Easy DIY Fine Motor Skills Toy For Toddlers and Preschoolers
Are you looking for ways to develop your toddler or preschooler’s fine motor skills without spending any money? If the answer is yes, then you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, I will show you how to make your own fine motor skills toy that your little one will love! You will be able to make it in no time, using recycled materials you already have at home.
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I recently bought K a fine motor threading apple and he absolutely loves it. It’s wooden and the holes are quite big which makes it easy to poke the caterpillar through.
However, after looking at the toy I wondered if I could somehow create my own. Making a DIY fine motor threading toy of my own would mean I could fully customise it and create a shape that K would love.
As we went to the farm last week and have been doing farm-related activities, I decided to create a horse head fine motor skills threading toy. I used cardboard, string, and a straw. It took no time at all and put it in one of K’s busy baskets. I also paired it with a plastic horse and a talking tin that played a horse noise.
To make the fine motor skills threading toy yourself, you will need the following items:
- A template
- Strong cardboard
- Blue tac (optional)
- Paint (optional)
- A plastic straw
- A bottle lid (or something small and circular to draw around)
- A glue gun
First, you will need to print off the template and cut it out. You can download the templates I made here. They include a horse’s head, a duck, a cow, and a sheep. Alternatively, you can google animal outlines, right-click and save the image, then print it out.
Other outline ideas that would work well include Santa’s face, a pumpkin, or the face of your little one’s favourite cartoon character like Peppa Pig or a Sesame Street character.
Once you have cut out your template, draw around it on the cardboard. You will need to do this twice so that you end up with two of the same cardboard shapes.
Next, you will need to create the holes in the cardboard shapes. To do this, place your bottle lid on one of the cardboard shapes and draw around it. Keep doing this until you have enough holes. Try to make sure they are evenly spaced. I chose to make 10 holes in my game.
The smaller the holes, the more of a challenge your little one will have threading the string through. So think about this when drawing around your bottle lid.
After you have drawn all of the holes on one of the cardboard shapes, poke your scissors through and cut them out. Putting blue-tac underneath the hole you’re creating, will make it easier for you to pierce the scissors through the cardboard.
Now it’s time to cut out the same amount of holes, (in the same place) on the second cardboard shape. To do this, place the shape with the holes in, on top of the second piece of cardboard. Then draw around the holes before cutting them out.
At this point, you should have two cardboard shapes with different holes in. When you put the shapes together, you should be able to clearly see-through. Try testing to make sure your holes are big enough by poking the straw through so that it comes out of the other side.
Cut your string to the length you want. My string was 1 meter in length. Then, using your glue gun, glue it onto one of the cardboard shapes. Make sure it is close to the edge and near the bottom as this will make the threading easier. Once you have done this, glue around the edge of this shape and place the other shape on top.
The string should now be sandwiched in between the two pieces of cardboard.
Grab your straw and cut some of it off. This will be the piece your toddler or preschooler will use for threading so make sure it’s long enough for them to hold. Pierce a hole at the top and either side of the straw and thread through the string. Then tie a knot in it to secure it.
Finally, finish off your diy toy by decorating it. This part is entirely optional. I used paint to decorate ours. There are so many ways you can customise it to your little one’s learning. For example, you can add numbers to help your preschooler recognise them of add letters to help name learning.
To Make it Easier
It may be a bit tricky for your toddler at first. To make it easier, try holding the toy for them and have them poke the straw through the holes. Encourage them to look on the other side to try and find the straw again.
You could also make the toy easier for them to hold by adding more cardboard layers which will make the toy chunkier.
This toy takes no time at all to make, it will save you money and help your toddler or preschooler develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. It’s also the ideal travel toy to keep kids amused during car rides or when flying.
Because it’s so easy to make, I will probably make another one at Christmas of Santa’s or Rudolf’s head. It will be the same activity but the different designs should spark K’s interest.
Always make sure you supervise your little one when playing with this DIY toy.
I’d love to see any fine motor threading toys you make for your little one, so tag me on Instagram or leave a comment below.