Activities to develop fine motor skills in 5-year-olds

Updated June 26, 2018

Activities to improve fine motor skills teach 5-year-old children to control their muscles. They also improve hand-eye coordination for children. Many common activities that 5-year-old children enjoy already require the use of the fine motor skills that are rapidly developing at this age. Give your child plenty of opportunities to use those small muscle groups in daily activities.

Stringing Beads

A plastic needle and plastic or foam beads provide a simple activity to improve fine motor skills. Help the 5-year-old tie a knot at the end of the string to hold the beads in place. He threads the beads onto the string using the plastic needle to guide the beads. This activity also allows for practicing patterns by alternating the colour or design of the beads in a repetitive manner. After the string of beads is complete, have the child count the beads of various colours to integrate math skills.

Lacing Cards

Craft foam or old greeting cards serve as the base for homemade lacing card. Cut a shape for the lacing card from the foam or greeting card. Punch a series of holes evenly spaced about 1 inch apart along the perimeter of the shape. A shoelace or length of string tied to one of the holes allows the 5-year-old to practice her fine motor skills. She weaves the string in and out of the holes along the edge, requiring her to control the end of it to complete the task.

Tweezer Transfer

A bowl with cotton balls provides another opportunity to improve fine motor skills. A large pair of tweezers are used by the child to transfer the cotton balls to an empty bowl. Chopsticks are another option for this activity. The child improves his fine motor skills by learning to control the tweezers and position them around the cotton balls. He must also keep the tweezers closed until they reach the empty bowl, where he must use his fine motor skills to release the cotton.

Sign Language

Teaching a 5-year-old simple sign language skills gives her another form of communication while improving fine motor skills. Many videos, books and websites teach simple signs. The child must learn to control and manoeuvre her hands to create the appropriate sign. Learning sign language also gives the child a chance to learn about differences in people while gaining an appreciation for those differences.

Snack Skewers

Bamboo skewers allow kids to create a delicious snack while improving fine motor skills. Provide a variety of cut-up fruit, vegetables, meats or cheese based on the child's taste preferences. Encourage him to centre the pieces at the end of the skewer, sliding it along to the end. Have him make fun patterns with the food placed on the skewer.

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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.