Help your youngest students build their hand strength and dexterity the fun way this holiday season with these fun fine motor holiday activities! They're all hands-on and feel more like playing than learning!
It's amazing to think about how much our students' hands change and grow in their first few years of school. The development of fine motor skills is absolutely essential if you want your students to be able to hold their pencils properly or work on detailed tasks. Fortunately, there are many different ways to develop these important life skills, and they definitely do not have to be boring!
The fine motor Christmas activities below address a variety of developmental skills, but some will be better for your students than others, depending on their current level of development. Here are some reminders for where students should be in the early grades:
Students should be able to cut a straight line, copy simple shapes like squares and crosses, and write their name and the numbers 1-5.
Your students will have an easier time cutting shapes, and they should be able to handle a glue stick at this point. They should also be able to copy down more shapes, like triangles, and colour in the lines.
In addition to the skills above, your students will also be able to write the full alphabet and all the numbers, write for an extended period of time, and handle common life skills like tying their shoes and more.
Your students need a lot of practice with a variety of individual skills before they're ready to move from one level to the next, like developing the pincer grasp, bilateral coordination, rotating items in their hands, and more. You can learn much more information about this topic with my Fine Motor Skills Checklist and my free Fine Motor Skills Handbook!
22 Festive Fine Motor Holiday Activities for Kids
Although your students have many skills to practise in order to develop their fine motor skills, they can (and should) be fun! That's where these festive fine motor activities come in. Each one of these Christmas-themed activities feels like playing or crafting, which they are, but they're also a wonderful way to work on this important skill.
Ribbon Weave Christmas Tree
Cut a Christmas tree out of cardboard and use a hole punch to cut holes. Give your students an assortment of ribbon colours and have them weave the ribbon through the holes, forming a garland across the tree. It can help to glue the tips of the ribbon into a point for easy holding.
Christmas Tracing Activities
They must carefully trace the Christmas images with a pencil or whiteboard marker.
Wrap a Present
Gift wrapping is so tricky! Gather boxes in different sizes and give your students scissors and tape to practise wrapping each gift.
Christmas Playdough Mats
These printable playdough mats have a variety of different seasonal shapes, all in the Christmas theme.
Offer a variety of playdough colours and see if they can replicate the shapes themselves.
There's a reason why those macaroni necklaces are such a popular Christmas craft in the younger grades - they're great for fine motor work! Students can paint the noodles in red and green, then thread them onto twine to make a homemade necklace or garland.
Bingo Daubers, Q-Tips & Pipettes
Students can refine their fine motor skills with either bingo daubers, q-tips (cotton buds) or pipettes.
Provide students with Christmas templates which include circles where students can dab or dot the page.
DIY Paper Garland
This is a great way to decorate your classroom while practising fine motor control! Either cut colourful construction paper into strips or buy a bundle of strips like this. Invite your students to help you assemble the garland by adding more coils. There are several skills to this activity, so it might be able to have kids work together. It's so lovely to build a holiday decoration together as a class!
Another idea is to provide students with pom poms (or other small objects) as well as tweezers and tongs. Students must carefully pick up the pom poms and place on the Christmas image templates.
Jingle Bell Drop
Find a bunch of jingle bells and a plastic bottle with a spout that is just the right size to add and remove the bells. Have your little ones add the bells to the jug one at a time to practice their pincer grasp.
This great activity practices phonics sounds and numbers while also practicing fine motor skills by attaching the little stockings to a string with clothespins.
Fine Motor Christmas Trees
There are lots of ways to incorporate fine motor skills with Christmas trees! One option is to get styrofoam cones and have students decorate them with a variety of dowels, beads, and baubles. Another option is to have them make their own tree out of playdough. They can hang mini ornaments or make their own!
Complete the Picture
Provide students with incomplete Christmas pictures which they need to complete. This will help them to practise their pencil control as they finish the drawings. You can choose to either provide them with the other half of the image to trace, or leave it blank for students to finish off themselves!
Decorate the Christmas Tree
For this easy Christmas tree craft, print out an outline of a Christmas tree with little circles to represent the different ornaments. Give your student eye droppers or my favourite twisty droppers and coloured water to decorate the tree.
It's so much easier to practise fine motor skills with the right tools! Find the best toys for fine motor skills in this post.
Unifix or Snap Cube Activities
Students will love making Christmas-themed snap cube creations! Provide them with these guides, or encourage them to come up with their own snap cube creations!
Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes
For this fine motor activity, you'll need pipe cleaners and red and white beads. Your students will need to mould the pine cleaner into the shape of a candy cane, then alternate adding red and white beads. Be sure to glue or twist the ends to keep the beads from falling off. You can even add a little ribbon to send it home as a Christmas ornament!
Holiday Scissor Skills
This scissor skills activity is the perfect addition to your morning routine! These sheets include a variety of different holiday-themed graphics like candy canes, Christmas trees, Santa's face and more. You could have your students cut them all out and arrange them on a holiday scene, or simply colour them in.
You can also give students wrapping paper and have them cut out the shapes in the wrapping paper instead.
This build-an-elf printable is also a great way to practise those scissor skills, although it is more challenging!
Tissue Paper Wreath
Cut out wreath shapes and little squares of tissue paper. Have students crumble the pieces of tissue paper into a ball, dip it into glue, and place it on the wreath. They make cute magnets, too!
Mini Eraser Fine Motor Practice
There are several ways to use this next activity. Start by gathering a few sets of Christmas themed mini erasers and some plastic tweezers. Have your students practise moving the erasers from one container to another with the tweezers, increasing the challenge over time. For example, it's easier to pick them up from a flat tray, but much harder to get them out of a small jar. This works well with pom poms, too.
Another option is to submerge the erasers in slime or playdough and have them pull them all out!
DIY Gingerbread Man
Cut out a bunch of gingerbread-shaped pieces and have students "ice" the gingerbread man with either white glue in a bottle or squeezable white fabric paint. They'd make a fun Christmas card to send home to their families!
Christmas Dot to Dot
Not only can dot to dot activities help students to improve their pencil control, but they are a great way to consolidate early number skills as well!
Shaving Cream Shapes
Have a variety of task cards with images of seasonal items, like Santa Claus, stockings, gingerbread men, and trees. Spray shaving cream on their desks and have students practise making these shapes with their fingers! It's a bit messy but so fun.
Holiday Cookie Cutting
Many traditional holiday activities practise fine motor skills, like baking cookies. Roll out cookie dough (or play dough) and use cookie cutters in a variety of fun Christmas shapes to cut them out. If you have students decorate real cookies, they could frost and decorate them, too!
More Christmas Activities
These Christmas fine motor activities are just the start! There are so many more Christmas printables and activities available on Mrs Learning Bee, including:
- Free Printable Santa Letters
- Free Build an Elf Printable Craftivity
- Christmas Phonics Activities for Kindergarten
- Christmas Alphabet Letter Matching
Plus, check out all our holiday activities and watch our virtual Elf Cam with a free 7 day trial of The Hive!