5 minute preschool activities developing fine motor, gross motor, eye-hand coordination, core strengthening, and attention with everyday items.
Have you ever wondered what you can be doing at home to help build your preschooler’s skills? Or looked up preschool activities and became overwhelmed with the mass number of ideas?
It is hard to know what areas to focus on and then try to figure out how to find the time to get the supplies, set it up, help your kiddo complete it, and then clean it up.
I am here to tell you, preschool activities do not have to be that complicated! And 5 minute activities can be just as successful!
The best part about these activities are that you most likely have the supplies in your home! And if not, they can be found at most dollar stores.
Oh and did I mention they don’t make a huge mess!!!
Why only 5 minutes?
Preschoolers attention span to a task varies depending on their age, interest level, energy level, the amount of distractions around them, and several other factors.
Doing a 5 minute skill building activity can just be a starting point. If your preschooler is into the activity, by all means you don’t have to stop them!
But, on the other hand, if your kiddo is having trouble with an activity, having an end point of 5 minutes makes it feel more manageable.
And to be honest, as a mom, a 5 minute activity feels a lot easier to commit to!
#1 Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills refers to using the smaller muscles of the hand, wrist, and fingers. You use these muscles to accomplish a small movement.
A big part of preschool is learning how to move your fingers so that you can eventually complete everyday tasks in the act of writing, tying shoes, exchanging money, and opening containers.
The easiest way for preschoolers to learn fine motor skills is through playing and repetition.
5 Minute Preschool Fine Motor Activities
- Tear Paper- Pinch a piece of paper at the top with your thumb and pointer finger, using both hands. Hold one hand still, and pull with the other to tear the paper. If tearing paper is hard, start with narrow strips of paper.
- Opening and Close twist containers – Store and sort items into small jars (baby food jar, travel size shampoo container, empty spice jars) with twist lids.
- Put a rubberband around a container – Place all your fingers inside a rubber band. Open them up to expand the rubber band and then place it on a jar or small toy.
- Scrunch a piece of paper into a ball– This works great with computer paper, torn out magazine pages, or any paper in your recycle bin. Once you have a pile, have a snowball fight or set-up a target to throw at.
- Make Shapes and Letters with Pieces of String – Show or say a shape or letter and have your kiddo make it using pieces of string. Make sure to cut a few shorter strings to make lower case letters and letters with short lines like “K”
#2 Preschool Gross Motor Skills
While fine motor skills refer to the smaller muscles of the hand, wrist, and fingers, Gross Motor Skills use the bigger muscles.
Gross Motor Skills begin to develop at birth and continue through early childhood.
They include basic movements like lifting something, walking, and running. But also movements that require more technique like riding a bike, dribbling a ball, jump roping, and hitting a ball.
5 Minute Preschool Gross Motor Skill Activities
- Hop on One Leg – Draw a Hopscotch board! Or how many times can you hop on one leg. Make sure to give each leg an opportunity to shine! Most kids will be better at hopping on one of their legs and that’s ok. Just give a little extra encouragement to use their weaker leg.
- Throw a ball at a Target Over Hand – Make sure your kiddo starts with holding the ball near their ear and then steps forward with the opposite leg before throwing the ball
- Have a catch – When just learning to catch, use a beach ball or medium sized stuffed animal to make it easier. As your kiddo gets better, use smaller balls.
- Walk on a line or balance beam- Walk with one foot in front of the other. If it’s too easy, try walking side stepping or backwards!
- Animal Walks – Walk/hop around pretending you are a frog, bear, bunny, snake, crab, dog, and any other animal you can come up with
#3 Activities for Eye-Hand Coordination
Eye-hand coordination, or also referred as Hand-Eye coordination, is the ability to use your vision and movement of a body part, usually a hand or foot, together in order to touch something.
This skill is key for writing, drawing, reaching for an object, putting an object into something and much more!
Eye-hand coordination is used for both Fine Motor Activities and Gross Motor Activities.
5 Minute Preschool Eye-Hand Coordination Activities
- Drop Toothpicks Through Holes in an Empty Spice Container – Hold the empty spice container with one hand, and drop toothpicks through the small holes with your other hand
- Place Objects on a Line – Place painters tape on the floor or table and place small items on it.
- Pierce Small Pieces of Fruit with A Toothpick – Instead of using your fingers or a fork, use a toothpick to eat!
- Bat at a balloon with a Ruler or Wooden Spoon – See how many times you can hit it before it falls to the floor
- Dot Cover – On a blank piece of paper draw images (dots, letters, shapes, or numbers) sporadically. Use a dot marker or stickers to cover the image
#4 Core Strengthening for Kids
Core strength is so important for developing skills in kids. It refers to not only the stomach muscles but also the back muscles.
Good core strength helps with good posture, balance, and stability.
Kids who do not have good core strength often have a hard time sitting upright without using an external factor (like a chair or table) to support them. Without a support, you see them sitting in a hunched over position. Here are some other signs your kiddo has a weak core.
When a kiddo sits in a hunched position the air flow to their lungs is limited and they being to take shallow breaths.
Shallow Breathing = Less Oxygen = Less Energy
5 Minute Preschool Core Strengthening Activities for Kids
- Pour Water from one Container Into a Different Container – Holding containers up, away from your body, forces you to engage your core muscles.
- Paint using a Regular Paintbrush or Paint Roller – Use a regular paint brush and water on a sunny day to paint lines, shapes, letters, on the sidewalk or fence. The bigger the strokes the better!
- Swinging – The act of swinging while sitting or standing is a full body workout!
- Pick up Toys with Your Feet – While sitting down, pick up a toy with your feet and place it in a basket or a specific spot
- Superman Position – Lay on your belly on the floor and raise both your legs and shoulder/arms off the floor at the same time. If doing it on the floor hurts, try it over an ottoman or on a standard swing.
# 5 Improving Attention Span
What should a preschoolers attention span be?
This is really a common question without a concrete answer.
But I like to say 2 minutes for each year of life. This is only a general guideline and easy to remember!
- 2 year old = 4 minute attention span
- 3 year old = 6 minute attention span
- 4 year old = 8 minute attention span
- 5 year old = 10 minute attention span
5 Minute Preschool Activities to Improve Attention Span
- Read a Book Looking at the Pictures NOT the Words – This might feel uncomfortable at first but it gets easier the more you do it!
- Follow the Leader – Imitate a movement. Make sure to include crossing midline movements like these
- Play a Game with Turn Taking – start with only 2 players and phase out saying “your turn”. The goal is for your kiddo to know that your turn is over and that it’s their turn to play
- Guess the Missing Item- Place items on a table. Have one person take 1 item away while the other person has their eyes covered. Ther person with their eyes covered has to guess what’s missing.
- Follow Multi-step directions – Give your kiddo 1-step direction to complete. Once they can complete 1 step directions then give them 2-step directions. Pick fun and motivating (sometimes the sillier the better) directions for better results!
What if your child has fine motor, gross motor, eye-hand coordination or attention difficulties?
Remember each child is different and develops at their own pace.
And kids will not develop in all areas at the same time. It is very normal for a kiddo to excel in one area of development at a time.
With that being said, watch to see if your kiddo:
- Is not interested in the same activities as their peers so much that they refuse to complete the tasks
- likes to tell other kids what to do or say that they are going to play but then stay on the sidelines
- becomes silly and makes intentional mistakes to avoid completing the task
- takes much longer to complete a task than their peers
If you notice that your child is doing any of the above, watch closely to see if it’s a consistent behavior.
Kids who consistently avoid a task may need help from a professional. Talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
Where should I start?
- Download the list of 25- 5 Minute Preschool Activities Guide here
- Hang it on your refrigerator so that you don’t forget this great resource!
- Know with confidence that your preschooler is building their skills
What do you think?
Let me know if you found these activity ideas to be helpful….. And if you want more!!
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I am sure that you are not the only one with the same question! I read all comments and would love to hear from you!
Checkout More from OTPerspective:
- How To Improve Eye Hand Coordination in Kids
- 5 Minute Skill Building Preschool Activities for Home
- Pincer Grasp Simplified: What, When and How It’s Used
- Ultimate Developmental Gift Guide for 5 Year Olds
- 32 Easy Seasonal Crossing Midline Activities for Kids
- Pencil Grasp Development: What You Need to Know
Kelly is a licensed Occupational Therapist with 15 years of experience servicing school-aged children and Early Intervention. She is the founder of OT Perspective and a mom to 4 children. To learn more about her, check out her About Me page, here.