8 Simple Autumn Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers

There’s a number of themed Autumn fine motor activities that you can do with your toddlers and preschoolers. This blog post aims to explore just some of the fun and simple ideas you can create at home using nature treasures and items from your craft cupboard.

Why do Autumn fine motor activities?

Fine motor skills are really important, especially in the early years. There’s a number of activities that you can do at home with your toddler and preschoolers to help aid this.

Whilst it is more than okay to repeat the same type of activities over and over again, sometimes it is fun to theme what you are doing to the season. In the case of Autumn, there are so many natural resources – such as mini pumpkins, conkers, sunflowers and pinecones – that can help aid the development of fine motor skills.

Here’s 4 reasons why it’s important to work on those fine motor skills:

  1. Foundation for Writing: Developing fine motor skills lays the groundwork for writing. Precise hand movements, such as holding a crayon or pencil, require well-developed fine motor skills. Strengthening these skills in early childhood prepares children for successful handwriting later on.
  2. Independence in Self-Care: Fine motor skills are crucial for self-care tasks like dressing, buttoning, zipping, and tying shoelaces. As children master these skills, they gain a sense of independence and confidence in taking care of themselves.
  3. Enhanced Concentration: Activities that engage fine motor skills often require focus and attention to detail. This concentration is transferable to academic tasks, enabling children to pay attention in school, follow instructions, and complete assignments more effectively.
  4. Problem-Solving and Creativity: Fine motor activities often involve problem-solving and creativity. Whether it’s figuring out how to manipulate small objects or creating intricate artwork, these skills foster critical thinking and imaginative expression.

Sunflower Petal Pluck

Early in the season, you’ll usually find an abundance of sunflowers. Once they have passed their best, why not use the sunflowers for an easy Autumn fine motor activity? Simply invite your child to pluck the petals. Once they are done, use the petals in mud kitchen potions.

a 4 year old girl plucks petals from a sunflower as part of an autumn fine motor activity

Pumpkin rescue

Mini pumpkins are so much fun and can be used in for this  easy Autumn fine motor idea. Simply wrap some elastic bands around the mini pumpkins and invite your child to ‘rescue’ the pumpkins by taking the bands off.

the image shows a basket of mini pumpkins that are going to be used as one example of simple autumn fine motor activities

Sticker Decoration

Decorating pumpkins is hard in the early years! This simple Autumn fine motor activity just requires a sticker sheet and a pumpkin! Invite your toddler to peel and stick the stickers for the easiest pumpkin decoration activity around.

a small toddlers hands can be seen applying Gruffalo themed stickers to a pumpkin


Woodland Play dough Invitation

Play dough is a staple activity for fine motor skills – to make it Autumn themed, try our Pumpkin Spice play dough or use coffee grounds and cinnamon instead. Add a few woodland themed toys or nature treasures, then explore the prints that have been left in the dough.

an overhead photograph of cinnamon and coffee play dough that has been rolled out and used to stamp paw prints from woodland animal toys


Gourd Geoboard

This activity is a really fun twist on a standard geoboard. We used large drawing pins because they we’re sturdy and didn’t fall out when the elastics were wrapped around them. This is a great Autumn fine motor activity for exploring shapes and lines, as well as developing hand strength.

a pumpkin and giant drawing pins have been used to create a geoboard


Painting Pumpkins

This is one of the most creative ways to develop fine motor skills during the Autumn months. You can read the full blog post about this activity here. 

an image of a three year old boy painting pumpkins


Leaf Confetti

People often think of fine motor skills as a way to develop writing only, but other skills also need to be worked on – including how to use scissors correctly. The abundance of leaves during the cooler months means that making leaf confetti is the perfect Autumn fine motor activity.

an overhead image of a 4 year old girl in an orange pumpkin t-shirt using a leaf cutting tray

Hammering Pumpkins

This is one of our absolute favourites for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. You can read more about the benefits of this activity here. 

a simpler version of pumpkin hammer art where a blonde toddler boy is hammering golf tees into a pumpkin.

At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp

If you enjoyed this post about simple Autumn fine motor activities and wanted to find more fun Autumn themed activities, check out the At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp in my membership group. If you would like to access the content, you can check it out here. 

This image shows a timetable for an Autumn art & sensory camp. The pumpkin hammer art is one of the activities included


Autumn Blog posts to read next:

You might also enjoy some of our other Autumn posts. Most are suitable for both toddlers and preschoolers:

Autumn Art Ideas for Preschoolers

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Mask

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt pre-writing skills  activity 

21 Autumn Ideas for the Entire Family

Autumn Activities for Kids: 25 Playful Prompts

Autumn Loose Parts Play

Autumn Preschool Leaf Cutting Tray

Apple Playdough Activity

Farm Playdough Ideas

Sunflower Sensory Play Activity 

Pumpkin Hammer Art 

Pumpkin Gloop 

Simple Autumn Sensory: Pumpkin soup

You can also search the keyword ‘Autumn’ in the blog search bar for the most up-to-date Autumn blog post listing.


Interested in learning more?

If you enjoyed these simple Autumn fine motor activities and want to learn more about sensory play and the importance of play in the early years, you might just like my exclusive membership, ‘How I drink my Coffee Hot’ too. The membership costs just $5 per month and you get access to 10 mini courses on a range of topics including sensory play, play spaces and starting school. Here are some membership posts that you might enjoy:

Sensory Play Mini Course

Starting School Mini Course 

Play Space 101 Mini Course

Toys 101 Mini Course

Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.