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Hand Strengthening

Top Sensory Toys for Fine Motor Skills

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At 3 years old Kyson was still unable to hold a spoon properly. He would always grab the very tip of the spoon handle and try to scoop food which leads to frustration and hunger. We’ve tried heavier spoons and wide round handled spoons but it didn’t seem to help. We concluded that he didn’t have the strength in his little hands to be able to do so. When it came to coloring with markers, he did the same. He eventually did hold the marker but ended up grasping the entire marker with a fist hold. Even with adjusting his fingers to the proper technique of thumb and index, he would fuss and undo it. It was uncomfortable for him. He held it just like a knife and constantly stab the marker to make dots on the paper. This started the path to build his strength up in his hands towards fine motor skills.


Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscles in movements. Usually involving the hands and finger with the eyes. Here are the top list sensory toys we’ve used to improve Kyson’s fine motor skills.

Kinetic Sand

Kinetic sand was Kyson’s first choice in “play” during therapy breaks. During break times, he always wanted sand. He received one from his Aunt for Christmas and we also happen to get him one too. Double the sand! The sets come with 1 lb., but you can get individual portions of the sand if you need more. It’s nice as the set comes with a tray and little utensils. Also, little molds to create with the sand. It’s moldable which makes it easy to clean up. Avoid the glitter, yes it’s pretty, but glitter tends to stick a little more on your hands and everywhere else when there’s a spill.


Play-Doh is great, especially this set. We started off slowly by having him make a ball each session. Once we achieved that, we used the rolling pin to flatten the ball out. Kyson still loves to crumble them into tiny pieces and watch them fall. The accessories also include scissors. This is our next challenge as he is still uncomfortable with the positioning of his hands on the scissors. For easy cleanup, I use a large charger plate.


Magnet Tiles Building Block

These magnet tiles are great for little hands. You can stack and build, a great way to use your imagination. After Kyson is done playing, I have him take the magnet pieces apart and we tower them up and box them away. The staking of the magnets has helped with eye-hand coordination.

UWANTME Water Beads

Water beads are great fun! We use it for more of a relaxing technique. From all the above small workouts on those little hand muscles, dipping your hands into a soothing tub of water beads is quite the enjoyment. Even I enjoy putting my hands in here and giving the beads a little wiggle. This set will last you quite a long time. We’ve made over 10 tubs already, like the one below and we still have more than half the jar.

Each time we play with these, we work with Kyson for only 10 minutes or so and the rest of the 30 minutes, he goes all out! We hope you enjoy our top sensory toys for strengthening little hands for fine motor skills.

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-Anna MV

Anna MV

A Hmong woman practicing life finding art in everything. Blogger of Family, Life, Culture, Autism, Self Awarenes

This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. Deserted_Queen

    I love toys. I am grown up so I cant play but I love reading about them.

    1. Anna MV

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Joanna

    Incredible, thanks for sharing your amazing finds.

    1. Anna MV

      You’re welcome 😊

  3. Stacie

    Kinetic sand is such a great toy for the kids. It is definitely a must for practicing fine motor skills.

    1. Anna MV

      Yes, it’s our favorite!

  4. incalexandra

    What a fantastic post 🙂 I really enjoyed reading it. I don’t have kids, but I will share this post with some of my friends who do.

    1. Anna MV

      Glad you enjoyed it, thanks sharing!

  5. Dayna Hoskin

    What a great post! I, even as an adult, love kinetic sand!! Never too old to build sand castles!

    1. Anna MV

      Agree, I enjoy it too! 😊

  6. Brittnie

    I still don’t get tired of playing with some of these with my nieces and nephews. Such great tips!

  7. Lisa

    This is a great list of sensory toys! I love play doh for me ha! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Yeah Lifestyle

    These sound like a great selection of sensory toys. We love kinetic sand in our household.

    1. Anna MV

      That’s great, thanks for reading!

  9. Sara Welch

    This is a really great list. If they can learn with toys, I am all for it!

  10. nieeesha123

    So my daughter was holding markers with a fist for the longest time. One day she learned how to do the monkey bars and got blisters on her palm. It was like some kind of miracle! She started holding pens the right way so she wouldn’t hurt her palms. She’s been writing the correct way ever since. We also work on the pincher grip with beads and pipe cleaners stuck in play doh.


    1. Anna MV

      That’s a great tip on the beads and pipe cleaners! We also used that in the early stages, thanks for sharing!

  11. Catherine Santiago Jose

    I’ve totally agree with everything you’ve note here. This is surely a great and good toys for our kids to develop themselves.

  12. Hola Cheska

    I have seen a lot of these toys at Kmart and whether they are kind of expensive, they definitely serve the purpose to create creative and mindful kids.

  13. my son just got some of those magnets. it’s great you can buy more kits and no matter the brand, they all interconnect

    1. Anna MV

      I didn’t know that, thanks for sharing!

  14. Evelyn Hernandez

    Fine Motor skills development is so important. It is great to use playtime for educational purposes as well.

  15. Catherine

    My kids loved play-doh when they were younger! Such great ideas and suggestions for the young ones.

    1. Anna MV

      Thanks Catherine!

  16. duffelbagspouse

    I love any motor skill toy that doesn’t involve a keyboard.

  17. Life With Mojita

    All of these are incredible tools to help fine motor. We are at an age where we need to start building their skills so I may look into these.

  18. Becca Talbot

    I don’t have any children of my own, but I used to work with some children with special needs, and we often did sensory play to develop hand and eye coordination skills. Good luck with rest of the development journey x

  19. Nati

    Playing seems such a banal activity for kids but it is ESSENTIAL for their developement! I’m glad you found these great toys to help Kyson in his fine motor skills! I will have it in mind 🙂

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