Fall Fine Motor Fun Activities {Toddler Style}


Fall Fine Motor FunDespite the unseasonably warm temperatures, the leaves are turning and Fall is officially here, friends. Are you longing to fill your house with the scent of pumpkin pie or warm pumpkin spice muffins, but you’re thinking, if only I could keep my toddler busy long enough to make my pumpkin-filled dreams a reality? I hear you, sister. I am always looking for simple activities to occupy my kids set out for my kids; activities that invite them to explore, imagine, and even learn as they play. The criteria: Easy set-up, incorporates some items we already have, captures their attention, and encourages them to practice a skill(s) they’re learning. The kids love themed activities, so since Fall is upon us, here are 5 tried and true Fall-themed activities that also encourage the development of fine motor skills.


Grab Bag

With two little ones, I’m always thinking about ways I can encourage them to work together on activities. In this case, what started as a simple grab bag DSC_0034{one person reaches in with his eyes closed and has to guess what the object is} quickly evolved into a game where one person removes a fall-themed item from the bag with the tweezers and places it in the hands of the other person who has his eyes closed. The second person has to guess what object is in his hands. For the Fall-themed bag, we included a pine cone, a leaf, an acorn, and a small gourd. Supplies: bag, tweezers or tongs, fall-themed objects

Leaf Collage

We’ve done this one every year since my oldest was a toddling two year old. Take DSC_0026a canvas or simply a side of a cardboard box. Encourage the child to collect some leaves or “leaf treasures,” as they are known in our house. Let them have at it with the brush and the Modge-podge, affixing the leaves to the canvas/cardboard. The Modge-Podge dries clear, leaving a lovely little leaf collage. We often make this a two part project by getting the paints and brushes out the next day, allowing them to add a splash of paint to their leaf masterpiece. Supplies: canvas or cardboard, paint brush or sponge, Modge-Podge

Halloween Chute

This simple activity can capture a toddler’s attention for hours. Ok, just kidding, as we know, toddlers have an attention span that lasts all of 2 minutes. That being said, this activity has kept DSC_0012my kids busy for 10 minutes at a time, even at two-years-old up through five. Because it’s so easy to set up, it’s actually an activity that we do throughout the year, always with different objects. Simply affix a toilet paper or paper towel roll to a wall, cabinet, or door, and place a bowl beneath it. Set out a separate bowl with pom-poms in it. For Halloween, we used orange, black, purple, and green pom-poms and a Spider web-shaped bowl {all from Dollar Tree}. Picking up the pom-poms encourages them to practice their pincer grasp, which is a required fine-motor skill for learning how to write. For younger children, this is also a great activity for practicing object permanence as they will be thrilled to see that the pom-pom that disappeared into the roll emerges back into sight from the other end. Toddlers have also been known to love the noise-making effect of using hard objects like stones instead of pom-poms and a metal bowl instead of a plastic one {parents…maybe not so much}. Supplies: tp or paper towel roll, 2 bowls, pom-poms

Pipe Cleaner Practice

Who doesn’t love pipe-cleaners? We pretty much always have them on hand {also from DollarDSC_0022 Tree} and the set-up for this activity is about as easy as it gets. Set out a bunch of pipe-cleaners and a colander. To make it Fall-themed, I had my kids sort the pipe-cleaners by color first and then select the ones they thought most represented Fall. They chose orange, yellow, green, and black. For toddlers and younger children {I started doing this one when my oldest was 9-months-old and it is quite literally what allowed me to cook dinner many a night}, you can present it with one of the pipe cleaners already stuck in a hole in the colander to invite them to do the same or you can just set out the pipe cleaners and let the child decide what they want to do with the pipe-cleaners. For my 5-year-old, I set out a tray with pipe-cleaners already in shapes and encouraged him to try and replicate the shapes with his pipe-cleaners. Supplies: Pipe cleaners, colander

Spider Web

A friend of mine found this on Pinterest and I immediately knew it would be a winner with my spider-loving IMG_9637boys. The plastic baskets and spider rings were also purchased from Dollar Tree. Take a plastic basket with holes and run some string back and forth across the basket using the holes to create the appearance of a spider web. Place a bag of plastic spiders into the bottom of the basket and set it out with a clothes-pin or tweezers for retrieving the spiders from the web. Younger kids may just want to use their fingers to free the spiders! This also makes for a great car activity! Supplies: Basket with holes, bag of plastic spiders rings, clothes pin or tweezers

What are some of your favorite Toddler-captivating Fall activities? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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Melissa is an adventurer at heart, seeking to embrace the beauty and wildness of this life with her co-adventurer and husband of 8 years, Tom. When she’s not splashing in a mud puddle with her boys, ages 4 and 5, or cleaning the remains of a diaper gone awry from the hallway walls, Melissa works part-time as a Licensed Professional Counselor, striving to empower women through her practice, Rise and Shine Counseling. Give her a mountain and some free time and she’ll find a way to play, embracing every opportunity to run the trails, ski the slopes, and bike or hike the hills. A great day for Melissa would include a pre-dawn trail run, a cup (or maybe 3) of coffee, brushed teeth, some belly laughing with her boys, a little uninterrupted (what’s that?) time to read and write, and sharing in some good conversation over a glass of bold red wine with her hubby. Her faith, her people, and her sense of humor, carry her through the peaks and valleys of this life. She attempts to chronicle the journey over at her blog, www.expectantlife.com.


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