10 Fun Fine Motor Skills Exercises for Special Needs Kids

As parents and caregivers, we know the importance of fine motor skills. It involves the small movements in the hands and wrists to do everyday activities, but also hand-eye coordination. It’s an important skill to develop if we want our kids to dress and feed themselves.

My son does little things to try to improve his fine motor skills because he has a weak grip. We try to make him open his own snack bags or unzip his own jacket. There are activities in everyday life that you can incorporate into fine motor skills exercises.

That is why I have listed out 10 fun fine motor skills exercises to help special needs kids that are fun and effective.

So let’s dive into them, shall we? 🙂

10 Fine Motor Skills Exercises for Special Needs Kids

1. Playdough Creations

Encourage your child to mold and roll the dough. My son loves to smash the dough especially if we create anything. But that’s all helping to strengthen their hand muscles and build dexterity.

2. Clothespin Color Match

Take colored clothespins and match them to color cards. Not just match, but have your child use the clothespin to attach it to the card. That way they’re using their sorting skills while building up their pincher finger muscles.

3. Stringing Beads

This one you can get creative with. You can use string and beads to complete the task, but that can be hard when your child struggles with fine motor skills. I’ve seen it where people put spaghetti noodles in a wad of playdough so they’re standing straight up and secured. Then have your child bead the spaghetti noodle.

4. Scissor Skills

Have your child cut out fun shapes to hone their fine motor skills. Remember to make them simple at first and use child-safe scissors (I know, but I felt I had to say it lol). This will help them with their hand control and build muscles in the hand for other activities.

5. Buttoning and Zipping Activities

Make it into a game (i.e., race to see who can button the most buttons). Sing a song that you make up on the spot. Don’t make this about them having to learn it for their own good. Be silly and make a song with the zipper when you zip it up and down. They’ll get a kick out of it while learning an important skill.

6. Sticker Peeling and Placement

Most kids love stickers! Get a pack of their favorite character stickers and have them peel them then place the stickers on paper. Make it to where they have to place the sticker accurately on a designated part of the paper. I like drawing squares on the paper for the designated area for the sticker (if the stickers aren’t too big).

7. Dot-to-Dot Drawing

There are so many dot-to-dot drawings out there that are cute and fun to do. Just print and have your kiddo draw dot-to-dot to help build the muscles to write and draw.

8. Threading Pasta

Take a pasta like ziti to thread on string OR use the spaghetti in playdough trick mentioned in #3 because that will help those with weaker fine motor skills. Stringing the pasta helps those pincher muscles plus hand-eye coordination.

9. Tweezers and Pom-Pom Transfer

Put pom-poms in a bowl or container and have an empty bowl or container for your child to use the tweezers and transfer the pom=poms. You can also use tongs if that’s easier. You can make it more fun by doing color matching with the pom-poms and the containers.

10. Tracing Shapes and Lines

Tracing helps improve control over writing utensils and refines hand movements. This helps their grip on the pencil too (a lot of our kiddos have trouble holding a pencil the “right” way). There are so many freebies out on Pinterest for this, so you should have your pick of what to print!


I hope these ideas were helpful to you! Fine motor skills for special needs kids are imperative for everyday activities. We want to foster ways for our child to be more independent and building fine motor skills does just that.

First, they’re feeding and dressing themselves, but one day they’re helping you with cooking or making their own snack. Things some people take for granted we have to work for with our kiddos. But it’s worth it in the end.

Let me know if you’re planning on doing any of these activities or if you already do them with your child. Drop it in the comments below and let me know because I love to connect!

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