Hand (fine motor) tasks for toddlers

  • Getting a reluctant infant  to work hard at new tasks requires patience, imagination and most importantly a deep understanding of how games and activities can be adapted to draw the child in, and then changed to make them progressively more difficult.

  • Some toddlers and young children have a very strong dislike of touching soft and squishy substances and really dislike getting their hands dirty. 

    This dislike or even fear of "dirt" is probably linked to having an overactive disgust emotion.  Disgust is a very primitive and visceral emotion, the core function being to protect the individual toxins and pathogens. 

  • One of my favorite bought toys is a set of nesting cups.  

    At 13 months Roan has just started figuring out how to take the nested cups apart and is getting the hang of putting one cup into another. 

  • Toddlers love playing with play dough, and will roll it out, flatten and squish, make long rolls and then cut or break them into pieces.

    All these actions are a great opportunity for improving finger strength and coordination, as well as exploring different ways of doing things. 

    You can extend your toddlers repertoire of actions by joining your toddler at the table and demonstrating different things you can do with the play dough.