Helping your child develop fine and gross motor skills can be fun! It doesn’t have to feel like a forced attempt at preparing for reinforcing school instruction.
Below are simple art projects that are all relatively mess free, inexpensive to keep little hands active and productive, and encourage fine and gross motor skills. Making art not only engages a child’s creativity, but encourages the development of skills and muscles used in all aspects of his or her life.
Crafts for Fine Motor Development
1. Fleece Tie Blanket
As a teacher, I’ve noticed the majority of my elementary kids (even the oldest ones) struggle with tying a basic knot. Using scissors properly is another struggle, and kids constantly come to me for help as they hold their pair of scissors upside down or attempt to cut toward themselves.
There are lots of simple tutorials online for this no-sew project. This is a great way for your child to practice tying knots while making something they can be really proud of.
Bonus: This can be prepped at home and taken in the car to work on during any summer road trip.
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2. Q-Tip Painting
Pointillism is an art movement that creates a picture out of lots of small dots and is great for developing hand-eye coordination.
To do Q-Tip painting, you simply need Q-Tips, paper, and paint. Let your kiddo’s imagination go wild. Encourage a picture or let them fill the whole sheet.
3. Beading and Stringing
Making bracelets, keychains, etc. is a great way to develop fine motor skills and another great craft for hand-eye coordination.
Large plastic beads are best for little hands. Upper elementary kids can handle smaller beading projects like looming to create things like bracelets, bookmarks, and hatbands.
Have your child cut out pictures or words and letters from magazines and create a collage by arranging and pasting all on a new piece of paper. Cutting helps strengthen the hand muscles and develop control with scissors.
Kids can also use collage to create a scrapbook of their school year or summer. Pasting photos and other collage elements (stickers, ticket stubs, etc.) on cardstock is an easy way to create a mini scrapbook.
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There are lots of origami tutorials that can be found online ranging from simple to very complex. It usually helps to make a couple projects together before kids are confident to do it on their own.
Activities for Gross Motor Development
6. Large Canvas Painting
Working on large canvases (think sidewalk chalk in the driveway or painting an old bedsheet) can help your child develop his or her gross motor skills by allowing your kiddo to move within their artwork.
Art Therapy Exercises
Art therapy exercises are a great way to express feelings or just wind down and relax with a calm activity. This is especially useful if you have kids that are weaning out of naps, but still require some quiet time in the day. There are a lot of prompts you can find and follow that get your child to think “outside of the box.” There are also a lot that involve playing music and involving your other senses in the art-making process. Overall, art therapy exercises are a great way for your child to slow down and focus on something for a few minutes without the distraction of screens.
7. Create Your Own Comic Strip
You can print out free templates online that can be drawn in to create a story. This is a great way for kids to use their imaginations and even process emotions.
8. Straw Weaving
All it takes to make these tapestries is straws, tape, yarn and scissors. All grades did weaving activities in class this year. Activities that require repetitive movements (such as weaving) are a great way to relax and focus. This is also a great craft to take in the car if you have any long drives planned over the summer. Using bigger straws or smoothie straws are easier for little hands.