Fine Motor Skill development milestones for 2yr olds.

Annabelle is fast approaching her third birthday. Crazy right? I know, I can’t seem to fathom it myself. However next year sees her little self-start nursery {OMG!} and I know we’ve got another year before she walks through those doors, however, even though she’s only 2 & a half I do like to be prepared and I’d love for her to be ready for it too.

We do lots of colouring in. She loves it and the pair of us can {and have} sat at the table for a good 30 minutes before she gets bored and wanders off. But her pencil grasp hasn’t quite got there yet, as she still holds her pencils in a full hand grasp. So I’d like to start some exercises with her to develop along her pencil grasp in time for nursery/pre-school.

So first things first is to define her motor skills and I thought I’d put together a few tips to share with you guys.

Do activities not involving colouring in/scribbling: I know, I’ve just harped on about needing to perfect the pencil grasp, however, before establishing that milestone, you need to strengthen those fingers first.

Purchase pegs from your local pound store and have your child mimic the opening and closing of them between their thumb and forefinger. Encourage them to clip the pegs onto pieces of card, the ears of their teddy bears, even the hem of the tops they wear.

Manipulate play dough into funny shapes. Squish it, squash it. Encourage your child to pinch, squash and mould it with their fingers.

Encourage the use of safety scissors.  I think this is a great idea and never really thought of it before now. Gaining the ability to hold and snip pieces of paper really helps to strengthen up those little fingers & hands. It also gives your child a great stepping stone to their pencil grasp development.

I actually picked up these super cute little age-appropriate scissors from Amazon and they were only £1.60!

Unscrew and screw the lids on jars/bottles etc. If you’re like any other typical family you’ll have jars constantly piling up on your sideboard. I know we do! However before now they’ve just got thrown into our recycle boxes, however now I’ll be keeping a few aside just for this.

Zip & unzip large zippers. Again this one is great because it encourages your child to use that thumb and forefinger again. There are lots of sensory/activity books with large zips to encourage this motor skill, and I know Annabelle has a Dora the Explorer one in her bookcase too.

I am very much looking forward to starting all of these fun tips to encourage Annabelles fine motor skill developments, and our next hurdle once we’ve conquered these, will be to define that pencil grasp milestone!

Do you have any other fine motor skill activities that you do with your toddler? I’d love to hear about them!

D xx



  1. 16/09/2015 / 9:35 PM

    This is actually perfect, I’ve been on pinterest tonight looking up ideas like this for busy bags. There are some brilliant ideas here. I’m definitely going to play with some pegs tomorrow with Evie. We do tend to just stick to scribbling and really need to divert a bit more. 🙂 xx #brilliantblogposts

    • 16/09/2015 / 10:12 PM

      Hi Chloe, I’ve been doing the pegs with Annabelle. She’s not quite got the hang of them yet as she keeps trying to pull them apart rather than pinch them together, but we’ll keep trying as it’s the perfect exercise for strengthening up those little hands before learning to write! x

  2. 17/09/2015 / 5:44 PM

    Great ideas – mine loved cutting with scissors, there are some excellent ones around now which are safe and do actually cut. #brilliantblogposts

  3. 17/09/2015 / 7:54 PM

    This is a brilliant post as soooooo many children starting in reception just don’t have the fine motor skills they need to learn how to write and it puts them off at a back foot. So helpful. Do you work in this area too?

  4. 17/09/2015 / 10:48 PM

    Really fun and useful tips – thank you. #brilliantblogposts

  5. 22/09/2015 / 8:18 AM

    Great article! Love the peg idea. I never would have though of it. Thanks for sharing #twinklytuesday

    • 22/09/2015 / 8:43 AM

      Thanks. The peg is one of the ones we’re really working on at the moment. Thanks for popping by!

  6. carol
    22/09/2015 / 8:24 AM

    lovely ideas, my daughter is nearly one and I am sure over the next year this will come in very useful #twinklytuesday

    • 22/09/2015 / 8:43 AM

      Thank you Carol. Hopefully this helps when your little one is ready for them!

  7. Silly Mummy
    23/09/2015 / 12:31 AM

    Good tips. Love the clipping pegs idea. My eldest is almost 2 and a half too. Oddly, she does hold pencils in the right way, and she always has – I don’t know where she got it from! It doesn’t make her any better at colouring in though! #MMWBH

  8. 23/09/2015 / 6:53 AM

    These are great tips, love those scissors!! Annabelle is growing up so fast x #MMWBH

  9. 23/09/2015 / 9:13 AM

    Great ideas – particularly the peg one, never would have thought of that! Thanks for having us on #MMWBH

  10. 23/09/2015 / 11:34 AM

    These are really great tips! I remember struggling to teach my daughter the pencil grasp, I wish I’d thought of some of these activities then. I’m going to keep this page bookmarked for when my son is old enough to use a pencil #MMWBH

  11. 23/09/2015 / 1:30 PM

    we did lots of simple wooden puzzles with the pegged bigger pieces. This is a great list

  12. Michelle
    23/09/2015 / 3:39 PM

    Those are all great alternatives to working just with a pencil or crayon. As a mom with two kids who had a hard time with fine motor development, as a preschool teacher aid who worked with kids using all of these alternatives instead of forcing the pencil, and as a Developmental Specialist who used puzzles, pegs, and play doh as a way to help with their delays in Fine Motor, your post is great for parents who might be worrying about this important developmental milestone. Thanks so much for sharing! Visiting from #themadmidweekbloghop

  13. 23/09/2015 / 4:54 PM

    Yes, pegs is such a good one! My children all love playing with our pegs – not so helpful when I am trying to peg out the washing though! #mmwbh

  14. 23/09/2015 / 5:04 PM

    Great tips I am sure many early years teachers would be very happy to see an improvement in children’s motor skills but some children are definitely ready for pencils earlier than others. We love threading beads, posting coins into a money box, doing puzzles, placing peg patterns in peg boards, making collages and junk modelling. #MMWBH

  15. 23/09/2015 / 7:02 PM

    I love those scissors – what a bargain! We do a lot of painting (with and without brushes) at home as it tends to involve bigger hand and arm movements than colouring, which is meant to be good for development at this stage #mmwbh

  16. 23/09/2015 / 7:13 PM

    Thank you for this post, Debs. I’ve been looking for more things to practice Little Lady’s fine motor skills and this is just perfect! Her pencil grip is the same as Annabelle’s; full palm! Have you tried the jumbo triangular crayons from Crayola? They work wonders with her (when I have her full attention). Because of the shape, it forces her to grip the crayons in the “correct” way. Let me know and I’ll send you an amazon link on where I found them 🙂

    Thank you for hosting us this week on #mmwbh! Have a great rest of the day 🙂

  17. 24/09/2015 / 4:45 PM

    I didn’t realise that Annabelle was the same age as the boys!! 🙂

    They’ve just had their 2 and a half year check with the health visitor and I bought beads for them to thread onto a string; as that was one of the things it asked for in the test. They absolutely LOVED doing that!! Amazing how much they can do now. Our babies are growing SO quickly aren’t they? Thanks for linking up to #TwinklyTuesday — much appreciated x

  18. The L's Mum
    29/09/2015 / 9:13 PM

    These are some fab tips. My little boy is 2 years and 3 months and I am trying to encourage this more. I love the peg idea and the playdoh suggestion. #MMWBH

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