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Classic Games to Develop Gross & Fine Motor Skills in Children 8 Years Old & Up

Updated on July 21, 2018
rmcrayne profile image

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

Game Closet
Game Closet | Source

These games help hone motor skills, particularly dexterity and fine motor control. I have recommended all of these games for 8 years old and up. Many were marketed for younger children, which from my experience as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, I deemed completely unrealistic. A big clue that a game is not appropriate is the phrase “it’s not as easy as it looks” or the phrase “it’s more challenging than you’d think”.

These games, as well as my Family Games That Promote Motor Skills for Age 6 and Up, are suitable for adults. This can be validated by the ready supply of pictures of teens and adults playing these games!

I have included Amazon customer ratings for each game. Chief complaint for most is that the quality and construction is inferior to the games the parents had as children.

Games in this article:

  • Tip It
  • Jumpin Monkeys
  • Mouse Trap
  • Tiddly Winks
  • Jenga
  • Perfection
  • Operation
  • Twister Dance DVD

Tip It


Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Age: 8 and up.

Brief Overview: Players must remove disks from the teetering tower without toppling the tower. Players spin to determine what color disk they have to remove. First player to remove 3 disks of the same color wins.

Amazon Customer Rating: Average rating 3.5 of 5 stars from 25 raters.

Skills: Fine control, steady hand, tool use.

Versions: Cars Tip It. Topple is very similar, and slightly easier.

Modifications: For younger children, or children with less precise dexterity skills, could play until the first 3 to 5 disks of any color combination are collected. Suitable to play alone to hone skills.

Tip It Game

Jumpin Monkeys

Jumpin Monkeys game
Jumpin Monkeys game | Source

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Ages: 8 and up.

Brief Overview: Each player has 4 monkeys and a catapult. Players take turns launching their monkeys, trying to land them in the tree, and possibly knocking competitors’ monkeys off. First to successfully get all of their monkeys in the tree wins.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars from 87 raters.

Skills: Manipulation and grading of the catapult.

Modifications: Younger children could position closer to the tree, or toss the monkeys. Suitable to play alone to hone skills.

Mouse Trap


Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Ages: 8 years old and up.

Brief Overview: Players roll the die, and collect cheese and pieces to build their mouse trap as they progress around the game board. Once built, players try to capture opponents’ mice in their chain-reaction style mouse trap.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.0 of 5 stars from 756 raters. Chief complaint was that materials and construction are inferior compared to the game of raters’ childhoods. Also, that the game was too complicated for 5 and year olds (manufacturers recommended the game for 6 and up). Try to score a vintage version of the game from a thrift store or eBay.

Skills: Manipulation of mouse trap pieces and strategy in construction of the mouse trap.

Mouse Trap Game

Vintage Tiddly Winks game
Vintage Tiddly Winks game | Source

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players.

Ages: 8 and up.

Brief Overview: This game was a popular English parlor game in the 1890s, and described as “easy to learn but difficult to master”. Players use large disc to propel the small discs into the scoring tray. First player to reach 250 points wins.

Amazon Customer Rating: 3.9 of 5 stars by 68 raters.

Skills: Dexterity and grading of the large disc to propel small discs.

Modifications: Suitable to play alone to hone skills.


Jenga game
Jenga game | Source

Number of Players: 1 or more players.

Ages: 8 and up.

Brief Overview: 54 rectangular blocks are stacked 3 wide, and 18 high. Players take turns removing blocks and placing them on top of the stack. Game over when the tower topples.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.7 of 5 stars from 3192 raters.

Skills: Steady hand in controlled movement of the blocks; strategy.

Versions: Halloween, Holiday, NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Special Onyx Edition, Donkey Kong, Jenga Max.

Modifications: Younger children can enjoy stacking the blocks. Suitable to play alone to hone skills.


Perfection Game
Perfection Game | Source

Number of Players: 1 or more players.

Ages: 8 and up.

Brief Overview: Board has 25 different geometric shapes. Players take turns playing against a 60 second timer. This game is very challenging. I’ve never seen a player place all 25 pieces, or anywhere near 25 in 60 seconds.

Amazon Customer Rating: 3.7 of 5 stars from 191 raters.

Skills: Recognition of shape pieces and orientation to corresponding space in the board. Quality and speed of in-hand manipulation of pieces for placement.

Versions: Travel Game, Key Chain, 1975 Edition, 1998 Edition, 2003 Edition.

Modifications: Play without timer. Select the pieces for 1 or 2 rows, and play against the 60 second timer.



Operation Game
Operation Game | Source

Number of Players: 1 or more players.

Ages: 8 and up.

Brief Overview: The Hasbro version of the game is played as older versions with the patient requiring 12 surgeries to remove faulty parts. The Milton Bradley version is described as a “multi-sensory experience”. There are new textured parts to remove. Sound effects indicate what part to remove: toilet flush indicates “bad plumbing”. Players press the patient’s nose to learn if their intervention was a success.

Amazon Customer Rating: 4.4 of 5 stars by 263 raters. Chief complaint was inferior construction compared to the game of raters’ childhoods. Some felt the old loud buzzer made failure more fun.

Skills: Steady hand in manipulating surgical tool.

Versions: SpongeBob, Shrek, Spiderman, Hulk, Rudolf the Red Nosed Raindeer, Nightmare before Christmas, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins, Despicable Me.


Twister Dance DVD


Number of Players: 1 to 4 players.

Ages: 8 and up.

Brief Overview: Dance mat and DVD with 40 progressively more difficult and faster lessons. Dance mode is without lesson prompts.

Amazon Customer Rating: 3.8 of 5 stars from 24 raters.

Skills: Motor planning and coordination, balance, sequencing.

Variations: Twister Moves, Twister Moves Hannah Montana, Twister Moves High School Musical, Outdoor Scram, Twister Dance, Twister Dance Rave.

Modifications: Instructions for non-competitive play.

© 2009 rmcrayne


Submit a Comment
  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 

    5 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    Great classic nostalgic games that I remember from my youth. Voted up for useful!

  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Retro, I'm jealous. I always wanted Operation, but never had it.

  • RetroBrothers profile image

    Martin Allan 

    8 years ago from Sunny Scotland

    Operation used to wind me up - and still does to this day!

    Nice hub - I love the classic games and never really thought about them in this way before.

  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Thanks for your nice comment bill.

  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    I like the sounds of that computer game vrajavala. If you work with children, I suggest you read my sensory processing hub, Children's Behavior...A Different Perspective.

  • vrajavala profile image


    10 years ago from Port St. Lucie

    we have a daycare here and it's amazing what kids can learn. I also recommend some computer games like

    it allows kids of different age levels to learn how to drag pieces to complete the puzzle.

  • rmcrayne profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Thanks for reading and commenting Kim. I always wanted Operation when I was a kid, but we never got it. We had Twister and Don't Spill the Beans. Of course, I've played MANY of these games as a Peds Therapist.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Operation - the best - oh my god I had forgotten about the best game of all - I just love this series, being a kid at heart - way to go RM, bravo, keep em coming please.


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