Fine motor skills
As children grow and play in everyday activities muscle power of the hands and fingers rise. Activities such as running, swimming, playing with toys or drawing with crayons all of them contributions develop and strengthen the fine motor skills. Hand and finger strength is an important part of the muscle. It is required for many everyday activities such as button fastening, playing with smaller blocks – Lego, or preparing your meal or cutting some fruit. It is also important in activities such as writing and using measuring rulers in mathematics. A strong handshake refers to the whole hand including the thumb, forefinger and middle finger (all fingers) if needed.
Motivate your child to:
- independent in daily activities.
- be active in the games with blocks and doing your chores in the house…
- drawing with different artистиc tools develops and strengthens hands, arms and fingers. For example, drawing, painting in different places, in different body positions are great exercises.
- do a lot of strengthening activities during the day. Pushing and gripping against resistance involves strengthening fine muscular muscles. For example, playing with clay, or playing a sports game. As your child’s hand strength improves, increase the amount of resistance in the activity. Motivate your child to squeeze a needle, softball or tennis ball.
- Hand strength improves with the number of repetitions your child performs. For example, encourage him to do as many times as he can, and end up encouraging him once or twice.
The strength of the fingers and hands is an important children’s skill that will help them to be more successful in later skills such as using a laptop, using a tin opener and tying shoes.
Pointing is one of the first activities a child uses to communicate. Some children can point with their entire hand and some with their index finger. As an exercise, you can gently close the rest of your hand, leaving only your index finger to point.
Activities for inspiring children:
- Children’s books with finger holes
- Finger dolls, puppet
- Toy phones with caller
- Holes in blocks
- Playing with plasticine / plaidough.
Activities to encourage individual finger movement:
- Light breaker – turning on and off
- Turning programs on T.V, stereo, etc.
- Pushing the buttons on touch-dial toy phones.
- Songs and rhymes with your fingers
- Pushing the buttons on toy cookers, dolls
- Turning the pages of books
- Books with flap to push, pull and turn.
- Shaving foam can motivate your child to take pictures with their fingers. He can produce different patterns (he pretends to play the piano, that he is an artist…).
- Using fingers on different objects, the child can make sound.
- Card games – Picking up and holding cards can help to develop hand stability and finger coordination. For example, the child to deal out the cards.
- Snacktime – encourage your child to pick them up (raisins, chocolate)
- Pushing the doorbell button
Finger control / finger opposite
This is the skill of collecting little things with your thumb and forefinger standing side by side like a pliers.
- Feeding your fingers
- Separation of cups from each other
- Tying clothes to the bottom
- Cake Decoration
- Sorting activities; pick up small items with a handle for e.g. beads, dry pastes, coins …
Activity ideas for grip strength
- Play with plasticine, dough, knead, roll it with a rolling pin, chop with a knife, tear the dough into pieces with your fingers …
- Pop beads, Lego or construction sets can be pulled apart and pushed together.
- Squeeze toys (or squeeze softball) – 10 times or as many times as you can in one minute to make it fun.
- Squeezing newspaper sheets into balls. When several balls are made, toss them into the bin or target.
- Game – Pick up small toys or items with a pair of pliers and run and put them in a box. You can also measure time.
- Hammering activities.
- Making paper chains. To increase strength requirements, use thicker paper or cardboard.
- Take the pens and sharpen them with a cutter
- Make as many plasticine snakes in one minute. Then cut the snakes with a scissors or plastic knife.
Activities for every day
- Squeeze the water with bubbles or play with toys that require squeezing, like a sponge, during bath-time.
- Water the plants with a spray bottle.
- Practice getting undressed and getting dressed.
- Be useful in the kitchen, such as cooking, stirring, sifting ….
- Peel and chop foods like vegetables, fruits … First, start with bananas, cucumbers.
- Grate cheese or carrots.
- Make sandwiches, use a knife to cut and spread butter.
- Use a fork and knife to cut food during the meal. For example, cut out foods such as potatoes, carrots, eggs.
- Make juice by squeezing orange or lemon.
- Move things from one place to another, bags or buckets of water
- Climb the ladder to the tree, but keep it safe for the child
- Play in the sand or garden using a rake and other digging tool.
- Help your parents wash their car.
- Wood treatment – sawing, grinding …
- Ride a bicycle.
- Tennis, other bat and ball games or cricket.
- Stand opposite your child and place your palms on the child’s arms. Try pushing one over the other.
- Let the dragon fly when it’s a windy day
Activity ideas for tingle strength
- Separate colored paper for glue, paper mache or activity collage.
- Make small balls of plaidough, then cut the balls between your thumb and forefinger, pretending to be a plaidough beetle or egg.
- Squeeze the clothes pegs and hang the doll’s clothes
- Play around and throw your water gun at the target.
- Use tweezers to pick up small beads
- Use an eye-dropper and food coloring to change or mix colors.
- Use stamps and ink pads.
- Draw with chalk on a blackboard or concrete.
- Peel and stick the stickers.
- Use adhesive tapes for arts and crafts projects.
- Knit using needles or a knitting nancy.
- Make friendship strips using colorful cotton or thread.
- Play with winding toys.
- Tie the balloon.
- Writing or coloring over coins, patterns or other textured surfaces.
Activities for every day
- Buckle up buttons on pajamas and clothing.
- Do up zips on pencil cases, bags or clothes.
- Squeeze toothpaste onto a toothbrush.
- Peel an orange or mandarin.
- Open up pop-top drink bottles and lunch boxes.
- Open yogurt containers, biscuit, chip or lolly packets.
- Open a can of tinned fruit or vegetables with a can opener.
- Use an eye-dropper to transfer cordial into a glass of water.
- Writing is a good strengthening activity,
- How many rubber bands can your child pull around the can?
- A fun activity is putting a toothpick in a bottle.
Source: Department of Occupational Therapy, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
Children, Young People ,and Families Occupational Therapy Team, FINE MOTOR SKILLS, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust