3 super fun new ways to use cookie cutters for fine motor activities with toddlers and preschoolers for hands on learning and play at home.
So we went for our first spring weekend drive checking out curb alerts and garage sales.
This is a fave of ours as a family. We call them “treasure hunts” and the kids love them.
We came across a bag full of cookie cutters. Couldn’t pass that up.
So I spent some time thinking of ideas of fine motor learning activities I could use the cookie cutters for that my toddler and or preschooler would enjoy.
Turned out I came up with a ton but these are my 3 favorite ones I’m sharing with you!
Cookie Cutter Color Sorting Activity on the Wall
If you don’t happen to have a bunch of colourful cookie cutters for this activity you can use the ones that come with play dough or they have some excellent assortments available on Amazon.
For this cookie cutter toddler activity you will need:
A variety of colors of cookie cutters
pipe cleaners in matching colors
bucket or basket
First bend your pipe cleaners in half and then round up the folded end to make a hook shape.
Tape the pipe cleaner hooks on your wall with the bended part facing out like a hook.
TIP: Since cookie cutters are pretty large in size for hanging I recommend having a large portion of the pipe cleaners folded up and not just a little hook.
Next, I simply filled a bucket with the matching colored cookie cutters and place them on the floor near the hooks.
Cookie Cutters Color Match Activity on the Wall
I invited Maisie to come check it out. She was about 19 months old.
Maisie had a long hard look at what was before her.
Then she picked up a cookie cutter, named the shape and got quite excited about her activity!
I asked her what color it was.
After she answered I encouraged her to hang it on the matching hook.
First 2 or 3 took a few tries to figure out she needed to come from above to get it “on” the hook and not just to touch it.
Maisie had so much fun with this Cookie cutters sorting activity!
She had as much fun putting them all on. And taking them off too.
We must have played with this for nearly an hour!
Which as you know is amazing for a toddler.
She also teased me a few times by hanging one on the wrong color very slowly and then peaking over to see what I would say…
“Oh my, look at that! You put the green doggie on the orange hook. How silly!”
We had some laughs.
I love when little tikes get a sense of humor and want to play little games of their own!
She even came back the next morning and sorted the cookie cutters all over again before we had to head out the door.
Cookie Cutter Word Puzzles
This cookie cutters activity was more for my older son. He is 3.
But Maisie had fun with it too as long as I was there to help put the puzzle back together for her.
For the Cookie Cutters Puzzle Activity You Need:
Large popsicle or craft sticks (Any color)
Markers (permanent work best)
For my activity I chose 4 fun shaped cookie cutters that had easy starting words as names: Dog, Cat, Hand, Foot.
Tree, Bell, Man & Star are great options too! Just work with what you’ve got!
Preparing Fun and Simple DIY Puzzles
I lined up my craft sticks and taped them together on one side to stop them from slipping around.
I used 2 sticks more than the letters in the cookie cutter title. Like, 5 sticks for Dog. Or, 6 sticks for Hand.
Next, I traced the outside of the shape onto the sticks and wrote the letters across the top.
I also added a little dot or shape to the top of the sticks without a letter to help my kids know which end was the top.
Next I took the tape off the back and mixed up the sticks.
I reapplied the tape to the colored side of the sticks and flipped them over to reveal the blank sides.
Mixing them before doing the other side makes it so when you finish one puzzle you can’t just flip it over to make the next one.
I then repeated the process on the other side with a different shape.
Cat on one side, dog on the other. Hand on one side, foot on the other.
For these cookie cutters puzzles I traced the inside.
Fun Cookie Cutters DIY Puzzle Activity
Now it was time to challenge my kids with this new cookie cutters activity!
For my daughter I just made the puzzles for her and named the shape and letters.
I let her mix them up and hand me the sticks to make it again.
She was learning by watching so was still great fun. I made sure to talk about the letters and colors and shapes as I put it back together.
And she did manage to fix a few on her own when she bumped them which was great fine motor practice!
For my son who is just turned 4 this cookie cutters activity was a perfect skill level challenge.
Charlie first located all the sticks in a specific color he was interested in doing first.
Then I helped him figure out what the first letter of the word was.
Charlie knows most of his letters but not words yet. So this fun cookie cutters puzzle was a great introduction activity to how letters spell more words than just our names.
As he located the letters he lined them up.
Then it was time to add the two extra end sticks in place and reveal the matching picture for his word!
He was so proud of himself when he completed one!
Immediately Charlie wanted to do another puzzle too.
So simple and fun. This cookie cutters activity worked on fine motor, cognitive thinking, letter recognition and spelling all at once.
And the best part was he didn’t even know he was learning!
If your kids love puzzles then you absolutely must check out these 9 Fun Puzzle Games!
Fun Cookie Cutters Fine Motor Tweezer Pull
This cookie cutters activity must have been my personal favorite!
This fine motor activity is so versatile and can be themed easily for any learning focus, season or holiday.
I love when a simple activity uses supplies I have around all the time and can so easily be made new with a few new crafty items!
For This Fine Motor Activity, You’ll Need:
tweezers (optional for toddlers)
small cups, dishes or muffin liners (same number as cookie cutters)
small craft or house parts (i.e. buttons, sequins, cut up pipe cleaners, wooden craft shapes, paper clips, etc)
For this fine motor activity I picked out a few fun cookie cutters for each child and set them on cookie sheets first.
Then filled each cookie cutter with play dough.
Next I pushed different types of small parts in each cookie cutter. I left a little bit sticking up for the tweezers (or tiny fingers) to get a hold of.
Cookie Cutter Fine Motor Pull with a Toddler
For Maisie who is only 19 months, I chose to do this cookie cutters activity with her alone the first time so she could get used to it.
I simply put the tray in front of her and suggested she pull the birdies out and put them all in a dish.
She didn’t need any convincing! She was onboard immediately.
My toddler took them out.
She put them back in.
She sorted them.
And she lined them up. Kissed them. And named each one with names from our family.
Maisie loved this cookie cutters activity quite a bit.
She kept busy with it for over an hour.
Another amazing thing about this activity is how easy it was to take with me on the go!
I had them all prepared and slipped it all into a zipper baggie to bring to my mom and dad’s house.
Cookie Cutter Tweezer Pull with a Preschooler
For Charlie, my preschooler, I set a pair of tweezers on the tray with his cookie cutters activity.
This time I gave Maisie a pair of tweezers too. Though I didn’t expect her to be able to properly use them yet.
Charlie loved this cookie cutters activity too!
He loves anything teeny tiny!
And Maisie loved it too. She was right back into it like the first time.
Charlie immediately went to work plucking all the small parts out of the play dough with his new tweezers.
He wasn’t interested in keeping them all sorted however.
Charlie preferred to have all the parts in one cup.
Fine with me.
Activities rarely go as I plan, but the kids always learn something their own way. And this cookie cutters activity is no exception.
Lots of laughs and giggles and “wow, mommy, yook!!”
I’m pretty sure the buttons and butterfly beads were Charlie’s favorite in the long run.
But he really just loved the whole activity.
It was great practice and exercise for his pincer grasp which is vital to future writing abilities.
Especially since this cookie cutters activity requires some muscle with pulling it out of the snug play dough.
Maisie was just as enthralled with the activity this time as the first time.
But this time I didn’t have to help her or guide her at all so was able to put most of my focus on talking Charlie through it a bit.
Turned into a fantastic little quiet time busy play activity for my toddler, actually!
I will keep that in mind for future reference too.
And of course after all the items had been removed we all had fun pinching pay dough bits out too!
Even Maisie got in on this part with the tweezers.
How have you used cutters in your play time? We would love to hear your ideas too!
#Colors #PlayDough #PipeCleaners #Sensory #FineMotor