Simple Fine Motor Art Tools (Part I)

Simple fine motor tools for preschool kids are so important to add to your home and classroom.  And having tools that encourage fine motor development in the art area is incredibly easy.  Art is done (mostly) with the hands, so art naturally develops finger strength.  But maybe as a new parent or teacher you’re not sure where to start.  Or you might just need a reminder about why the simple tools you’re already using are important.  Read on for two simple fine motor tools in the art area!  (This will be a series of blog posts, and I’ll feature two or three more art tools next time.)

Crayons and Pencils

Okay, let’s start super simple!  You might be tempted to put markers out for your kids–and I encourage you to do so.  They’re bright and fun! But even better are crayons and pencils.  And not only does that mean less clean up for you…  It also means more motor skills for the kids!

To get a satisfactory mark,crayons and pencils require kids to press harder than they would if they were using a marker.  That strengthens their fingers and their grip.  Hello, pre-writing! The thicker crayons and pencils you see pictured (huge selection here) are easier for kids to use at first.  Let them build up to using skinnier writing tools–they’ve got tons of time 🙂

Sticky But Clean!

Let’s keep this list of preschool fine motor art tools on the clean side of things.  Tape fits the bill. It’s sticky, but the kind of sticky that doesn’t leave a mess.  And, the kind that challenges kids because it can make things a little tricky.  That’s a good thing, actually.


Don’t be afraid to go wild with various kinds of tape!  There’s masking tape, washi tape, packing tape, scotch tape, electrical tape, painter’s tape…  Each kind has a different sticky factor, a different thickness, etc.  And that means a different fine motor and problem-solving challenge!  The dollar store often has various kinds of tape available.  My favorite to use in the classroom were these colored masking tape rolls.

The tape dispenser shown in the picture is nice if you can afford it.  But don’t let that be the only offering. I encourage providing a variety of ways to cut those pieces of tape.  My favorite method is as follows:  First, show the kids how to peel a bit of tape from the roll and stick it to the edge of the table.  Next, show them how to pull the roll away from the table just a few inches.  Have them hold the roll with their non cutting hand so the length of tape is taut.  Finally, show them how to snip the taut length of tape with their scissors.  Success!  (This takes practice, but working on it with your kids is so worth it, considering the pride, sense of self-confidence, and independence it builds!)