Hand Strength: 5 Fun Activities for Children
by Emma Clark, Student OT
Childhood is a critical time for the development of intrinsic hand muscles. Without the proper development of these muscles, children will have delayed fine motor skills or fatigue during fine motor activities. Building hand strength in children leads to the development of skills like grasping a pencil, scissor skills, buttoning, and closing zippers. Children with weak hand muscles may have difficulty with handwriting and other classroom skills. Here are some fun activities that can be done at home to strengthen hand muscles:
Here is an easy recipe to make your own non-bake play dough at home:
- Add 1 cup of flour to a mixing bowl
- Add 1/2 cup of salt
- Lastly, add 1/2 cup of water and pour it into the mixing bowl
- Stir with a spoon until it is the right consistency
- Add one drop of food coloring as desired
- If it’s a little sticky, knead in a small amount of flour
Spray bottles and sponges
Weight bearing activities
Wheelbarrow walks, animal walks, and crawling all require a child to put weight through their hands.
Tongs or clothespins
Use tongs or clothespins to pick up game pieces. This will help to develop strength in the thumb and pointer finger that are needed for a mature writing grasp.
When a child crumples paper into a ball, they are using a squeezing motion and are developing grip strength. Have your child crumple small pieces of paper and try to make a basket in the recycling bin. Start with using two hands and once they have mastered that, try it using only one hand.