It goes without saying that toys inspire play. But did you know that when you choose the right ones, toys inspire learning too? Fine motor skills toys offer many hands-on and playful ways for kids to develop fine motor skills. Looking for toys that will keep your kids engaged AND learning? Our list of 15 favorite fine motor skills toys is organized by age, making it easy to choose the best toys to keep your kids happily learning!
RELATED: Quiet time promotes focus and concentration – making it an excellent time to practice fine motor skills.
What are fine motor skills toys?
Toys are a vehicle (well, sometimes!) that should enhance learning. Fine motor skills toys are toys that are specifically designed to help strengthen and improve fine motor development through hands-on play.
Fine motor skills toys offer features that develop:
As a former teacher and mom of three, our home has had its fair share of toys. And I’ve learned that one thing is true: kids will absorb and learn more when motivated and interested in their toys!
RELATED: Pencil grip activities are not only important for fine motor development but fun for kids too!
How can you help your child develop fine motor skills?
Fine motor development is simple to support. You can help your kids strengthen their fine motor skills by surrounding them with toys and play-based activities that promote and inspire fine motor development.
Remember that fine motor skills take time, patience, and practice. Work with your child so they understand the task at hand, especially if the fine motor skills toy or activity is new. Before you know it, they will be playing independently AND learning!
RELATED: This fine motor letter grab activity is always a winner for little and big kids!
What toys help with fine motor skills?
There are so many incredible toys to help with fine motor skills. But with so many options out there, it can be confusing and overwhelming to know which are best.
AVOID toys that have:
INTRODUCE toys that have features such as:
Fine motor skills are the foundation for everyday tasks your kids will need as they grow up. Which is why investing in high-quality toys for your kids is so important for their development. Check out our list of favorite fine motor skills toys below to know HOW to CHOOSE WISELY!
RELATED: Puzzles are a fantastic and unassuming way to develop fine motor development, patience, and problem-solving skills!
Fine motor toys to grow with
Okay, I know I said I have 15 to share for you. But it wouldn’t be a Days with Grey toy list without mentioning a few favorites that your child can grow with over the years. Many of these toys I discovered when my oldest was two and spoiler, at ten he still plays with them!!! Whoa, right? So before we dive into the age categories, here are three top winners in the overall category.
Connetix Magnetic Tiles
Magnetic tiles are the best. There is no way to say it other than that they are some of the best toys that have happened to my family: endless play and an ageless toy.
Love the color mixing or cannot stand it; play-doh offers endless play and some quiet time to unload the dishwasher. As a bonus, the hand movements strengthen little fingers.
Not sure what to do with colored tape? You don’t need to know because your child has that covered. Under $10 and endless entertainment.
5 fine motor toys for toddlers
These practical toys for toddlers are sure to keep your little ones engaged, stimulated, and strengthen their fine motor skills.
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Hape Baby Bird Pull Along
This cute Hape baby bird pull-along toy strengthens your little one’s grip.
Toddlers love pushing and pulling little toys between the elastic bands with this vibrantly colorful Fat Brain fine motor skills toy.
This sensory toy is full of pushing, pulling, and grabbing features, making it one of our favorite travel toys.
Your toddler will love twisting, turning, and learning about gears with this rainbow caterpillar toy from Melissa & Doug.
Skwish Color Burst
Develop fine motor skills like grabbing, pinching, and squishing with this classic sensory toy for toddlers.
5 fine motor toys for preschoolers
Help your preschoolers develop and strengthen their fine motor skills with these smart toddler toys.
These handy scoopers by Learning Resources are one of our favorite sensory play tools that help to strengthen fine motor grabbing and squeezing skills.
Cutting Fruit Set
Practice early cutting skills using this cute wooden knife and fruit set to promote pretend play and imagination.
Another one of our favorite sensory play tools that will keep your preschooler busy squeezing and releasing during water play.
Plus Plus BIG
Hands down, this toy is one of our favorite open-ended toys. The boys play with these at home, and we take them to restaurants and on road trips. Plu-Plus comes in two sizes; however, I will always prefer the big size.
Montessori Tool Kit
This classic wooden tool kit will keep your preschooler busy twisting, hammering, and building as it strengthens fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills.
5 fine motor toys for big kids
Big kid toys that improve fine motor skills are so important for the early pre-writing years!
This fun and exciting game will challenge your big kid’s fine motor, problem-solving, and balancing skills!
Your big kids will love this Rainbow Loom set that will seriously strengthen your child’s fine motor abilities as they create one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces.
This makes the perfect stocking stuffer for big kids! It’s fun to play with someone by your side or solo —over 200 brain-teasing challenges.
Snap Circuits “Arcade”
If your big kid loves arcades, they will LOVE this fine motor circuit arcade toy as they learn all about circuits through fine motor building.
Thinking about improving your child’s pencil grip? Invite your child to use a paintbrush to practice a similar grip as they create art.
Important features to note
Always remember to pay attention to the age noted on the product packaging. Choosing an age-appropriate toy for your child is essential for setting your child up for success. When the toy matches your child’s development, they will feel confident in their abilities to learn and play independently. As always, you know your child the best. So, pick out toys that will challenge them meaningfully and reasonably.
Safety is probably the most important feature when choosing a toy. When shopping for toys for your child, ensure that (based on their age) the parts and pieces included won’t pose a risk to your child. This is especially important for young kids who tend to put things in their mouths and may be at risk of choking on small pieces.
Inform yourself about the features and movement patterns involved in toys. For example, if you want to help your child improve their practice with grabbing, choose a toy that requires strengthening the small muscles of hands and fingers.
TOYS FOR KIDS
After attending the NYToy Fair, I updated this list with the best toys for kids in 2023-2024. Open-ended toys your child will grow with.
FAQs for fine motor toys
Fine motor skills include grabbing, pinching, and twisting. But there are so many more! In general, fine motor skills are movements that help to develop the small (but very important) hand and finger muscles in children.
Sensory tools, pull toys, and building toys help strengthen fine motor skills. Toys that involve hands-on play help to strengthen fine motor skills. Avoid toys that involve batteries, lights, and sounds, as these toys leave less room for learning and exploration.
Toys can help to promote and strengthen fine motor skills. Appropriately chosen toys can help to inspire play, learning, and improve important skills like fine motor.