Fun Holiday Crafts to Develop Children’s Fine Motor Skills
When you’re a teacher or parent, you become fluent in child development terms like “fine motor skills.”
In fact, you could go crazy tracking developmental milestones (he should be able to zip things by now!) or carefully watching to make sure every child in your classroom is on track.
There’s no denying the fact that fine motor skills are important. They’re the reason you don’t have to think about brushing your teeth, zipping zippers, or pouring milk into your cereal.
Help children develop their fine motor skills with fun activities!
Combine learning with creative holiday crafts and you have an unbeatable recipe for childhood learning success (at least, you’ll keep the kids occupied for a while)! Check out some of these fun fine motor skill crafts for kids, and follow our Pinterest board for more fun learning ideas!
Use Scissors to Create Holiday Shapes
When your child uses scissors, they develop their hand-eye coordination and hand strength in addition to their fine motor skills.
Start off by using kid-friendly scissors to ensure that kids are safe while completing the activity. Then, allow your child to take to a stack of colored or plain paper and create holiday shapes!
They can be as intricate or as simple as you’d like, and the best way to encourage motor skill development is by drawing out the shape before cutting, and allow them to get creative with colorful craft tape. Here are a couple great craft ideas for this holiday season:
- Let your child help wrap presents
- Fold and cut paper snowflakes
- Create a Paper Plate and Clothespin Menorah
- Cut out vellum Hanukkah Window Stars
Create Toothpick Holiday Scenes
This is one of those very simple activities with fantastic results! All you need is a toothpick and colorful paper. Give your child a toothpick (or any other utensil with a sharp end—like a pencil) and let them punch holes in the paper. Encourage them to get creative with shapes, whether it’s a snowman or a star. When your child’s finished, have them hold the paper up to a light source and watch their picture glow!
Up to a bigger challenge? Take it to another level, and help kids create Star-Punched Paper Hurricanes for the table!
Note: this activity is best suited for older children, as sharp toothpicks can be hazardous in the hands of the little ones. Watch carefully to ensure they’re using scissors properly.
Set up a Seasonal Sensory Table
Increase palmar engagement and tactile discovery with a sensory table! Simply use a deep tub or play table with lids and fill it with any medium. Get creative and try different types of materials, such as rice or pasta, oatmeal, cotton balls (snow!) or oil, then throw in materials like soap, shells, blocks, and more for your child to discover.
To make it holiday-themed, try making a “melted snowman” with cold water, a carrot, black olives, and twigs. Invite your child to close their eyes and guess what’s there!
Bust out the Blocks
Blocks are not just great for harnessing your child’s creativity, they’re also great for creating muscle strength with small muscles in the hands! And when your little ones are attempting to make their block tower as tall as they can, they’re also honing in on their small motor movements. Try using colorful play connector or gear manipulatives as a twist on traditional hardwood blocks.
When cleaning up, invite children to try using tongs to move blocks or manipulatives from the floor to the bin. It may make for slower cleanup times, but it also builds those important motor skills and provides an additional challenge to older children.
If you really want to get into the holiday spirit, create a Modern Wooden Block Menorah with older children, or challenge your kiddo to create a block Christmas tree.
Make Bead Necklaces as Gifts
If you’re working with older elementary children, you can use any number of stringing materials, from stretch elastic to cotton cords. For younger kids, pipe cleaners make bead stringing a much less frustrating activity.
Gather beautiful beads in bowls on your kid’s table (holiday-themed colors and shapes are a nice touch!) and invite children to create beautiful keepsakes and gifts that they can keep or give away as gifts.
DIY Tree Ornaments
This is one of those magical crafts that can be as difficult or as easy as you please. Start off with that colorful construction paper or felt and cut it into whatever shapes you please (stars, round circles, or other ornament shapes), then use yarn or puffy paint to make ornaments pretty.
This will increase your child’s finger dexterity and will require some additional hand strength, particularly if you decide to use squeezable paint. Here are some fantastic ornament ideas:
- Button Trees (Youtube Video)
- Candy Cane Mice
- Felt Stars
Now, you and your kids will be well equipped with fine motor skills and brand new holiday decorations. Looking for other ways to increase your child’s fine motor skills the fun way? Check out our Blocks and Manipulatives for high-quality learning toys, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more fun educational activities.