Christmas Fine Motor Activities
These are some fun Christmas themed fine motor activities for children. Most of them involve things that you may have lying around your house or that are otherwise easy to pick up at a shop. They can also be adapted slightly to make them easier or harder to do depending on children’s abilities or need to be challenged.
Fine motor skills are essential for all children to master as they grow and develop, in order for them to prepare for writing. Developing motor skills is also important for increasing strength, coordination, balance. Successful develpment of fine motor skills will ultimately help children to develop the confidence to be able to participate in everyday activities in school and life!
According to Liddle and Yorke (2003) sensory input begets motor output and vise versa. Providing stimulation allows children to develop physically. When children develop physically, they are able to access more of the world around them and learn. If children cannot explore something physically, they won’t be able to engage their mind and learn about it. That’s why it is so important to provide stimulation and opportunities for children to develop their gross and fine motor skills.
My own son has pre-asthma which, before we had medication, caused him to be very tired. This limited his opportunity to develop his gross and fine motor skills. I’m now trying to give him plenty of opportunities to develop his motor skills so that he can catch up with this aspect of his development. These are some of the activities I have used with him and children in school. I hope you find these Christmas fine motor skills activities useful!
Christmas Tree and Star Wrap
This activity is great for developing children’s wrist movement. This will help children to develop their extension, flexion and rotation. For more details about how to create and do this activity, see my post on Easy Fine Motor Activities for Christmas and Hannukkah.
Christmas Tree and Star Threading
Threading is excellent for helping children to develop hand-eye coordination, dexterity, pincer grasp, strength and control (Featherstone, 2013). For more details about how to create and do this activity, see my post on Easy Fine Motor Activities.
Salt Dough Bead Threading
As mentioned above, threading is great for developing fine motor skills. In addition to the above, threading beads are also helpful for developing children’s in-hand manipulation. In-hand manipulation is one of the most difficult fine-motor skills but is essential for holding/positioning a pencil or scissors in your hands, tying shoelaces or using a knife and fork. For more details about making salt dough beads, see my post on Salt Dough Beads.
Stick and Pipe Cleaner Ornaments
These ornaments can be made using sticks that children collect and either pipe cleaner (easier to do) or string (more challenging). Tying and linking the sticks together provides children with the opportunity to develop in-hand manipulation and hand-eye coordination. For more details see my stick ornaments post (coming soon).
Pompom Christmas Tree Decorating with Tweezers
This is Christmas counting activity that children can do whilst also practicing their fine motor skills. To start with children can use fingers to pinch pompoms to decorate a Christmas tree. If children need more of a challenge, they can use tweezers to pick up the pompoms and place them down on their tree.
Gingerbread Play Dough
Playdough is excellent for developing fine motor skills. Occupational therapists use it for increasing wrist movement, bilateral integration and strength. Teachers also use activities like dough gym or open-ended play dough playing to help children build strength and coordination for writing. Making gingerbread playdough is particularly enticing and the smell gives an extra sensory experience that will engage children’s imagination and stimulate play. See my Pumpkin Spice Playdough Recipe.
Tying Ribbons on Christmas Tree or on String
This is a more advanced fine motor skills activity that will help children continue to develop their motor skills. It is great practice for in-hand manipulation, building dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Children can tie ribbons and bows onto the Christmas tree or onto a string that can then be hung up as a decoration.
Gumdrop / Jelly Tot- Toothpick Towers
This is a fun Stem Activity that also helps children develop control, coordination and fine motor skills. You can see more about this on my Jelly-Tot Tower Post.
This is another great threading activity that is ideal for older children or those with more advanced motor skills. As children’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination develops, they can be challenged by making the holes for threading smaller or the string more flexible. They can also move onto sewing.
Classic Paper Chain Ornaments
Making classic paper chains are a great fine motor Christmas decoration activity. Depending on children’s age and ability, they can help cut strips of paper to be used. This is a great scissor skills practice. The process of gluing together paper chains helps develop children’s wrist rotation, dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Children can also create repeating patterns using different colours of paper.
Making classic snowflakes is another great Christmas fine motor skills activity for children. They will need to fold pieces of paper and then also use scissors to make snips in the paper. This will help practice starting and stopping their cutting (so they don’t cut all the way through). This is also a lovely activity for learning about symmetry.
Liddle T. (2018). Why Motor Skills Matter: Improving Your Child’s Physical Development to Enhance Learning and Self-Esteem. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Professional.
Featherstone, S. (2013). The Little Book of Fine Motor Skills: Little Books with Big Ideas. Bloomsbury Publishing.