Fine motor skills used to be referred to as “dexterity,” but the phrase now refers to the coordination or synchronization of the hand and finger muscles with the eyes and the brain. These skills have been encountering pressures from our technological environment, mainly because laptops, iPads, cell phones and other screen gadgets are becoming more commonplace among very young children.

Just a few years ago, I was debating with my wife the right timing on when to bite the bullet and allow my eighth grade daughter to have her own cell phone. But today such a husband/wife dialogue sounds like something out of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. I see second graders with cell phones—not to mention preschoolers with techie devices shoved in their backpacks.

The development of fine motor skills has taken on a whole new urgency in schools who consider themselves to be thoughtful, educationally sound institutions. Let me outline for you the benefits and value of fine motor skills development for proper brain health, then offer a short list of activities that our very youngest children should be working on prior to entering kindergarten.

How Fine Motor Skills Contribute to Brain Health:

  • Quickens Reaction Time
  • Increases Fluidity Between the Eye and the Hand
  • Maintains Brain Stimulation
  • Supports Social Communication
  • Enhances Visual Attention
  • Aids in Language Learning
  • Bolsters Cerebellum Function
  • Connects Brain Hemispheres
  • Helps Build Neural Scaffolding
  • Optimizes Reading and Math Skills


Ways to Develop Fine Motor Skills in Preschool Children:


  • Working with Play-Dough and Putty
  • Transferring Water from One Cup to Another with Eyedropper or Syringe
  • Tying One’s Shoes
  • Gardening—Weeding and Planting
  • Using Pencils, Crayons and Chalk rather than Magic Markers
  • Placing Beads on a String
  • Using Scissors
  • Folding—Practice Origami or other Paper Folding Arts
  • Sorting Plant Seeds with Tweezers
  • Painting with Q-Tips