Fine-Motor Skills Activities for Adults

Adults may enjoy fine-motor activities that are too challenging for children, such as building models.

Fine-motor skills are basically the same regardless of your age, but most activities for developing them are focused on very young children who are just beginning to train their smallest muscles for future use in writing and other complex adult applications. Adults are likely to face fine-motor training when they've suffered injury to their hands, arms, or nervous systems, such as after a stroke. Although favorite activities from before the injury may be too frustrating, those activities may also incorporate useful starting points for rebuilding skills.

1 Simple Repetitive Exercises

Fine-motor skills can begin very simply, with counting on the fingers or learning finger spelling (see Resources). For strength training, keep a rubber band handy and stretch it between the fingers of one or both hands. Even twiddling your thumbs amounts to a fine-motor activity.

2 An Easier Version of a Favorite Craft

If you always liked embroidery but can't manage fine crewel work now, start with laced leather items, latch-hooked or punch-needle rug-making, or large-scale macrame. If your art was pen-and-ink drawing, try watercolor and explore your abstract side, or take up Chinese calligraphy.

3 Try a New Art

Start with the easier items in folded-paper origami and work up to something more impressive and challenging. Fine use of scissors is harder than it looks, so save it for an addition to simple folding. Take up sculpture, starting with soft modeling clays and putties.

4 Play With the Children in Your Life

Shoot marbles in a ring on the floor or into a box on a table. You might also build an extended and elaborate trail of dominoes that you and a child can have fun knocking down. Don't be afraid to discover or rediscover building toys, especially if you can share them with a child you love. It's the snapping together that works for your fine-motor skills, though, so don't get hung up on achieving an adult-looking final product.

Barbara Kellam-Scott has written since 1981 for print publications including "MassBay Antiques" and the award-winning corporate science magazine "Bellcore EXCHANGE." She writes as an advocate and lay Bible scholar in the Presbyterian Church. Kellam-Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts in intercultural studies from Ramapo College of New Jersey and conducted graduate work in sociology, theology and Biblical Hebrew.