Fine Motor Activities with Clothespins

These fine motor activities can be added to occupational therapy teletherapy activities to work on precision and dexterity in kids, all using items found in the home, like clothespins.

Looking for fine motor activities you can do with kids at home and using items you already have in the house? Today, I’ve got fine motor activities using clothespins. These are activities that can be shared with families so they can work on skills at home or as part of an occupational therapy home program. These activities ideas need just clothespins, so it’s a great way to work on fine motor skills as part of teletherapy or virtual occupational therapy services. For more activities you can easily set up at home, check out some of the posts listed below. In all of them, we are talking about fine motor activities using items you already have in the home.

FIne Motor Activities Using Items You Have at Home

FIne Motor Activities with Play Dough

Fine Motor Activities with Paper Clips

Fine Motor Activities with Craft Pom Poms or Cotton Balls

Fine Motor Activities with Playing Cards

Fine Motor Activities with Beads

Fine Motor Activities with Chalk

fine motor activities using everyday household items, like cloths pins to work on fine motor skills in kids.

Fine motor skills Activities using clothes pins

When using clothespins to work on fine motor skills, kids can address so many underlying skill areas. Fine motor skills like bilateral coordination, hand strength, arch strength, intrinsic hand strength, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, proprioceptive sensory input, and so many other areas. All of these components of fine motor skills are covered here on The OT Toolbox. Check out the menu drop down bar above for activities geared toward each of these specific skills.

  • Drop into large container
  • Make into animal craft 
  • Use as legs for animal puppets
  • Squeeze onto number cards
  • Use clothespins to work on pinch strength
  • Hang from string overhead
  • Use to hang a pendant banner
  • Clip onto leaves on a tree
  • Play outdoor scavenger hunt game
  • Use a clothespin to work on pencil grasp
  • Label with letters and place in alphabetical order
  • Press onto pipe cleaners 
  • Make a tree with string and pipe cleaners
  • Use clothespins to work on spacing between words
  • Squeeze onto clothes for labeling body parts or clothing items for functional task
  • Use in ordering activities for a sensory diet or activity list
  • Chore clips for home or classroom chores
  • Squeeze ball of play dough color code or number coded 
  • Use clothespins in fine motor busy bags
  • Squeeze small ball of paper
  • Squeeze craft Pom Pom and paint dots 
  • Pick up and transfer mini erasers
  • Pinch onto the edge of a table when laying underneath for overhead reach. Hang up paper
  • Make a sheet fort 
  • Squeeze onto craft wire to make a sculpture
  • Use to count in math centers
  • Pinch into clothing (sleeve) for a kindness count
These fine motor activities can be added to occupational therapy teletherapy activities to work on precision and dexterity in kids, all using items found in the home, like clothespins.

MORE FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES:

Create Your Own Race Track


Spring Sensory Seek and Find


Sensory Soup with Fine Motor Sorting


Fine Motor Strengthening with Color Match


Cereal Box Fine Motor Coordination Activity


DIY Lacing Cards


Manipulating Coins Fine Motor Skills


Best Fine Motor Play Ideas for Kids


Tripod Grasp with Pipe Cleaners


Textured Shaving Cream Play Finger Isolation

Sight Word Scooping

Golf Tee Hammering

Fine Motor Activities with Beads

fine motor activities using beads

A while back, I started putting together lists of activities that require just one supply. These are items that you probably already have in the home. I wanted to put these activity lists together to help kids work on fine motor skills with little to no supplies. Some of the activity lists that we have so far include fine motor activities using paper clips, activities using just craft pom poms or cotton balls, and activities to improve fine motor skills with just playing cards. I have a lot more activity lists to come. These will all use just one item, and the fine motor ideas are great for building skills with limited supplies. Send a copy of these links to any friends or families looking for activities for kids to do at home to work on fine motor skills. They are also great for adding to teletherapy services and working on skills with kids as the families probably have these simple items in their home.

fine motor activities using beads

For now, let’s talk about fine motor activities that can be done using just beads! HERE are all of our fine motor activities in one place.

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 in working on these fine motor skill areas.

Activities using what you have in the Home

Here are some of the other OT activity ideas that I’ve created so far in this series:

Activities using just a deck of playing cards

Activities using just craft pom poms or cotton balls

Activities using just paper clips

Fine Motor Activities using Beads

Now onto the fine motor activities that require just beads! Let’s talk about the WHY behind using beads as a fine motor tool in occupational therapy activities. There are several fine motor sill components that can be strengthened with beads.

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 skills is an essential fine motor precision skill needed for so many functional tasks. Craft pom poms can be a powerful way to work on this skill area.

Visual Motor Skills- Coordinating visual information with motor movements of the hands is essential for handwriting, cutting with scissors, and many other tasks.  Manipulating lacing cards is an excellent way to address these needs. 

Read more about visual motor skills.

Motor Planning- A motor plan is functional execution of a task which is viewed with the eyes and carried out with the hands in order to complete tasks, such as mazes, walking around obstacles, cutting along a line, and writing within a space on a form.  Visual motor skills can be difficult for children with visual processing difficulties.  Identifying and organizing information is in a motor plan works on problem solving skills.  

Read more about motor planning activities for kids.

What kind of beads help with fine motor skills?

This is pretty open-ended! Use what you’ve got on hand to really home in on the skills listed above. Some beads that would work include: pony beads, perler beads, pop beads, jewelry making beads, or even beads from an old necklace would work. The point is that you need small manipulatives that can fit into the palm of the hand and really challenge those fine motor skills.

fine motor activities using beads and activities in the home

Use beads to work on fine motor skills in the following ways:

  • Press beads into play dough
  • Stick toothpicks into foam. Place beads onto toothpicks.
  • Sort onto pipe cleaners by color
  • Thread onto string
  • Tape ribbons to an easel or wall. Slide beads up the ribbons from the bottom
  • Place beads and hair gel in a gallon size bag. Tape the top. Move beads with fingertips.
  • Drop beads into spice containers
  • Drop beads into recycled water bottle
  • Draw a large letter on paper and fill the lines with beads to form the letters. Use bubble writing to fill the space inside or place the beads right on the lines of the letter.
  • Add beads to a marble maze
  • Sort beads by color
  • Copy patterns on play dough
  • Place beads on shapes and lines
  • Press beads into slime for a fine motor workout.
  • Use beads as counters
  • Create arrays with beads on cardstock
  • Use letter beads to place on letters of spelling words
  • Write letters on the sides of some beads like wooden ones that we used in this fine motor activity.
  • Roll dice. Count out same number of beads
  • Use other items to create beads like this foam curlers activity.
  • Scoop and count beads into groups of ten
  • Use tweezers to pick up beads
  • Slide beads onto feathers
  • Line up beads on a craft stick placed on a table surface
  • Perler beads can be melted to create a pegboard like we did in a previous post.

More fine motor activities

Benefits of Stickers in Occupational Therapy

Neat Pincer Grasp Fine Motor Activity

Buttoning Tips and Tricks

Travel Sensory Diet Bag

Hand Dominance and Fine Motor with Scooping and Pouring

The Benefits of Coloring

Clothes Pin Exercises and Pinch Grasp Types

Homemade Pegboard Activities

What is Finger Isolation?

finger isolation

You may have heard of finger isolation as a component of fine motor skills that kids need for dexterity and precision. Today, we’re discussing this important motor skill, how finger isolation impacts function, and activities to build finger dexterity. So, what is finger isolation? Let’s discuss!

Finger isolation is a fine motor skill kids need for dexterity and precision. Here are ccupational therpay activities to work on fine motor skills.

You’ll also find more finger isolation activities along with a craft that can help kids become more aware of this fine motor skill. Ready to build fine motor skills?  Below are small motor tools to help with development. Add these finger strengthening exercises to your therapy plans or home programs..

If there is ever an easy craft that you and the kids make, this is it.  These button rings are as cute as they are effective in developing the skills needed for tasks like maintaining a pencil grasp, shoe tying, and managing clothing fasteners.

This post contains affiliate links.

What is finger isolation? Use these button rings to work on using fingers one at a time in fine motor activities with kids!

What is finger isolation? 


Finger isolation is the ability to isolate and use the fingers one at a time in functional tasks. Counting one finger at a time, finger games like “Where is Thumbkin?”, and typing on a keyboard require finger isolation.  


Many small children are efficient at using tablets and phone apps with finger isolation.  When kids are scrolling the screen, they are using finger isolation.  However, when a child uses their finger in isolation on a tablet, they typically use only one finger (the index finger) and do not exert strength on the screen.  


Finger isolation typically develops in the baby at around 6 months of age as they begin to pick up small pieces of cereal. It progresses to pointing, and then separation of the two sides of the hand with in-hand manipulation. Finger isolation is so important in fine motor dexterity in every task that the hands perform. 

Development of fine motor skills includes finger isolation. Here is more information on finger isolation for dexterity and motor control.

Activities to Build finger Isolation

So, how can you build and develop finger isolation?  There are many ways to build finger isolation skills. Get a ton of ways to develop finger isolation skills and other fine motor skills.

Other finger isolation ideas here on The OT Toolbox:

Finger Isolation Game with Bubble Wrap

Fingerprint Art Finger Isolation Activity

Sensory Seek and Find

Fine Motor Alphabet Finger Isolation Activity

Finger Aerobics

Easy Clover Fingerprint Art

Distal Finger Control Exercises

Slime Pencil Grasp Activity


These super cute button rings are a craft that my kids loved making.  They wore these rings every day for a while there. (This mom did, too!)


You’ll need just a few items for this craft:
Pipe cleaners
Buttons (We had a bunch in our sewing supplies, but used buttons we received from www.craftprojectideas.com, too).

What is finger isolation? Use these button rings to work on using fingers one at a time in fine motor activities with kids!

To make the rings, cut the pipe cleaners into small pieces.  You’ll want them small enough to fit little fingers, but a little longer in order to add the buttons.  Thread the buttons onto one end of the pipe cleaner.  Twist the two ends together and tuck the end of the pipe cleaner on the outside of the ring (so it won’t rub up against the skin).


You can add extra buttons and layer different colored buttons for fun rings. 


When wearing the rings, incorporate finger isolation by placing rings on different fingers.  Ask your child to hold up the finger with a specific colored button or pipe cleaner.  Try tapping fingers with the rings one at a time by calling out a colored ring and asking your child to play a “SIMON” type of memory game.  

Activities for Fine Motor Skills

What is finger isolation? Use these button rings to work on using fingers one at a time in fine motor activities with kids!

  You’ll love these fine motor activities, too: