In the last few issues we have been looking at activities to encourage and promote fine motor skills. This article focuses on fun, affordable and easy ways to make materials that can be used in the classroom, or at home to develop these skills.

Paper-tearing star mosaic activity

Materials: paper, pencil, glue and old magazines.

Give the child a piece of white paper and encourage them to draw a shape, such as a very large star, with the pencil. You can help the child if needed. Let them select a colour - yellow for example – and then page through an old magazine to tear out all the pictures they find that have the colour yellow. They must tear all the yellow pictures into small pieces and stick each onto the centre of their star using the glue.

Potato Printing

Materials: knife, potato, paint, paper, sponge and pencil.

Depending of the child’s age, they can cut the potato in half and draw an interesting shape on either half using a pencil on their own, or with the help of a parent or caregiver. They must carefully cut away the part that they don’t want to show, leaving only the shape exposed. Dip the sponge into the paint and gently pat it onto the shape on the potato. Once covered in paint, carefully use the potato as a stamp by gently pressing it onto the paper.

Pasta jewellery

Materials: macaroni pasta, string and paint.

Get the child to paint the macaroni pieces in different colours and leave to dry. The child can make a necklace or bracelet by cutting a piece of string the correct length and threading the dried macaroni onto the string, making sure they leave enough space to tie the ends.


Materials: 3 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons oil, ½ cup salt, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, 1.5 cups boiling water, a few drops of food colouring. If you want some shine, you can add a few drops of glycerine.

Get the child to help you measure, pour and mix in the ingredients. Be careful with the boiling water! Start with the dry ingredients then slowly adding the boiling water and glycerine. The child can make creatures, people, shapes, letters, numbers etc. by rolling, pinching and moulding the playdough.

Medicine-dropper painting

Materials: a medicine dropper, food colouring or thin paint and paper.

Wet the paper by dipping it into water. Place the wet paper on a flat surface which is covered with newspaper. Carefully suck up the different colour paints or dyes using the dropper and release the drops onto the page. The child will see the drops grow as they touch the wet paper. Add different colours to make a pretty picture.