Spaghetti Box Kids

Strategies, Tips and Activities for Learning

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Fine Motor Skills Games

July 14th, 2009 · 15 Comments

When small muscle movements are coordinated (usually in the fingers, hands and toes) fine motor skills are being utilized. Tying a shoelace, using a pencil and buttoning a button are examples of fine motor skills in action. Here are some activities to improve fine motor skills. The activities are also just good old fashioned fun that you can play anytime. The materials require nothing more than everyday things from around the house.activities-to-improve-fine-motor-skills


paper clip
(you can also play with things like popsicle sticks, crayons, twigs, etc.)
roll of masking tape
milk gallon ring top- that thingy you pull off when you open a gallon of milk

Simplest Way to Play: The simplest way to play this activity is to tape your targets (roll of tape and milk top ring) in upright position. Now let your child practice passing items (Q-tip, paperclip, etc.) through the targets.

How to pass an item through the target: Simply hand the item to yourself through the target.

More Challenging Way to Play:

Earn points by passing items through a target without knocking down the target.

You’ll Need Three Dice:

First die–tells you your target: odd number= milk gallon ring; even number= roll of masking tape.

Second die–tells you which item to pass through the target: 1= paper clip; 2= Q-Tip; 3=crayon; etc.

Third die–tells you how many times to pass the item through the target: 1= pass the item one time through the target; 2= pass the item two times through the target; etc.

How to Play:

1.Roll the first die to determine the target. If your target is the roll of masking tape, stand it up. If target is milk top ring, stand it up.

2. Roll the second die to determine which item to pass through the target.

3. Roll the third die to determine how many times you have to pass the item through the target.

4. If you finish your turn without knocking down the target, you score a point.

5. First player to ten points wins.

Note: If your child is too little to pass items through the milk gallon ring, eliminate this component. Simply roll two dice—one to determine which item (Q-tip, crayon, etc.) will be used, and one to determine how many times to pass the item through the roll of tape.

Variation: PIG

If you’ve ever played PIG or HORSE on a basketball court, then apply the rules to the game-materials above. For example–pass a twig three times through the roll of masking tape. If the other player is unable to repeat the task, she gets a “P.” First player to cause the other player to spell PIG wins.

Setting up and playing fine motor skills activities with your child is a fun and easy way to improve fine motor skills. Using everyday household objects to play the games has the added advantage of stimulating your child’s imagination: she has an opportunity to help pick which items will be used for the games (for example–crayon, popsicle stick, penny, etc.); she also has an opportunity to shape the rules and invent new ways to play. These qualities not only improve fine motor skills, but help to develop the whole child. Have fun!

Tags: Kids’ Activities

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Catherine // Jul 15, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Another great simple idea – I think my son (3 y.o) will like this one, the simple version.

  • 2 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jul 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Good stuff–as your 3 y.o. gets older, you can change the game around and play for points. Our son liked this game well after it had anything to do with motor skill development.

  • 3 Rob // Jul 20, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Really cool ideas. I like how you turn the activities into games with points to keep it interesting. Very unique suggestions overall. Nice work.

  • 4 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jul 20, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you liked the games and activities approach to developing motor skills.

  • 5 Melissa // Nov 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    THought I might let you know, your site is quickly becoming a favorite in our house. My youngest daughter loves these motor skill games. Thanks for all the thoughtful ideas!

  • 6 Spaghetti Box Kids // Nov 10, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Sure thing. I’m glad to hear Spaghetti Box Kids is popular around your house. All the Best–


  • 7 Straw Cutting Sensory Tub // Sep 7, 2011 at 11:04 am

    These are really neat games to practice fine motor skills. Good work:)

  • 8 Spaghetti Box Kids // Sep 7, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the fedback. All the Best- AV

  • 9 Sam // Sep 26, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Great ideas. Unique, effective and very simple.

  • 10 Spaghetti Box Kids // Sep 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Sam, good to hear from you. Glad you liked the article. Cheers -AV

  • 11 Angie Sutherland // Jul 21, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    I love this blog! I plan to use some of these ideas to set up an activity table for the annual special education community resource fair. These are clever ideas any parent can throw together to make development activities fun for kids!

  • 12 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jul 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm


    That’s great to hear. Good luck with the fair—-I hope the kids have fun with the activities. Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts.


  • 13 Clare // Nov 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

    The “pass through” activities are loads of fun! We tape down the milk thingie and the roll of tape as you suggest, and my 3 yr old is so focused the task. Excellent article!

  • 14 Christine // Jan 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Great activities & great ideas.
    Can’t wait to set this up!

  • 15 dark world hack // Oct 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Great post.

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