The Playful Parent



I love that it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money for a kid to have fun. I know one thing’s for sure; my kids always surprise me when they have more fun with the trash than toys. Whether it’s coloring an Amazon box, crinkling paper or popping bubble wrap, they always have a blast. But these recycled toys can go from fun to educational with just a few simple tweaks.  In this article I’m going share some festive fine motor activities you can create at home for your toddler or preschooler. As both a playful mom and a play therapist, I’m right there with you when it comes to creating cheap and fun activities.

Here are five adorable handmade toys that promote the development of fine motor skills:

  1. Present Press- Use an empty container with one or several square holes cut out on top of the lid. Containers that would work well for this activity are coffee cans or a Pringles container. You can buy little square decorative presents from the craft store. The little presents are stored in the container. When it’s time to play you pop the lid off, pour the presents out and than your little one uses their fingers to push the presents back into the container. This activity helps with pincher grasp and finger isolation.
  1. Bead Drop- The perfect container for this project would include a puffs or baby rice cereal container. You cut a small circular hole into the lid for the string of beads to fit through. The idea is for your little one to use their tripod grasp to drop the beads into the container.
  1. Ornaments Organizer- For this project you can use ornaments bought at the store or homemade salt dough ones. Containers excellent for this project include: baby wipe box, cream cheese or Cool Whip containers. The idea is for your little one to push ornaments through a slit in the container. For advanced kids you could put stickers next to the holes labeling them for three different types of ornaments. Example: Santa, Elf and Reindeer and then they have to match the correct ornament into the right slot.
  1. Pom Pom Push- Wrap a shoe box lid and box separately in wrapping paper, in order to still open and close the box. Cut out small circles into the lid a little smaller than the size of the pom pom; using a permanent marker color around the circle. The idea is for your little one to enjoy pushing the poms into the holes of the box.  For older toddlers or pre-schoolers you can encourage them to put the colors in the correct holes.
  1. Snowflake Shove- For this activity you can buy plastic ornaments at the store dollar or craft store. Containers excellent for this project include: plastic soup container. The idea is for your little one to shove the snowflakes through a slit through the lid of the container.



Recycled Holiday Cards- Recycle your holiday cards by turning them into puzzles. Simply cute the cards into pieces and have your little one put the pieces back together. I used my scrap booking paper cutter to keep the lines even.

***I would like to thank the infant and toddler program for sharing many of these awesome ideas with our family. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!***

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