In this blog post: Looking for resources to use in morning tubs or centers in preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, or first grade? These 6 free fine motor activities for back to school are no prep but high engagement!
It’s no secret that fine motor skills are essential, but often our students start the year somewhat lacking in those skills. We want to pack as much fine motor practice as possible into our day, but finding the time to prep and implement can be.. difficult at best!
These 6 free back to school fine motor activities:
Are no prep, which means you can just print, laminate if you want, and add the manipulatives. It couldn’t be easier!
Can be used in morning tubs or literacy centers at the beginning of the year with little explanation needed.
Are fun and engaging for students!
Let’s take a closer look at the activities included. You can download these 6 free fine motor activities for back to school at the end of this blog post.
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Why are fine motor skills important?
We use fine motor skills every single day when we use our fingers, hands, and wrists. They are needed for writing, cutting, and even for performing everyday tasks like getting dressed or eating.
Students with weak fine motor skills can experience a lot of frustration during the school day. They might struggle with writing, drawing, or completing worksheets. Not because they lack the academic skills, but because they lack the fine motor skills.
So we know that it’s important to give students several opportunities to build those fine motor skills during the day, but finding the time can be next to impossible.
One of the best ways I’ve found to work on fine motor skills is to weave it into our day. From morning tubs to centers to worksheets as independent practice.. a lot more can be considered fine motor work than you may realize!
Back to School Fine Motor Activities
These back to school fine motor activities can be easily added in to your morning tubs, used to create fine motor centers, or as an option for easy centers for the beginning of the school year.
Just print and laminate! It doesn’t get easier than that.
Activity 1: Pony Bead Pictures
As an adult, matching beads to a picture does NOT sound like my idea of a good time. But for kids? There is just something about the novelty of adding pony beads to paper that they love.
Pony bead pictures are always a favorite in my classroom!
This fine motor activity is as easy as it sounds. Students will match pony beads to the dots on the picture. Easy, yes, but students have to use that pincer grasp to pick up and transfer the beads.
The pony bead fine motor mats also work on color matching, which is one of those skills that’s important but we don’t get to spend too much time on it in Kindergarten!
Activity 2: Pom-Pom Pictures
Pom-pom fine motor pictures are really just the big version of pony bead pictures. But to students, it’s a brand new and exciting center!
For this fine motor activity, students will match pom-poms to the dots on the pictures. Again, this works on using the pincer grasp as well as color matching.
You can also add in fine motor tweezers as a challenge. These alligator tweezers are a little easier for little hands, while these tweezers are a little more challenging.
Activity 3: Popsicle Stick Pictures
Students will match the popsicle sticks to the mats to build the pictures. This is easily one of my favorite fine motor activities for back to school (and anytime really)!
You can extend this fine motor activity by asking students to create anything that they want using the popsicle sticks. The possibilities are endless!
Activity 4: Pattern Block Pictures
One of my favorite fine motor toys is pattern blocks. Not only are these perfect for practicing the pincer grasp and matching shapes, but students can just get so creative with them!
For the pattern block picture mats, students will match pattern blocks to the shapes on the back to school pictures. This is great for visual discrimination and identifying 2D shapes.
This is another one of the fine motor activities that you can easily extend by letting students get creative and build anything they can imagine with the shapes.
Activity 5: Playdough Mats
For these back to school fine motor mats, I kept it really simple and created shape playdough mats.
Kristi C. has her playdough shape mats prepped and ready for the first week of school!
For these 2D shapes playdough mats, students will use dough to make the shape inside of the larger 2D shape. You can even challenge students to combine shapes to compose new pictures out of the shapes!
Activity 6: Paper Tear + Glue Pictures
For this fine motor activity, students will tear small pieces of colored paper and glue them onto the picture. You can also swap tearing for cutting if students need to practice their scissor cutting skills.
This fine motor seems simple, but you’re actually targeting tons of tiny muscles and movements as students tear, transfer, and glue the paper.
Download the free fine motor activities!
You can grab these free fine motor activities for back to school below. Just enter your email and they will be sent straight to your inbox.
Do you love free stuff?
Back to School Fine Motor Mats
Get a set of 6 no prep fine motor activities with a back to school theme.
Having trouble? Make sure that you use a personal email address and not a school email. School districts often block emails with outside downloads.
Looking for more ideas and freebies this back to school season? Check out these blog posts: