Some of my favorite memories as a child include doing fine motor activities at home. We had a special spot growing up called the “cracking rock”. I used it as inspiration for these fine motor activities for preschoolers that I’m sharing with you today. I am thrilled to share this fun activity with you because I know your preschooler will love it – and so will you!
Cracking nuts is fabulous for strengthening fine motor skills, hand dexterity, improving little hand muscles, and learning about personal safety as well. Here are some of our favorite nuts to crack and our exact How-To.
Fine Motor Activities for Preschoolers: How-To
These small little beauties can provide hours of entertainment and are definitely worth the cost! The trick might be getting a hold of them in the shell. They can be purchased at your local grocery store during the holiday season and you can typically find them in bulk bins in your produce department. Amazon can also be another great resource. Next time you happen to see these, be sure to grab some!
A preschooler needs to practice a pincer grip to pick up these small nuts, and then a medium sized rock comes smashing down on the shell. This is harder than it looks! Your child has to apply the right amount of force to crack the shell and extract the nut, because too much force will crush the nut. This learning process is so valuable for little ones, and the sense of accomplishment once they master it is fabulous!
Fine motor activities for preschoolers, like this one, really can challenge your child’s muscles and spatial awareness. There is a really good chance that your preschooler will miss the nuts often. It is a great opportunity to help your child learn about safety and keeping fingers out of the way.
Natural events will allow your child to learn so much about force, as well as where their other hand is relating to the rock. This small thing can help prepare your little one for knife skills.
Mastered this on the concrete? You can add another element of difficultly by cracking on a big rock or log.
If your preschooler is having a hard time being successful cracking hazelnuts (or you are having trouble finding them) try almonds. They are another great alternative with bigger and softer shells. Watching your little ones remove shell pieces and pull out the nut is so rewarding! I especially love activities like this because it can also be a prepared snack for your preschooler, by your preschooler!
Each nut variety offers a different level of force and fine motor skills to extract the nut. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see which one your child prefers.
If you would like to get started on this activity right away or can’t get a hold of shelled nuts. Try these other options!
- Dry beans offer a satisfying crunching sound when smashed. Your little one still uses the fine motor pincer grip skill to pick up each bean. My daughter collected all her pulverized bean fragments and used them in imaginary play for her “party”. This would also make a wonderful filler for a sensory bin!
- We also have berries/currents growing at our house. Grapes from the store can also be another great alternate. When your child smashes these on paper it can make abstract art.
Fine Motor Skills for a Lifetime
Fine motor activities for preschoolers at home can be so natural and easy peasy. All of my children love cracking nuts, even from the young age of two! I bet yours will too, if given the chance. It is something you can keep coming back to and it does not lose its value or interest.
I hope you and your little ones love this hand strengthening, fine motor developing, fun, and EASY activity as much as we do!
Kyanne graduated from Utah State University and worked with youth of all ages as a 4-H coordinator before taking a leave from her professional career to start a family of her own. She has four darling, creative, and outgoing young children ages 5, 4, 2, and 6 months. She enjoys teaching her children, crafting – they make just about anything together, and adventuring in the outdoors of Idaho with her family.
You might also like: