Skip to main navigation Skip to content

Be the first to know

Keep me in the loop about news, events and advice from Goodstart.

Goodstart homepage Goodstart Early Learning logo

Fine motor skills: the what, how and why

Early learning

Gross motor skills refer to ‘big’ movements, for example the movement and coordination of arms, legs and other large body parts. Swimming, running, jumping are all examples of gross motor skills.

Fine motor skills on the other hand, refer to the movements of the small muscles that control your hands, wrists, fingers and toes etc. Developing these skills means children are able to undertake important tasks such as feeding themselves, using scissors, holding a pen and manipulating buttons and zippers.

So how can I help my child develop their fine motor skills?

Developing fine motor skills is all about building up the strength in these small muscles. For children to be able to do things like write, they must first have the strength and coordination in their fingers to hold a pen.

One way to help children build these skills is by setting up activities that use their hands, wrists, fingers etc. Here’s a couple of examples from Goodstart Doncaster East:

Shape tracing

This experience scaffolds children's ability to locate and identify shapes, sizes and colours as they use a paint brush with water to trace away the shape. Pencil grip and hand eye coordination are also strengthened through this experience.


Test tube sorting

Can you use the tongs to sort the tiny items into the test tubes? Skills = fine motor, early maths, classifying and categorising.

Goodstart Live Chat