Visual Motor Activities
For Toddlers and Preschoolers

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These simple visual motor activities can help encourage toddler and preschool kids to visually focus on what their hands are doing.

Mature eye-hand coordination requires that the eyes focus on an object and stay focused in order to guide the hands to successfully complete an activity.

Doing these activities will help your toddler or preschooler to work on hand-eye coordination, visual focusing and tracking skills, all of which are needed for reading, writing and playing sports in a few years time.

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Cars and Trains and Tracks

Playing with trains on a track like this toddler is doing, is a good eye-hand coordination activity. The ridges on the track help his little hands to keep the train on the track.

pushing a train on a track is a good visual motor activityTrains on tracks

Using a car mat#Ad is also good, if you play alongside your child and encourage him or her to drive the car on the road without going off!

car mats make fun visual motor toddler activitiesCars on mats

If you don’t have a shop-bought car mat, make one out of a large sheet of butcher paper, or a flattened cardboard box (just make sure all staples and sharp edges have been removed).

homemade car matMake your own car mat!

The homemade ones are actually more fun, because you can have real little toy houses, trees and objects to drive around! You can make it harder by drawing a narrow track with more corners and turns.

Your Kids OT has a lovely post about making a homemade car mat.

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Pegboards and Peg Puzzles

Peg Puzzles#Ad and Jumbo Pegboards#Ad are lovely visual motor activities for toddlers and young preschool kids.

toddler visual motor activity with peg puzzlePeg puzzles
toddler visual motor activity with jumbo peg boardJumbo peg board

Your child will need to focus carefully to get the pieces into the holes, especially at first.

If you need some tips getting your child started with peg puzzles, read my page on teaching your toddler to do puzzles.

teach your toddler to do puzzles

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Posting and Dropping

I think that we, as parents, often underestimate the value of these old fashioned posting toys. They are great at getting little kids to focus on what their hands are doing.

Toddlers love the repetitive nature of posting and get a huge sense of satisfaction out of posting the shape in the correct hole and dropping things into slots.

Shape sorters#Ad have the added value of helping your child develop visual discrimination skills.

The toddler below is playing with an older child's "Connect 4" #Ad game by simply dropping the discs into the slots. But his eyes are working hard at guiding his hands!

toddler playing a posting game for visual motor skillsPosting a "Connect 4" disc
toddler using a shape sorter for visual motor skillsUsing a shape sorter

You can also give your young child a money box and large coins, or cut a slit in a carton and give your child plastic bottle tops to drop in. (Please just be aware of any choking hazards!)

preschool child posting coins for visual motor skills"posting" coins

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Stacking Activities

Stacking cups #Ad (also called "nesting cups") and stacking blocks are yet more"old-fashioned" toddler activities that give lots of joy.

Stacking one block or cup on top of another requires your child to pay attention visually and guide the hands in movement.

Give lots of assistance at steadying any wobbly towers until your child gets the hang of placing the blocks or cups accurately.

stacking blocks is a good visual motor activityStacking blocks
stacking nesting cups is a good visual motor activity for preschoolersStacking cups

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Sorting Activities

Give your toddler or preschool child a sorting activity, where they have to place the sorted items into a small container.

This child is sorting colored pegs into little cups, but you can use buttons, bottle lids, or anything really.

The key is that the items must be dropped into a specific place, and this will encourage the eyes to guide the hands.

sorting small items into cups is a good visual motor exercise for preschoolSorting colored pegs

Please supervise carefully as small objects can cause choking!

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Pouring and Filling

Playing with sand and water can give your child lots of sensory experiences! But you can also help your child develop visual motor skills when you give containers that need to be filled.

The act of pouring and filling helps your child to coordinate hand movements with the information that the eyes are sending to the brain.

So include some containers and watering cans #Ad in bath play or add some to your sandpit today!

pouring and filling can help preschool kids develop visual motor skillsFilling a bucket with sand

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Balloons and Balls

Swatting a balloon into the air and keeping it up in the air is a great way to develop hand-eye coordination in preschoolers!

You can also pop a ball into a net bag (the kind you get with vegetables), tie it to a rope and suspend it from a door frame or verandah. This makes a great way for your toddler or preschooler to practice catching or hitting a ball without chasing the missed balls all over the yard!

eye hand coordination with a balloonBopping a balloon
eye hand coordination with a ball in a netHitting a ball-in-a-net

Please be aware of the choking hazard with balloons!

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Advanced Visual Motor Activities

If your child needs a bit more challenge than the easy activities on this page, then head over to see some more visual motor and eye hand coordination ideas on these pages.

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Visual Motor Printable Resources

I prefer that toddlers and preschoolers do hands on activities rather than worksheets. But very occasionally, it can be appropriate for a toddler or preschool kiddo to sit down and do a paper-and-crayon activity.

 If you have been doing LOTS of hands-on visual motor activities, you can try some of these printable visual motor worksheets to supplement your activities.

My favorite are these LONG visual motor tracing worksheets.

I hope you were inspired by these simple toddler and preschool activities to improve visual motor skills!

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