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Fine Motor Activities for Infants

author image Sara Ipatenco
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.
Fine Motor Activities for Infants
A mother playing with her infant with a toy bear. Photo Credit Cliona O'Flaherty/Digital Vision/Getty Images


Babies begin growing and changing immediately after birth. According to Kids Health, infants begin developing the skills they will need later in life as soon as they are born. Infants begin learning gross motor skills, or the ones that involve the entire body first, such as rolling over. Mastering those skills leads to fine motor skills, notes KidsHealth. Infants should be engaged in many activities that allow them to develop and enhance these fine motor skills.

Playing with Toys

Infants love to look at toys and watch parents show them how they work. KidsHealth suggests that parents hold toys out to babies to encourage them to reach for them. Reaching is an important ability that will eventually lead to grabbing toys, a fine motor skill. Infant gyms are another toy that can encourage the development of fine motor skills, such as reaching and grabbing. Infant gyms allow a baby to lie on her back to look at and reach for a variety of different toys.

Tummy Time

Tummy time can encourage both gross motor skills and fine motor skills says KidsHealth. Tummy time encourages an infant to hold her head up and look around, two important skills that will lead to an increase in fine motor skills. Placing toys just out of reach can motivate an infant to try to move forward and to reach out and grab the object. As infants become better at reaching and grabbing, they will learn to turn a toy over and over to inspect it and to pass a toy from hand to hand, two more important fine motor skills.

Play and Exploration

Infants are interested in anything they come into contact with. Healthy Children recommends that parents interact with their babies and allow time for independent exploration in order to build fine motor skills. For example, playing peek-a-boo or patty cake can help improve fine motor skills. Walking a baby around the house and pointing out objects will also encourage fine motor skill development as baby leans forward and tries to reach and grab for the object. Exploration can encourage development as well, says Healthy Children. Providing a variety of different toys large enough that they will not fit into baby's mouth as well as other interesting and safe objects will encourage the baby to develop fine motor skills as she learns what the toy or object can do. Even allowing a baby to put her foot in her mouth helps to develop these skills.

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