Fine Motor Marble Maze

Marble Maze playing

In this activity, we create a marble maze to promote fine motor skills.

Start by gluing the straws on the cardboard. You will need to glue each straw on the opposite side as follows:

  • Glue the 1st straw aligned to the left edge of the cardboard
  • Glue next straw aligned to the right side of the cardboard
  • Keep gluing straws all the way to the bottom of the cardboard
  • Make sure to create a space for the marble to go through between the straws
  • The end result should look like this:
    Marble Maze straws

Let the glue dry.

We used a gallon size zip lock bag but you can use a smaller zip lock bag to create a smaller maze.

At the bottom edge of the zip lock bag, cut a small slit. Make sure you cut it on the side the marble will come out from.

Once the glue is dry and the straws are secured, insert the cardboard into the ziplock bag.

Close the ziplock bag almost all the way, leaving a small opening for the marble to fit in.

Put the marble through the opening and start moving it with your finger through the maze until it comes out at the bottom.

You can alternate the fingers you use to move the marble or you can use both hands to hold the cardboard and move it from side to side, letting the marble slide out.

PickUp Straws Game

Straws game

Hold all the straws or pipe-cleaners together in your palm or have the child hold them this way and let go of all of them at once.

Once they are spread, ask the child to pick up one straw at a time, without moving the other straws.

Take turns picking up the straws.

If you or the child moves other straws when picking up a straw, the game is over. The winner is the one who has the most straws.

Another version of the game could be to ask the child to pick up a certain color of straws:

Start by holding all the straws together and let all of them go at once. Once they are spread, ask the child to first pick up all the blue straws, then all the green straws, and so on (for this version of the game, it’s OK if the other straws are moving).

For young children or those with poor grasp, use wider straws.

Straw Necklaces

Cut the plastic straws into about 1-inch pieces.

Lace the small straw pieces into the string or yarn to create a straw necklace.

You can use different color plastic straws and create matching patterns for the straw necklaces.

Fun Jar

Use a large, empty, and clean jar for this activity.

Provide the child with pipe cleaners and/or straws and instruct him to insert the items through the holes on the jar’s lid.

You can ask the child to sort the items by color or size before placing them in the jar.

If using a jar that has holes and a small opening on the lid, you can use additional items to place through the opening, such as pom-poms, buttons, large beads, coins, etc.

The child can use tongs or tweezers to catch the items before dropping them through the large opening.

If you cannot find a spice jar, you can use a regular container and poke holes in the lid, using a hole-puncher or cut holes with scissors.

Drawing in the Sand

In a container full of sand or in the sandbox, have the child imitate you drawing shapes using a straw or large stick.

Let him/her try holding the stick in either or both hands.

Birthday Cake

Pretend the play-doh is the dough to make your cake. To develop hand strength and increase joint compression have the child roll, and push flat with both hands or rolling pin.

Once the cake is established have the child push the candles/cut straws (of whatever size, length, and color desired) into the play-doh, and decorate as wanted (sprinkle sequins or rice for sprinkles).

After you sing and blow out the candles, have the child remove the straws. With the straws that have “cake” stuck in them, have the child use an unbent paper clip/pipe cleaner (depending on straw width) and poke it out from the other end. Sometimes you can get it out by pinching at it after pushing a little out.

If working on utensil manipulation, have the child cut up the cake with a plastic knife, serve to a group (for socialization), and fake eat with a plastic fork.