8 Outdoor Summer Activities That Promote Fine Motor Skills


School is out and that means fun in the sun! Summertime is the perfect opportunity to not only have a blast but to also build essential fine motors skills before returning back to school. If your child needs improvement or is learning fine motor tasks such as painting, drawing, handwriting or even buttoning clothing then they need to develop strength in their hands, wrists, fingers, forearms, and eye-hand coordination. There are a lot of fun activities that can help promote fine motors skills without your child even realizing it! Here’s a list of activities that are sure to be a hit.

Playing at the playground

 Playing at the playground helps to develop hand strength and different grasps patterns.

  • Swinging on the monkey bars 
  • Sliding down a pole 
  • Climbing a ladder 
  • Swinging on a swing 
  • Climbing “up” the slide 

Drawing/writing on the driveway or sidewalk using sidewalk chalk

No matter what your child draws or writes it is helping with hand strength and pencil grasps. It is common for children to lie on their stomach forcing them to extend their forearms, which is also good for strengthening that area too. 

Popping bubbles

Blow some bubbles and have your child pop the bubbles using their index finger only. This promotes isolation of the fingers, speed and eye-hand coordination. 

fine-motor activities

Painting the sidewalk

Mix 1/2 cup of cornstarch/corn flour, 1/2 cup of cold water and food coloring to make sidewalk paint. Pour the contents into a squeeze bottle or into a cup using paint brushes to strengthen fine motor skills and spark creativity.


Water fight

Who doesn’t like to get wet on hot summer days? Cool down by having your kids spray each other using water guns or a spray bottle working the muscles of the hands and fingers. If there’s no one else around to soak have them hydrate your flowers or spray the sidewalks.


Squeezing a sponge

Fill a bucket with water. Give your child a large or medium size sponge and have them submerge the sponge into the water, then run to another bucket squeezing all of the water out (with both hands). The child should repeat this until all of the water is transferred from one bucket to the other working the muscles of the hands and the fingers.


Playing in the sand

Whether you’re playing in the sand at the beach or at your local park your child is sure to manipulate sand between their fingers building dexterity. Add some buckets and shovels, and pour sand from one bucket to another to build forearm strength.

fine-motor activities



Fishing is great for working on bimanual hand skills, fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination.


Beach Ball Volleyball

Reaching up to hit an inflatable volleyball helps to strengthen the arms, shoulder stability, eye-hand coordination and motor planning.


Happy Summer!



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Leslie came to Columbus 2 yrs ago via San Antonio, TX. A Kentucky native that bleeds neither red (Louisville Cardinals) nor blue (Kentucky Wildcats). She is a SAHM, homeschooler and Occupational Therapist (OTR/L) by weekend. Leslie and her husband have two boys, ages 6 and 2, and they love discovering new Columbus parks and restaurants! She proudly embraces the title of "boy mom", even when that means knowing more than she would care to know about dinosaurs. Her everyday wardrobe consists of mainly Nike Dri-Fit and sneakers. Leslie lives for her Burt's Bees lip balm and a good ole top knot bun. You can always find pull-ups, wipes, hand sanitizer, and Welch's fruit snacks in her designer handbag. She loves her family, fashion, interior design, working out, being a soccer mom, renovating the families 1962 ranch with her husband, and making a difference in her patients' lives. She recently became an advocate and volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. It is her hope to bring awareness and help raise funds, for a cause that is near and dear to her heart. She is also the owner and founder of The Penmanship Lab.