Have you noticed if your child struggles with opening things, holding a writing utensil, difficulty manipulating small items? He/she could be struggling due to decreased strength in the hands and/or fingers. Lacking strength in the hands and fingers affects a child's fine motor skills, writing skills, dressing skills and much more. Belwo are easy at home activities your child can do to increase their strength.
- Play-doh: have the child knead it, roll into logs or small balls with their finger tips, squash it with open palms and use their fingers to mold it into a larger ball; use cookie cutters and scissors
- Theraputty: more resistive than play-doh; comes in a variety of resistances ranging from soft to extra firm; hide small items (buttons, coins, beads, etc) inside and have the child pull it apart with their hands and fingers to locate the items; roll the putty into a log and have the child snip it with scissors. This activity can be graded by changing the thickness of the log or using varied levels of resistive putty.
Pinching activities: tongs, tweezers, chopsticks, and clothespin activities use muscles for pinch strength in the hands and subsequently for the muscles use in holding writing tools properly. Always make sure a neutral wrist position and proper pinch grasp are used to maximize strengthening of hand and finger muscles.
- Clothespins with letters or numbers written on them; clip them onto fabric or a clothes line hung slightly above shoulder height of child to incorporate wrist and shoulder muscles in this activity
- Weight-bearing activities: when children crawl as infants the arches within the palm of the hand develop and strengthen, which allow us to cup a dice and shake it with our hand; crawling on all fours through a tunnel or over uneven surfaces, propelling themselves prone on scooter board, and wheelbarrow walking
- Squeezing activities: include use of stress balls, large chip bag clips, crumbling large pieces of paper to make snowballs, spray bottles and water squirt bottles to create chores for your child to clean the table after a meal and water plants
Your child may also benefit from Occupational Therapy if they struggle with finger and grip strength. Contact our office to schedule a free Intake if you have concerns.