Best Fine Motor Play Ideas for Kids

Fine motor play is so important to us and in the activities that we play.¬† As an occupational therapist, my kids are exposed to fine motor activities from a very young age…it’s part of being an OT, I guess ūüėȬ† This past year, we’ve had so much fun with play.¬† We’ve been loving looking back over this year’s favorite activities.¬† We went through our¬†favorite fine motor activities from 2013 and pulled out the MOST popular according to you guys!¬† We’ve put together Fine Motor Activity posts together in the past, but this one is the best of this past year’s play and fun.¬†¬†Our little blog has been¬†live on the internet¬†for our first full year now and WOW, we’ve had so much fun, growth, and knowledge!¬† We love having a place to look back over our year and remember the fun, learning, and joy we’ve had with our kids as they play and grow!
Best Fine Motor Activities for Kids

Top Fine Motor Play Activities for Kids

{Note: This post contains affiliate links.  In other words, this blog will receive monetary compensation when any purchases are made through the links in this post.  Our opinions and ideas are in no way affected.  As always, we thank you for your support and community here at Sugar Aunts.}
In-Hand manipulation play for fine motor skills: We had so much fun with water beads.¬† This post shares two ideas for improving in-hand manipulation skills which are so important for dexterity in self-care, handwriting, coin manipulation…and so much more!
Our Fine Motor Play using Pipe Cleaners post was great for Toddlers.¬† Two of the cousins had a blast with this one, while working on their fine motor dexterity, eye-hand coordination,¬†tip-to-tip grasp, and tripod grasp…all with a recycled box and a handful of pipe cleaners.¬†
Fine Motor Play with Tissue Paper was a fan favorite of the toddlers, preschoolers, and their Occupational Therapist Mom!  This was such an easy activity to set up and really worked on development of the arches of their hands, finger isolation, and even had an auditory feedback component.  This one will be making a come-back in our daily play, soon!
This Fine Motor and Auditory Fire Works activity required very¬†little set-up or clean-up.¬† Not only did it work on fine motor skills with a Fourth of July fireworks theme…it was really fun, too!¬† We are big fans of bubble wrap, so this post definitely makes our Best Of list!
Fine Motor Table-Top Play came about one morning when a bunch of the cousins were picking on each other.¬† A roll of masking tape saved the day…and prevented any more fights!¬†¬† This activity was appropriate for all stages…toddlers, preschool, and kindergarten age.
Finger isolation, tripod grasp, eye-hand coordination, bilateral hand coordination…Fine Motor Play with Crafting Pom Poms has got it all!¬† We even worked on color identification and sorting with this easy fine motor play activity.
We love creating crafts and activities from recycled and re-pourposed materials.  This DIY Lacing Cards from Carry Out Containers post definitely makes our Best Of post for fine motor skills.  Lacing is such a great way to develop and refine many beginner dexterity skills.  Tripod grasp, bilateral hand coordination, eye-hand coordination, and visual-motor skills are all addressed!
Baby Girl was only 16 months old when she played with this Pipe Cleaner Fun activity.  (Looking back at all of these posts from 2013 is really making me tear up, here! They grow tooooo fast!)  She loved manipulating pipe cleaners into a plastic bottle while working on eye-hand coordination, grasp and dexterity, with a little auditory feed back from the empty plastic bottle.  Older children can work on colors and sorting with an activity like this one.
This Fine Motor Strengthening Color Match activity was a fun fine motor activity and really worked on the intrinsic muscle strength of little hands.  We added a little handwriting and color sorting in this activity too, perfect for multi-level learning!
We played with this Fine Motor Pincer Grasp Color Match activity with play dough and beads to match.  The toddler cousins LOVED this activity.  And I loved it because it not only kept them busy, it really worked those fine motor skills.  They worked on their fine motor skills and color matching at the same time.

Best Sensory Play Activities for Kids 2013

We LOVE sensory play!¬† So much learning, creativity, exploration, language development, and so much more happens with sensory play.¬† These are our favorites (and our reader’s favorites!) of our sensory play posts from 2013.¬† We had so much fun with these activities!¬† If you missed any of these fun sensory play activities, be sure to check ’em out!¬†

The Best Sensory Play Activities for Kids

((We chose these BEST sensory activities for kids according to popularity based on page views and our own favorite memories when playing.  This is such a joy to document our days on this blog and we are SO happy you are along for the ride to join us and support us!))
This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase products through our link, we earn a percentage.  As always, thank you for your support and community here at Sugar Aunts.

Sensory Handwriting Letter Practice This sensory play activity was a great mess-free way to address letter formation (and especially those easy-to-reverse tricky letters like b and d) given a little sensory input.

Egg Carton Craft and Sensory Bin We had fun with this fall sensory bin after making egg carton pumpkins (and getting some fun fine motor play in, too!).  This was a great way to explore textures and the season all in one fall sensory bin.

Relaxing Lavender Water Bin¬† We spent a few weeks this summer on a great water bin series and ended up with some awesome water bin activities.¬† These were great for all ages of the cousins…from toddlers to kindergarten age.¬† We especially loved cooling off and relaxing with our lavender water bin.

I Spy Sight Word Sensory Bottle  This sight word sensory bottle was a hit with all of the cousins!  Us Aunts loved it because we were able to inspire age appropriate learning for every age!

Textured Paint Sensory Play A painting experiment turned into sensory fun with our textured paint play.  This sensory paint was big time fun to play with and a great texture for getting messy with!  Our textured paint play was so much fun, that I think it will be making an appearance in 2014!

Make Your Own Colored Sand  We used our colored sand in many play activities.  Making was a breeze, and the sensory experience of play was big time fun this summer.

Color Matching Water Bin with Letters  Another one of the water bins from our water bin series, this color matching water bin sensory play activity was a huge hit when the cousins got together one day this summer!  There was learning, fine motor play, sensory play, and a LOT of splashing each other!

3 Rainbow Sensory Bins  A favorite of mine and the kids, these colorful rainbow sensory bins were easy to put together, but big fun.  We explored colors, textures, and shapes all while working on fine motor skills through sensory exploration.

Snowy Farm Sensory Bin¬† A new paper shredder lent a hand in this snowy farm sensory bin!¬† And what fun we had, with pretend play in a huge bin of shredded paper.¬†This is another activity that we will definitely be doing again soon…just as soon as we have enough shredded paper on hand!

Red, White, and Blue Goopy Dough¬† This goopy dough was a combination of goop and dough (hence the name!).¬† It was the neatest stuff to explore and play with!¬† A few drops of food coloring made our goopy dough the perfect Independence Day play activity.¬† It’s still on our list of things to make!


Snow and Ice Play for Kids

With the cold, freezing temps we’ve been having this week, we’ve got snow and ice on the brain (and on the gloves, and on the boots, and tracked into the house…)!¬† Our features for this week’s Share It Saturday are ice and snow inspired!¬† Stay warm and cozy indoors while playing with fake snow, making snowmen, experimenting with polar bear and snowball science, and creating ice art.¬† The features this week are sure to keep you busy while enjoying the season!

Friends, we will be taking off the week next week while we enjoy Christmas cozied up with our families.  You can still link up to Share It Saturday with all of your latest posts.  The linky will be open for two weeks so you can share your ideas with us.  We wish you and your families a warm, happy, and joyous Christmas!

Snow and Ice Play Ideas for Kids

Polar Bear 

Indoor Snow Play by There’s Just One Mommy

Snowflake Party by Sugar Aunts

Indoor Play Snowy Toy Car Ramp by Buggy and Buddy

Snowball Experiments 

Christmas Healthy Snacks for Kids

You may have seen these Christmas snacks that our kids have been enjoying recently on our Instagram feed.¬† ((Are you following us? Stop by and check it out!¬† We are loving Instagram!))¬†¬†These Healthy Christmas Snacks for the Kids were easy to throw together for hungry kids.¬† (Aren’t they ALWAYS hungry?)¬† This time of¬†year, there are so many sweets everywhere.¬†¬†A few healthy and festive snack ideas are perfect¬†to make a special moment.¬† Of course, they don’t need their cut up apples in a fancy shape to eat healthy foods, it’s just fun to make things special every once in a while!

Christmas Healthy Snacks for kids. By Sugar Aunts

Healthy Snack for Kids: Christmas Tree with Apples:

This was a last minute after-school snack for Big Sister one day.¬† She comes home from school SO hungry!¬† A cut up apple and a pretzel rod made the perfect Christmas Tree snack and filled her belly until dinner time.¬† A reader on our Facebook page suggested adding dried cranberries for ornaments.¬† Wouldn’t that be the perfect addition?¬† Love that idea!!

Christmas Healthy Snacks for kids. By Sugar Aunts

Healthy Snack for Kids: Cucumber Snowmen

One snowy Saturday, there were choruses of “I’m hungry!” from the kids.¬† This was a quick snack and was gobbled up just as quickly!¬† When they saw these snowmen, there were cheers.¬† This one used slices of cucumber. (I doubled them up for each section of the snowmen.)¬† A few raisins, slices of red peppers, and a bit of shredded cheese.¬† Done!
What healthy snacks do your kids love?

Christmas Sensory Fine Motor Noodle Play

This sensory play activity with noodles was a hit with Baby Girl (age 2)!  She loved the fine motor aspect and the sensory play.  She is a fun-loving two year old and this Christmas play activity was just right for her. 


Christmas Sensory Play with Noodles

Candy Cane Sensory and Fine Motor Christmas Play with noodles. By Sugar Aunts

Noodle Fine Motor and Sensory Play

{Note: This post contains affiliate links.  In other words, this blog will receive monetary compensation when any purchases are made through the links in this post.  Our opinions and ideas are in no way affected.  As always, we thank you for your support and community here at Sugar Aunts.}
We had a handful of noodles that were left over from a meal and were not going to be eaten.¬† These were the perfect thing for a little sensory and fine motor play…candy cane style!¬† I grabbed half of the noodles and tossed them with red food coloring in a baggie.¬† A few drops of peppermint extract¬†in the baggie and another good shake, and we¬†were ready to play.¬†¬†I added a couple of drops of extract to the un-dyed noodles too…these sensory noodles smelled so good!

We had the red noodles mixed in with the un-dyed noodles in a bin and a cookie sheet right beside it.  Baby Girl spent the longest time just pulling noodles out and laying them on the cookie sheet.  This was such a fun sensory play experience for her. 

I extended the play a little bit longer (and added a fine motor component) by pulling out a recycled grated cheese container.  I showed her how to thread the noodles into the holes of the lid.  This was great fine motor work.  She loved threading the red and white noodles through the holes.  We worked a little on the color red, too. 
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Spaghetti Wreath Christmas Ornament for Kids to Make

¬†¬†We’ve been making a ton of Christmas crafts this month.¬† This Spaghetti Wreath Ornament made¬†from dyed pasta was SO much fun!¬† One of the cousins were at our house one day for a little crafting time and all of the kids really got into the process of making our ornaments.

 Kid Made Ornaments: Spaghetti Christmas Wreath

My kids (aged 6, 4, and 2) and my little nephew (age 2) really got into each step of this kid-made ornament.  They got to explore a little sensory fun with dyed and cooked pasta AND hone their fine motor skills while placing the pasta in the wreath shape and adding pom pom berries.
{Note: This post contains affiliate links.  In other words, this blog will receive monetary compensation when any purchases are made through the links in this post.  Our opinions and ideas are in no way affected.  As always, we thank you for your support and community here at Sugar Aunts.}
Materials needed for these ornaments:
cooked pasta

Start by adding green food coloring to your cooked pasta.¬† I put the pasta into a container with a lid so the kids could shake, shake, shake that pasta. The gross motor work was a great way to get out a little excess winter energy (perfect!) and at the same time, coat the spaghetti with¬†a nice green color.¬† Squirt in a lot of glue (depending on how much pasta you’ve got going on there…) and give that container another good shake.¬† You want all of the pasta coated with glue.

Place a sheet of wax paper on the table and you are ready to get started on forming the wreaths!  This job was a little better for Big Sister (age 6), and we used a spoon to help form the wreath shapes.  {Note:  If you use your fingers, you WILL end up with Grinch-like green fingertips!}

Place the red pom poms around the wreaths.  This part was great for fine motor dexterity.  Picking up those little poms and placing them carefully on the wreaths used a nice tip to tip grasp and was pretty fun, too!
We finished with another generous squirt of glue around the wreaths to make sure they stuck together as they dried.
These little guys took two whole days to dry!  This is definitely a craft that will require advance planning, but it is so worth the wait!  Once dried and on the tree, these pasta wreaths look pretty cool!

Let us know if you try this craft at home, and how it goes for you!  We love to hear from you.