
So much fun and awesome for building hand strength and coordination in the hands! Play dough is great for this – there are so many different ways to play with play dough to keep kids engaged and entertained. Or try this fun baby bumble bee activity for kids!
7 || Stringing beads
This is a great way to work on grasping, bilateral coordination, and manipulation skills. Why not work in some scissor skills too with this fun and simple threading activity for kids (Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds).
8 || Opening and closing containers
Save empty plastic food containers with lids, wash them out, and let little ones go crazy – matching the lids and popping them on and off of the containers. They love hiding toys inside too! Increase the challenge by incorporating different types of lids including ones that snap on and off and ones that twist on and off.
9 || Building with blocks
See if kids can stack a couple of blocks on their own, or try stacking up a tower for them and let them knock it down! Help kids build a huge tower and then roll a ball to knock it down!
10 || Puzzles
Kids have to use visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, and fine motor skills to find the correct space, orient the piece the right way, and place it into the puzzle board.
Check out our favorite sensory ideas and gross motor skills activities for 2-3 year olds.
Learn more about 2 and 3-year-old milestones and check out this comprehensive resource about developmental milestones for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers!
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