The Importance of Fine Motor Skills in Early Childhood

Believe it or not, learning how to shake a rattle is tough work!

Developing fine motor skills in babies involves encouraging the use of the small muscles that control the hand, fingers, and thumb. They help children perform important tasks like feeding themselves, grasping toys, buttoning and zipping clothes, writing, drawing, and more. The ability to complete self-care and everyday tasks helps a child’s self-esteem and confidence to increase.

At Morningside Daycare, we recognize the importance to start working with children on building their fine motor skills early on. Fine motor skills will develop and improve as they move through childhood. It just takes the right kind of practice. Here are seven ways our Nursery Educators help your child develop their fine motor skills.

Independent Eating

It sounds simple, and perhaps makes you cringe with the thought of the mess your child will make, however our Nursery educators understand that it’s an easy way to help your child develop their fine motor skills. At Puss In Boots we enjoy watching your children develop their independence as they attempt to feed themselves and it also presents a great photo opportunity for the documentation of their emerging skills.


It’s no secret that children love art. Educators will offer babies activities that involve painting, drawing and gluing. These activities are a great way of improving fine motor skills as it helps strengthen your child’s hand dominance; given they have a dominant hand. While improving one hand, it also helps the use of both as while one hand is doing the drawing, etc, the other hand needs to work to steady the paper to draw. This also improves object manipulation in order to move the tools with control.


Manipulating malleable materials is another fun activity that increases a baby’s fine motor skills. Our Nursery educators watch closely to make sure they don’t eat any of it, and direct them to mould it in the air rather than on a flat surface. This increases the chance of use of single fingers at a time and maximises the increase of hand and finger strength. Educators and babies work together to make their own playdough, making the experience even more rewarding.


Our Morningside Nursery babies practice grasping, dropping, throwing, hitting together, picking up and passing blocks, all of which are important for developing those little muscles in the hands. Nursery educators will provide blocks of all types of sizes, shapes and textures and are the perfect tool to assist your child’s development and lots of fun too. Blocks also stimulate problem solving, co-ordination and spatial awareness.


Babies are encouraged by our caring Nursery educators to use puzzles with pegs, requiring the babies to use either a pinching or grasping motion. They then need to maintain that grasp, move the pieces around and position them in the desired places. Puzzles also increase cognitive abilities, problem solving skills and hand eye co-ordination, making them a great all round developmental improving activity.

Sand and Water Play

Nursery educators understand the importance of exposing babies to different types of textures, sounds, smells, tastes and looks, and a simple way to do this is through sand and water play. Through this play, babies develop their fine motor skills when they are using their hand/eye co-ordination to scoop up water or sand and rummage through the material. It will also develop their math and science skills when they experience concepts like floating and sinking or wet or dry, and can also provide a great social skill opportunity if playing alongside other babies.