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Games that Promote Fine Motor & Gross Motor Skills in Kids 6 & Up

Updated on June 29, 2018
rmcrayne profile image

Rose Mary, an Occupational Therapist since 1987, is experienced with pre-term infants, early intervention, school therapy, & home health.

Classic Board Games
Classic Board Games | Source

These are games that promote motor control, facilitating fine motor skills or gross motor skills. I have designated all of these for age 6 and up. Most of these games are suitable for adults, or for families.

Most of these games are also classic games from the 1960s or 1970s. A recurring theme among Amazon raters, is that new games are inferior in quality to the games they grew up with. Therefore I recommend you scour eBay and thrift stores for vintage versions of these games.

  • Games Reviewed in this Hub:
  • Bed Bugs
  • Booby Trap
  • Drop in the Bucket
  • Topple
  • Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots
  • Ker Plunk
  • Tumble Game
  • Tumbling Monkeys
  • Yoga Kit for Kids
  • Twister

Bed Bugs

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Ages: 6 and up.

Brief Overview: Players attempt to capture as many bed bugs as possible with their tweezers from the shaking bed.

Amazon Customer Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars from 66 raters. Complaints were that the game is now more cheaply made than versions from a few decades ago. Some complaints that it was not challenging enough because the bugs don't jump enough.

Skills: Manipulation of tweezers, speed.

Modifications: Suitable for children to play alone to practice skills.

Booby Trap

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Ages: 6 and up.

Brief Overview: Players take turns removing 1 of the 63 round pieces held in place by the spring loaded tension bar. Remove the wrong piece, and send many pieces flying.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average of 4.4 of 5 stars from 9 raters. Those dissatisfied sited cheap construction. Several comments agreed it was not the Booby Trap game of their childhood. Others were completely satisfied with the game.

Skills: Controlled movement and strategy in removing the round pieces.

Modifications: Suitable for children to play alone to practice skills.

Drop in the Bucket

Number of Players: unlimited players.

Ages: 6 and up.

Brief Overview: Classic game, originating in 1930. Launch colored marbles into the buckets with spring loaded launcher. Scores double when marble and bucket colors match.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average rating of 2.4 stars out of 5, from 5 reviewers. Three raters stated kids loved the game. Two raters said the spring broke almost immediately.

Skills: Graded movement for launching marbles.

Modifications: Suitable for children to play alone to practice skills.

Topple

Topple Game
Topple Game | Source


Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Ages: 6 and up.

Brief Overview: Players choose a color, and roll a die to determine where they must place pieces on the tottering platform. Points are awarded for completed rows or high stacks. Penalties are imposed for topples.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.1 of 5 stars from 53 raters.

Skills: Careful, controlled movement in placing discs on the platform.

Versions: Travel game version.

Modifications: Suitable for children to play alone to practice skills. Small children can play without scoring.


Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots

Rock 'em Sock 'em Robot
Rock 'em Sock 'em Robot | Source

Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots "You knocked my block off!"

Number of Players: 2 players.

Ages: 6 and up.

Brief Overview: This Mattel game originated in 1966.

Amazon Customer Rating: 3.7 of 5 stars from 419 reviewers. Complaints that the robots are now smaller and the overall game “flimsy” compared to the game of raters’ childhood.

Skills: Dexterity, control and endurance in managing toggles to work robot arms.

Versions: Mini game, Kung Fu Panda, Superman returns.

Ker Plunk

Ker Plunk Game
Ker Plunk Game | Source

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Ages: 6 and up.

Brief Overview: Popular Mattel game for 35 years. Thirty thin sticks are placed through the cylinder chamber, then 32 marbles are poured on top. Players take turns carefully removing the sticks, trying to dislodge as few marbles as possible. Player with the fewest marbles after all of the marbles are dislodged, wins.

Amazon Customer Rating: 3.4 of 5 stars from 155 raters. Chief complaints: Poor quality of materials, smaller and shorter cylinder than the Ker Plunk game parents had when they were kids.

Skills: Steady, controlled movement in removing sticks.

Versions: Honey Bee Tree game by International Playthings is similar. Tumbling Monkeys and Tumble games are also similar. See reviews below.

Modifications: Suitable for children to play alone to practice skills.

Tumble Game

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

Ages: 6 and up.

Brief Overview: This Pressman game is played like Mattel’s Ker Plunk.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average rating 3.3 of 5 stars, from 10 raters. Complaints of poor construction and materials, too difficult to get sticks in, and too easy to shake or tip over.

Skills: Steady, controlled movement in removing sticks.

Versions: Multiple similar games: Honey Bee Tree by International Playthings, Tumbling Monkeys by Mattel, and Ker Plunk by Mattel. All of these games were better rated than this game.

Modifications: Suitable for individual play to practice skills, but would need to be secured so as not to tip over.

Tumblin' Monkeys

Tumblin' monkeys and sticks
Tumblin' monkeys and sticks | Source

Tumblin' Monkeys

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Ages: 6 and up.

Brief Overview: Play of this Mattel game is similar to Ker Plunk, also a Mattel product. In this game, monkeys replace marbles. The monkeys’ tails can hook on the sticks, making them tumble less quickly or easily than marbles.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.6 of 5 stars from 29 raters.

Skills: Steady, controlled movement in removing sticks.

Versions: Multiple similar games: Honey Bee Tree by International Playthings, Tumble by Pressman, and Ker Plunk by Mattel. This seems to be the best rated of these games.

Modifications: Suitable for children to play alone to practice skills.

Yoga Kit for Kids

Number of Players: 1 or more participants.

Ages: 6 and up.

Brief Overview: Kit includes large card with yoga poses. Participants spin to determine which pose they must do, while trying to collect a yoga pose card in each color.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.6 of 5 stars by 16 raters.

Skills Concentration, balance, strength and flexibility. Also motor planning (sequencing of unfamiliar movement or task).

Modifications: Each participant can perform to his or her own level.

Twister

Twister Game
Twister Game | Source

Twister

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Ages: 5 and up.

Brief Overview: Hasbro game, around since 1966. The designated spinner spins to determine on which color players have to place right or left hand or foot. Players get tangled and ultimately one or all topple.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.4 of 5 stars from 99 raters.

Skills: Motor planning to carry out unusual movements, gross motor coordination to place hands and feet, strength and endurance to hold positions.

Versions: Spanish version, Twister Hopscotch, Dance DVD, Take Out, Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Twister Moves, Outdoor Scram.

Modifications: Concessions can be made for younger players.

© 2009 rmcrayne

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