Fine Motor is FUN!


Did you know that students spend between 37.1% and 60.2% of the school day performing fine motor activities? These activities include handwriting, zipping a jacket for recess, gathering items such as pencils, and using a fork to feed themselves at lunch. As a result, increasing fine motor skills can greatly impact a student’s independence in school. 


Handwriting is an extremely important occupation for most students. Fine motor precision and in-hand manipulation skills are factors that influence handwriting legibility. The best part of school-based occupational therapy is that we can have FUN working on the skills that the student needs to be successful in the classroom. Play-doh? Working on finger and thumb strength! Playing Connect 4? Working on in-hand translation! Lite-Brite? Working on the separation of the two sides of the hand and a pincer grasp! 

The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to implementing fun fine motor activities in school-based therapy. And I’m sure as most of you know, when the students are having fun, they end up making the most progress! 


How to Create a FUN Fine-Motor Kit

I have found it to be extremely helpful to keep a “fine-motor kit’ with me at all times so that I know I will always have items to work on fine motor skills if I need them. This is especially the case when I am covering multiple schools and need to transfer equipment back and forth! I have also found this helpful for days when I am extremely busy and have less time to prepare for the therapy session.


Fine-Motor Kit:

  • Play-Doh/Putty 
  • Nuts/Bolts
  • Legos/Building Blocks
  • Tongs/Poms
  • Beads/Pipe Cleaners/String
  • Wind-Up Toy
  • Tennis ball monster

These items have been helpful for students of all ages and abilities, as you can easily mix and match the items as well as grade up or down tasks as needed. For example, a student that is working on more basic skills might work on the simple task of connecting blocks together, while a student that is working on higher-level skills might connect the blocks together so that they form an uppercase letter. Be creative with it! And remember, occupational therapists help put the FUN in FUNctional


Author: Natalie Zanella, MOT, OTR/L



Back to Blog

Related Articles

Vision Skills in School Occupational Therapy
Have you ever tried doing even a familiar task with your eyes closed? What about trying to find...
Christmas/Holiday Activities for Speech and Language Therapy
It’s my favorite time of the year! The days are filled with holiday cheer! School is out and kids...
Executive Functioning and Speech-Language Therapy
Executive functioning is set of cognitive-based skills that help an individual plan, direct, and...