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Development of fine motor skills is key for young children. This fun activity involves pounding with a hammer, pinching with tongs, and trying to balance marbles. My toddler son loves it and I have seen it in action in preschool classes as well. Even if your child doesn’t have the fine motor skills to manipulate the marbles, the hammering itself is a great fine motor skill builder.

Materials: *I was able to purchase all the materials (except the hammer, which we already had from another toy) from

  • Styrofoam board (I have also used cardboard boxes such as a shoe box)
  • Golf tees
  • Child hammer
  • Marbles
  • Tongs (I have found that plastic tongs and tweezers designed for children don’t work well for gripping marbles. Instead, I purchased bamboo tongs for under $3)

This activity sounds (and is) so simple–but it will entertain your child for several hours! The first time I introduced it to my son, it was almost the only thing he played with for an entire day.

Simply model how to hold the golf tee with one hand and hammer it into the foam board (or cardboard box) with the other.

Then, use the tongs to pick up a marble and attempt to balance it on the head of the golf tee. This not only takes fine motor skills, but also some patience–another skill young children tend to need practice with.