Education, Nutrition

Snacks to encourage fine motor skills

11 July, 2023

When children are growing, it can feel like you’ve just finished feeding them and they’re hungry again! Make mealtimes do double duty with these good-to-eat snacks that help develop their fine motor skills, too.


As adults, we use our fine motor skills all day without even thinking about it. Writing notes, pegging clothes on the line, tying our shoes, and even scrolling our phones all require strength, precision and hand-eye coordination. Help your kids develop their muscles and their skills by offering them finger foods that use their hands in different ways.

Try to pick a time of day when kids are receptive to feeding themselves. Kids that are too tired or really hungry may become easily frustrated, while kids who are full won’t be interested in food. So plan your day to hit that sweet spot. To prevent choking, be sure to always supervise your child while they’re eating and only offer foods your child is ready to eat.


Here are some foods to try:

  • Sit your child down with a small bowl of sultanas or cooked frozen peas or corn. Using their fingers to pick them out one-by-one will help develop their pincer grip.
  • Veggie sticks or crackers with dip are great for developing the tripod grasp, which is used for holding a pencil. Chop up sticks of carrot, cucumber, celery or capsicum and encourage your child to dip them in hommus or another dip.
  • A plate of sliced fruit – think apples, pears, grapes and strawberries – makes a great morning tea snack. Present it with a small set of tongs and encourage your child to serve themselves to build their tripod grip.
  • Toothpicks and skewers are pretty sharp, so definitely require close supervision, but kids love using them to skewer food and it’s another way to develop their pincer grip. Think cubes of fruit and cheese or slices of sausage.
  • No preparation is required for this snack – hand out a banana or a mandarin and encourage your child to peel it themselves, building on their manual dexterity.
  • If you like to bake, whip up a batch of jam drops with your little one and encourage them to use two teaspoons to ladle the jam into the centre. This is great for developing coordination – and you get fresh biscuits too!

Why not try some of our healthy recipes for picky eaters too..

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