Fine Motor & Gross Motor Activities for Infants & Toddlers

By Mandi Titus

Working on fine and gross motor activities with your young child helps her develop new skills and feel a sense of accomplishment and increasing independence as she learns new activities. As your child grows and develops her motor skills, she will be able to complete more complex tasks with less assistance.

Infant Fine Motor Activities

Place a rattle or small toy in your young infant's hand and allow him to hold it and explore it, letting him release it as he loses interest. Offer your child a selection of colorful and textured toys, and and give him a chance to explore each object by passing them from hand to hand. As your baby nears one-year-old, provide him with a handful of cereal and encourage him to practice his pincer grasp while feeding himself.

Infant Gross Motor Activities

Give your young infant time to play on a flat surface to explore moving her arms and legs. Talk to your infant to encourage her to lift her head and move her body to look at you. As your baby gets older, provide support for her as she learns to sit and stand, and place her toys slightly out of reach so she must reach for them. Once your baby can stand on her own, offer her a walking toy or your hand so she can practice "cruising" around as she begins to walk with assistance.

Toddler Fine Motor Activities

Let your toddler complete simple tasks such as buttoning his shirt or spreading peanut butter on his own. Offer him an assortment of blocks to build with, crayons and markers to draw with, and large beads for stringing. Give your child a selection of containers, and let him practice transferring rice or water from container to container as you prepare a meal. Show him how to make snakes and other objects with modeling clay, and encourage him to develop his own creations.

Toddler Gross Motor Activities

Give your child several push or pull toys to help her develop balance as she learns to walk. Take your toddler to the playground and let her practice running, climbing and balancing on the equipment. Spend time together playing with balls, rolling, tossing or kicking them back and forth. Play games such as follow the leader to practice gross motor skills such as hopping, jumping and running. Fill up a small wading pool and supervise your toddler as she splashes her hands and feet in the water, or accompany her into a swimming pool to let her explore her body's actions in the water.

About the Author

Based in Florida, Mandi Titus has been writing since 2002. Her articles have been published on sites such as Goodkin, Go Green Street and Living the Healthy Way. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Stetson University.