Developing your toddler's fine motor skills

Developing your toddler's fine motor skills

Holding a cup, carrying a toy or reaching up for things are simple movements that we take for granted. But for your toddler, learning these fine motor skills can be challenging as they work out how to coordinate their hands, eyes and brain to make it happen smoothly.

Developing your toddler's fine motor skills

Why fine motor skills are important:

Fine motor skills help your toddler do everyday things like picking up a cup, holding it, and then taking a sip. It sounds simple but it requires a tricky combination of thumb, finger, hand and head movement.

Fine motor skills support all the other skills your toddler will need throughout their life. Even playing with toy bricks helps develop these skills as they learn that they need to stack them carefully, or they'll fall down.

5 ways to improve your toddler's fine motor skills

  • 1

    Make a play space

    If your toddler loves pulling things apart and emptying boxes of toys, create a play space where they can do this. Include a box of building bricks, large puzzle pieces, a pegboard and chalkboard. These activities develop ‘thinking' and ‘doing' skills at the same time.

  • 2

    Play dress-up

    Helping your toddler to get dressed and undressed develops their fine motor skills. Shoes with Velcro fasteners, trousers or skirts with elastic waistbands, and pull-on tops are easier for little fingers to manage. The more they enjoy it, the more they'll learn so let them experiment and have fun.

  • 3

    Scribble, doodle and draw

    Scribbling with a crayon or chalk isn't just fun, it develops one of the most important skills your toddler will need in life – the ability to write. Make doodling more fun with washable pens, paints, brushes and sponges, or use their fingers, hands and feet to make prints. Make sure you use safe and suitable crayons for your baby’s age to avoid any choking hazards.

  • 4

    Experiment with textures

    Toddlers love the feel of things like sand, soft play dough and paper. Play dough helps build their strength and co-ordination, while they find scrunching up paper and flattening it down fascinating. Try soft, colourful paper as well as regular writing paper for added interest.

  • 5

    The right food for fine motor skills

    Holding, reaching, talking, balancing, scribbling – all your toddler's fine motor skills depend on healthy brain development. That's why a balanced diet with plenty of iron-rich foods is so important. Good sources include lentils, dark green, leafy vegetables, dried fruit, wholemeal bread, oily fish, eggs, along with fortified milk and cereals.

1-to-1 expert advice
1-to-1 expert advice

Expert advice when you need it

Our expert team of nutritionists and feeding advisors is available 9am to 6pm Sunday to Thursday. Learn more

  • UAE: 800 2562 323 Toll free
  • Egypt: 0800 0000 492 Toll free for landline
  • KSA: 800 8971 902 Toll free for landline or STC
  • For Other Countries: +971 4 420 9488
  • WhatsApp: +971 55 785 9705
Live Chat