Building and strengthening those little fine motor muscles are crucial in the early childhood years. Strong fine motor skills will come in handy as children learn self-help skills (for example, getting dressed, especially buttoning and zipping) and they take center stage with skills like drawing and writing. Because of that, I’m always looking for ways to help Lil’ CB develop those little muscles in his hands and fingers.

Enter the Easiest Outdoor Fine Motor Activity. Ever.

This is an activity that I often suggest to parents and something I started with Lil’ CB when he was about 18 months old. Here’s what you need:

  • a cup of water
  • a paintbrush

And here’s what you do: take the paintbrush, dip it in some water, and paint on the sidewalk (or the side of the house; or the deck; or the bench; or garage door; or the chalkboard, etc.). That’s it!


As simple as this activity is, it has always proven to be a hit. It’s just like painting, but there’s no mess (holla!!!), and what’s really cool is that the water quickly disappears, so it adds another element of fun.

When I first started doing this with Lil’ CB, I just let him go to town and he had a ton of fun just painting the ground and exploring how to use the paintbrush. Plus, dipping the brush in the water cup was a great way to help him with his hand-eye coordination. Now that he’s 3 and a half, he still enjoys freely painting, but we also use the opportunity to practice letters:

And do some pre-writing activities, like practicing lines,


and squiggles!

We also use the evaporating water to add a few twists…we’ll try to see how many letters we can write before the first one disappears or Lil’ CB will call out a word and I’ll say the letters out loud as I write them to see if we can finish the word before the first letter is gone.

True story: I tried to write Hellobee and I could not get it down fast enough before it started to disappear!

This is an activity we’ll pull out several times a week and I’m always happy to do so because again, there is little to no mess! Hopefully your little one will enjoy this just as much as Lil’ CB did and still does!