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Hand and Finger Coordination Activities for Your Toddler's Development

​​As your toddler grows and develops motor skills, you’ll notice changes in his or her ability to coordinate thumbs and fingers. Boys Town Pediatrics provides activities that will expand your toddler’s hand and finger coordination.

Stages of Hand and Finger Development

At around 12 months, it may still be a challenge for your child to pick up very small objects between the thumb and forefinger. Around 18 months, the tasks will be much easier to accomplish, especially with constant use and play. As your toddler’s physical coordination improves, try more complex games including:

  • Building, knocking down, covering, uncovering and picking up objects in motion
  • Turning and twisting objects like knobs, pages and squishy toys
  • Placing small objects such as round pegs in holes and transitioning into placing bigger shapes in their perspective shaped holes with different angles
  • Scribbling, squishing clay and folding paper
  • Taking toys apart and putting them back together

These activities will help develop coordination skills and at the same time teach spatial concepts such as in, on, under and around. As your toddler’s second birthday nears, you may notice a tendency towards either the right or left hand. Some children may show a preference while others are ambidextrous and are able to use both hands equally well. Do not pressure your toddler or rush the natural process of preference.

By 24 months, your child will be able to manipulate small objects with ease and be able to coordinate the movements in the wrist, fingers and palm including:

  • Turning the pages of a book or doorknob
  • Building a high tower with ease
  • Unscrewing jars and unwrapping candy
  • Using a cup with one hand
  • Pulling off and unzipping clothes and shoes
  • Drawing simple shapes and lines

Your child will be an active participant during play at this age and will have a longer attention span. Learning to draw will be a major developmental accomplishment for your child during this time. Let him or her loose with some art supplies and let creativity flourish and expect some artistic masterpieces!

Infant and Toddler Care;Child Development Pediatrics