The role of play in developing fine motor skills

The Role of Play in Developing Fine Motor Skills

What are Fine Motor Skills?

Fine motor skills refer to the coordination of smaller muscle movements which occur in the hands, wrists, fingers, feet, toes, lips and tongue. They require the use of smaller muscles to perform precise movements, such as those used when writing or manipulating smaller objects. Examples of fine motor skills include but are not limited to:

  • Writing
  • Gripping and squeezing
  • Pinching
  • Cutting
  • Drawing/Coloring
  • Buttoning

The Role of Play in the Development of Fine Motor Skills

Play is essential in helping children develop and refine their fine motor skills. Through imaginative play, children can practice and hone the skills they need to write, draw and manipulate small objects.

When children play with puzzles, building blocks, drawing, writing and other activities, they build core strength, hand-eye coordination and learn to use the proper grip and control needed to manipulate small objects. This builds the fundamental skills required for writing, drawing and grasping.

Playing also helps children develop their creative and problem-solving skills. When children are encouraged to explore, experiment and express themselves through their play, they learn to think abstractly and develop strategies to solve problems. This helps to nurture the application of fine motor skills in the classroom and other activities.

Activities to Rehearse Fine Motor Skills

There is a range of activities that can be used to help young children develop their fine motor skills. Activities such as:

  • Jumping
  • Catching
  • Throwing
  • Building with play blocks
  • Lego
  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Coloring
  • Dancing
  • Playing instruments

Through participating in activities that encourage the use of small muscle movement, children are able to perfect their fine motor skills, improve their coordination and increase their self-confidence.


Play is the ideal platform for developing and honing fine motor skills. Through play, children can practice and strengthen the small muscles needed for writing, drawing, cutting, gripping and manipulating small objects. Moreover, play helps children develop their creative and problem-solving skills, and gives them the confidence and ability to apply these skills to their everyday life.

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