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SEND Support Service (SSS): A Guide to Fine Motor Skills (3 to 4 Years) - WNC

SEND Support Service (SSS): A Guide to Fine Motor Skills (3 to 4 Years) - WNC logo


Give the child time to think and respond. Remember to reward with praise. All activities are to be carried out with adult supervision only.

Encouraging Fine Motor Skills at 3 to 4 Years 

From around the age of three and a half, children can use scissors to cut more precisely (following lines and curves). They can copy some letters with a tripod grip and draw a person with a head, trunk, legs, and arms. They will attempt to draw a variety of named pictures. Children can thread small-hole beads onto a fine lace. They can also build a six-block step and use more complex construction tools. The child will start using a knife for spreading. They will demonstrate increased skills in ball games (e.g. throwing, catching, and bouncing). They attempt to fasten zips and buttons.

Suggested objects to help develop fine motor skills at 3 to 4 years:

  • Bricks (more complex/interlocking)
  • Early roleplay (dressing and undressing dolls, food play with plastic cutlery and a variety of cutters, washing dolls' clothes and pegging them out to dry, or doctors and builders' tools)
  • Fishing games (using different-sized magnets)
  • Keys (turning and twisting to open and lock, garage and car sets)
  • Mark Making (chalk, finger paint, a whiteboard, sand, glitter, flour, shaving foam, crayons, a paintbrush with water, an aqua mat and pen, an Etch-a-Sketch, felt pens, and paint dabbers)
  • Mr Potato Head
  • Nuts and bolts, cogs, and wheels (of different sizes)
  • Plastic scissors to cut Play-Doh
  • Play-Doh / plasticine (activity centre, baking utensils)
  • Popoids (for joining and pulling apart)
  • Scissors (cuts curved and straight lines on paper, wool, or straws) / Plastic scissors for Play-Doh
  • Six-piece interlocking puzzles
  • Small Bottle tops and lids (for twisting and unscrewing)
  • Small peg boards  
  • Threading more intricate beads for a necklace (on a thin lace)
  • Tweezers (picking up different-sized objects, e.g. pasta, lentils, or split peas)
  • Water play (use bottles, jars with lids, syringes, funnels, squeeze and twist flannels / sponges)
  • Wind-up Toys


  • Brackley Area
  • Daventry Area
  • Northampton Area
  • Towcester Area
  • West Northamptonshire
  • Northamptonshire
Additional languages
Translation and/or Interpreting Available on Request
Age range
Suitable for ages from 36 months to 4 years
Referral route
No Referral Needed
For people with
Suitable for Everyone
Eligibility criteria
Age Range - Early Years
Provider category
Universal Services - Suitable for Everyone


c/o The SEND Support Service (SSS), West Northamptonshire Council, One Angel Square, Angel Street
United Kingdom


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Last updated 31 May 2024