Fine Motor Activities with Paper Clips

Welcome back to our latest series on fine motor skills. We’re talking all about fine motor activities with everyday items. You know what I’m talking about…those craft items, things, and tools that we all have in our therapy bags or supply closets. Today we’re covering fine motor activities with paper clips. Scroll down, friends. Below, you will find easy fine motor activities and quick tips to improve fine motor skills all using the simple paper clip!

Catch up on the latest tools on The OT Toolbox. Use other everyday items in your therapy bag to with these fine motor activities with craft pom poms and fine motor activities with playing cards.

Fine MOtor Activities with Paper clips

The paperclip. You probably have 6 of them sitting in your junk drawer right now. But have you ever stopped to think about how a simple item can be used as a fine motor powertool to ramp up the motor skills needed for tasks like a functional pencil grasp? Have you considered how a simple item like a paperclip can be used to strengthen and refine fine motor skills? It’s true!

Fine motor activities for preschool

In fact, paperclips are a really great item for improving fine motor skills in preschoolers. The preschool age range is a great time to develop and strengthen particular skills that preschoolers will need for tasks like cutting with scissors, coloring without fatigue, and holding a pencil. These fine motor ideas are easy and quick ways to boost fine motor abilities using an item that is probably already in your craft supply bin or therapy bag. Paper clips are a great tool for fine motor development while improving dexterity and the motor skills that preschool (and older) kids need. Read on for fun and easy ways to use paper clips in fine motor play!

Kids can develop and strengthen fine motor skills using these fine motor activities with paper clips!

Fine Motor Activities kids need

Kids need fine motor skills for school and play. The problem is when we see functional concerns that limit independence. We might see kids who really struggle with hand strength, dexterity, joint mobility, or precision. We may notice these issues in how a student grasps their pencil. We may see kids having trouble with buttons, zippers, or snaps because of the fine motor skills they really need to develop. Simple fine motor activities can make a real impact!

Easy Fine Motor Activities with Clothes Pins

Adding more fine motor activities into a child’s day can be a struggle. So having an easy list ready to go makes recommending fine motor activities a no-brainer. Use these activity ideas in fine motor home programs or in the classroom for fine motor centers. Adding them to math centers would be easy…craft pom poms are fun to sort, count, and manipulate!

Why Use Paper clips in FIne Motor Activities?

Paper clips are a tool you need in your therapy bag! They can be a small item that can be used in big ways. Here are just some of the ways that paper clips can address fine motor needs:

Separation of the sides of the hand– Paperclips are the perfect small item to hold in the palm of the hand, engaging the ulnar side of the hand, while encouraging movement and precision with the pointer finger, middle finger, and thumb. This skill is so important for fine motor precision in tasks like pencil grasp and managing clothing fasteners or tying shoe laces.

Pincer grasp– Paper clips are a powerful means of promoting the precision grasp between the thumb and pointer finger. This motor skill is essential for tasks that require strength and dexterity to manage small items like coins or turning pages in isolation.

In-hand manipulation– Paperclips can be used as a manipulative item for transfering from the palm to the fingertips or vice versa. This is an essential skill needed in pencil grasp and other functional tasks.

Finger isolation– Paperclips can be used in various ways to promote finger isolation needed for fine motor dexterity and functional tasks.

Eye-hand coordination– This skill is an essential fine motor precision skill needed for so many functional tasks such as managing small items, copying letters, and other visual motor skills. Paperclips can be a powerful way to work on this skill area.

Craft Pom Pom Activities

Here is a big list of activity ideas for using craft pom poms to work on fine motor skills. What would you add to this list? To start, here are more fine motor activities that use craft pom poms. Using this craft item in fine motor development requires easy set-up with activities like the ones listed below. You’ll see using a water bottle to work on fine motor skills in the list. Here’s a better description of how to make that craft pom pom fine motor activity work.

Use these fine motor activities using paperclips to improve fine motor skills in tasks like pencil grasp.

Paperclip FIne mOTOr Activities

Here they are…loads of fun and easy ways to work on fine motor skills using paper clips! Use these ideas in centers, therapy activities, home programs, and play! Use these ideas in part of an occupational therapy fine motor toolkit!

  • Link the clips together to form a chain. Use those paper clip chains for math!
  • Create shapes with linked paper clips
  • Create letters with linked paper clips
  • Write a number on a piece of papers add that same number of paper clips onto the paper
  • Use the paper clips as a stand for small paper puppets
  • Use four paper clips as legs in animal crafts 
  • Sort paper clips by color
  • Press paper clips onto play dough. Use them to make paper clip flowers!
  • Slide onto color coded paper strips
  • Freeze into ice cubes to paint with water on chalkboard
  • Tie to string and use to thread around chairs
  • Poke holes in a plastic lid. Push paper clips through the holes
  • Slide onto edge of a paper plate
  • Use paper clips to make a DIY fidget tool
  • Pick up with a magnet tied to a string
  • Use to draw in sand
  • Chain together to make number strips
  • Connect pieces of paper to create sculptures
  • Place pencil tip in one end and spin
  • Tape label with number to one end. Slide onto edge of toilet paper tubes

More Fine Motor Activities

Looking for more ways to build fine motor skills? Try some of these ideas from The OT Toolbox archives:

Here are even MORE ways to use paperclips to work on various fine motor skills…especially in math.

Work on scooping and pouring with refined fine motor skills using small objects like beads.

Improve thumb opposition using small items like paper clips.

Add visual perceptual work to fine motor activities with fine motor color sorting activities for improved eye-hand coordination.