Top 10 OT Fine Motor Tools Under $1

Here is a list of my Top 10 Fine Motor Tools along with activities you can do with your little ones.

1. Clothes Pins

Therapeutic Benefit: Strengthens muscles used for a pincer grasp which is a precursor to a tripod grasp on writing utensils (the most efficient type of pencil grasp).

  • Pin on animal shapes for legs
  • Use for color match
  • Pick up items to sort
  • Use for number match
  • Hang up doll clothing on a hanging ribbon
  • Make a cute craft

2. Stickers

Therapeutic Benefit: Stickers are small and delicate. They require children to use a neat pincer grasp with the tip of their fingers and to be gentle so as not to crumple the sticker (graded finger control)

3. Scissors

Therapeutic Benefit: 

The open and close motion of the hand against a resistive medium helps strengthen the same muscles of the hand that are used for handwriting. Cutting is also an excellent bilateral coordination activity because as one hand cuts with the scissors the other holds and moves the paper (active assist). Furthermore, cutting takes motor planning skills as to plan how to cut out a figure.

  • Cut straws to make a necklace
  • Make long playdoh hot dogs and snip
  • Cut along a maze or a road (great motor coordination activity)

4. Playdoh

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Therapeutic Benefit: Great resistive  medium to strengthen little fingers.

  • Hide items in the dough and have children find them
  • Make a hot dog and cut it with a plastic knife or scissors
  • Stick golf tees and balance marbles
  • Stick dry spaghetti or skewers and string beads on them (you can do a pattern)
  • Roll out dough and used cookie cutters, rolling pins and cutting wheel
  • Make little balls with fingers and squeeze

5. Shoelaces

Therapeutic Benefit: These can be used to work on various fine motor skills. When holding the tip of the lace, children work on improving neat pincer grasp. This is an important part of dexterity.

  • Teach your child to tie shoelaces using 2 DIFFERENT colored laces
  • Make holes on card stock paper and use to teach lacing
  • Use for beading to make a necklace

6. Beads

Therapeutic Benefit: The small size of beads provides the opportunity to work on many fine motor skills that require neat pincer grasp. They can also be used for in-hand manipulation skills such as nesting and retrieving.

7. Push Pins

Therapeutic Benefits: These can help strengthen neat pincer grasp which in turn is a precursor to a tripod grasp with writing utensils.

  • Use push pins to poke around a shape
  • Use similar colors to match answers on a cork board
  • Poke on playdoh to practice making letters

8. Wikki Stix

Therapeutic Benefits: So many ways to meet therapeutic goals using wiki stic. Check out my post 10 Ways to Use Wikki Stix.

9. Tweezers

Therapeutic Benefits: This is another great way to strengthen muscles involved in neat pincers grasp which are also used to hold a pencil correctly during handwriting.

  • Pick up small items to sort
  • Pull out items from playdoh
  • Use during counting games to pick up items
  • Incorporate in an obstacle course ex: pick up item with tweezers, walk across a balance beam without dropping items.

10. Hole Puncher

Therapeutic Benefit: This is a good tool to strengthen muscles of the hand and also a great activity when teaching cutting skills because the hole puncher mimics the open/close motion of scissors.

  • Teach cutting complex figures by hole punching along the shape and cut through the holes.
  • Punch out holes from different colored construction paper and use the “confetti” to create a picture or write your name or then use a shoelace for “sewing”

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Marcela Figueroa
Marcela Figueroa
7 years ago

Love these OT ideas

Hi, I 'm Nancy

I’m an Occupational Therapist (OT) with more than 18 years of experience and whose greatest passion is working with children of all abilities. 

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