Toddler development

8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skills

From drawing with sidewalk chalk to swinging from the monkey bars, summertime play can help your kids build essential fine motor skills.

By Claire Gagne

8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skills

Photo: iStockphoto

Think sidewalk chalk and water fights are all fun and games? Think again. While your kids are having a blast getting wet and being creative, they're also working on those essential fine motor skills. Kids who are learning fine motor tasks—such as printing or buttoning clothing—need to develop strength in their hands, wrists, fingers and forearms as well as hand-eye coordination and an ability to move their fingers independently of one another. There are lots of fun summer activities that do just this—without your kids even realizing that they're working on skill development. Here are our favourites!

Popping bubbles

Blow bubbles and challenge your kid to pop them with her index finger. This develops hand-eye coordination and works on finger isolation—the ability to move individual fingers.

8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skillsPhoto: iStock

Playing in the sand

Your kid will naturally be digging in the sand all summer, so you can rest easy knowing that all that manipulating sand between the fingers builds dexterity, and pouring sand from one container to the other gets their forearms moving, which builds strength.  

8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skillsPhoto: iStock

Drawing with sidewalk chalk

Any drawing your kid does will help with pencil grasp and hand strength. But the great thing about sidewalk chalk is kids will often lie flat on the ground when using it, which forces them to extend their forearm, building up the strength there too.

8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skillsPhoto: iStock

Squeezing a sponge

Fill up a bucket with water. Give your kid a big sponge, have them dip it in the bucket and then run to another bucket and squeeze the water into it. Repeat until all the water has transferred between buckets. This game works the muscles in the hands and fingers.

8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skillsPhoto: iStock

Painting the sidewalk

Make some sidewalk paint with water, cornstarch and food colouring (get the instructions here). Then give your kid a paintbrush and sit back as he lets his creativity loose. Painting is a great way to get your kiddo’s hands and arms used to the motions needed for writing.

8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skillsPhoto: iStock

Swinging on monkey bars

Grasping and hanging from a bar is hard work for fingers, wrists and forearms.

8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skillsPhoto: iStock

Pinning clothes on a line

Get your older kid to help you pin clothes on a line to dry. Squeezing those little clothespins between the thumb and index finger builds finger strength.

8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skillsPhoto: iStock

Water fight!

Who doesn’t love getting wet on a hot day? Little does your kid know that spraying water out of a bottle or water gun works the muscles in her hands and fingers. No one around to soak? Have your kid give the plants a drink with a spray bottle.

8 outdoor activities that develop fine motor skillsPhoto: iStock

This article was originally published on Aug 06, 2019
FILED UNDER:
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement