The skills that enable a child to move are known as motor skills. The two main types of motor skills are gross motor and fine motor. It is important that both of these are well developed in children in order to be ready for school and to function independently.
Gross motor refers to the development of the large muscles of the body which enable a child to walk, climb, balance, etc. Fine motor refers to small muscle development which enables a child to hold a pencil or button a shirt. It includes eye-hand coordination, eye-finger coordination, finger strength and control, as well as the development of muscles such as the toes, tongue, and eyes.
Gross motor skills develop before fine motor skills. This can be seen in preschool children who are skilled at climbing, running, and walking but are still learning to hold a pencil or control a pair of scissors. Let’s take a look at some activities that will keep your preschooler engaged and learning while strengthening these fine motor skills.
Puzzles and more puzzles! When my oldest was turning 3, we used a puzzle to learn her alphabet. Bright colors helped her remember letters, and the action of fitting the letters into their spots on the puzzle board kept her engaged longer than writing or reading them!
Coloring may seem like too easy a suggestion, but it really teaches invaluable motor skills for little ones. From holding the crayon/ marker/ pencil correctly to tracing and staying inside lines, this is a simple, mess-free activity that preschoolers can do daily!
Dry erase markers are super fun for littles as well. Mine really enjoyed the novelty of erasing what they had just drawn. You can print color pages and put them into page protectors so they can create different masterpieces each time. Or give them a plain whiteboard and let them go where their creativity takes them!
Tired of gunk on your whiteboard? Try this great whiteboard cleaning hack !
Activity books are fantastic quiet activities and are sold pretty much everywhere. I used to pick up a new one each week at the grocery store and my kids would pick and choose the activities they liked best!
Lace and trace is a simple activity that helps to develop children’s fine motor skills. Since there aren’t many pieces and they’re not messy, these are great for the car, church, or waiting rooms.
Threading beads is great for hand-eye coordination and finger control! Have them string a color pattern, or make words out of those cute letter beads! Also, check out how to make these adorable Cheerio caterpillars  using breakfast cereal and pipe cleaners!
Scissor skills are another excellent example of fine motor skills for preschoolers to master! Check out these great printables over at Teachers Pay Teachers .
Check out this super fun Easter Egg Rescue Game!  It uses everyday items and helps with focus and motor skills!
Once your littles have mastered their motor skills and you’re ready to start foundational education, check out our resources on Homeschooling Preschoolers  for even more great ideas and activities!