Here are nine Fall fine motor activities to use with your Pre-K students. These activities emphasize building the fine motor muscles to help with pencil grasp.
Note: This is a free printable, just click to download.
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Popsicle Stick Pictures
Children will place the popsicle sticks on the mat to create the pumpkin, apple, wagon, and basket. You will need orange, red, and brown popsicle sticks for this activity. Colored popsicle sticks can be purchased, or make them by coloring popsicle sticks with a non-washable marker or liquid watercolor.
Toothpick Punch or Pinning Activity
Children will love this Fall toothpick punch activity, and without knowing it, they will be practicing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Print and copy the pumpkin punch onto construction paper. You will also need toothpicks and a carpet square. Carpet stores often give away these carpet sample squares for free. You can also just place the construction paper directly onto a
After placing the construction paper on the carpet, children will use the toothpick to punch holes along the black lines. Some teachers prefer to use the giant thumbtack pins. I prefer the toothpicks. If they break, children throw them away and get another. When they are done, kids can hold their paper up to the light and see the light shining through the holes.
Fall Play Dough Mat
Print the play dough mat and have children create the squirrel and owl by rolling the play dough and placing it onto the mat.
Apple Mini Erasers
Children use fine motor skills to pick up the apple erasers with the tongs and place them in the ice tray. Tongs are from the dollar store. Ice tray and apple mini erasers are from Amazon (affiliate links). Another option would be to use red pom-poms for the apples instead of the erasers.
For this activity, draw a pumpkin or leaf shape on a plain white paper towel using a permanent black marker, like a Sharpie. It must be permanent ink, not a regular black marker. I just free-handed the shapes when I drew them. Use liquid watercolor (mine is Colorations from Discount School Supply), or food color. Pour the watercolor into a paint palette or small dish. Children will use medicine droppers to squeeze drops of watercolor onto the paper towel.
The watercolor will spread outside of the outline, but that’s okay. The point is to have fun while exercising the fine motor muscles.
Tip: place paper underneath the paper towel to soak up the extra watercolor because it will bleed through onto the table.
Seeds & Tweezers
When you’re done using your pumpkins for displays in the classroom or other activities, cut them open & let the kids pick out the seeds using tweezers.
To make this pumpkin fine motor activity, ask for an egg crate tray from a cafeteria. Paint the egg tray orange and add a green paper stem.
The children fill the crate with glass floral gems (a.k.a. flat marbles) using a spoon to dip the gems out of a container. When the tray is filled, they remove them one at a time. You could also provide black and orange stones and let them make a face for the pumpkin.
This idea comes from PreKinders reader, Martha Berry.
Sand art is a great fine motor activity because children can pinch the colored sand with their fingers to apply it to their artwork. Provide a leaf outline (or have the children draw one), a small bowl of white glue, a small bowl of colored sand, and a “glue brush”. I buy the cheap paintbrushes with stiff bristles that are sold in a package for $1 at dollar stores. These brushes are not good enough quality for painting, but they make great glue brushes. Children paint the glue on their paper with the brush, pinch some sand with their fingers, and sprinkle it over the glue. Place a pan, tray, or paper plate on the table for children to shake off the excess sand.
Fall Play Dough Mats
These math counting play dough mats can be found at these links:
Post originally published Oct. 12, 2009. Updated in 2019.