Help for Little Hands!
Updated: May 10, 2022
"The hands are the instruments of man's intelligence." -Maria Montessori
A child's hands are one of their best tools. Building hand muscles and enhancing fine motor skills are important areas for child development. The best way to improve overall strength in children is through - EVERYDAY PLAY!
What is Hand Strength?
It is the ability to grip something tightly.
Activities like, writing, cutting, drawing, playing, opening, closing, lacing, zipping, etc. require hand strength.
Hand strength activities basically require very few equipment and arrangement. It can be easy and helpful to set up good habits for little humans from the start.
Below is a list of some hand strengthening activities that can be practice with many supplies easily available at home or that are inexpensive to purchase.
1. Play Dough & Theraputty:
What is Theraputty?
It is a product designed for hands! Theraputty is made up of BPA and Phthalate free material that allows it to hold its shape when children squeeze or hold it in their hands. When left by itself, Theraputty goes back to its original form which makes it super fun to play with!
Children have fun with playdough, while they strengthen their hand muscles. Having small items hidden in the dough for children to find or using cookie cutters to make fun designs. Rolling the clay to make long snakes, or cutting it using scissors. These are few of our favorite activities with playdough.
2. Crumpling Paper:
Paper is a good tool for hand strengthening exercise. We can use different types of paper- tissue paper, construction paper, newspaper, etc. This is a sensory activity as well as a hand strengthening activity.
Children can crumple paper to make paper snowballs. They can squeeze paper into balls to throw into bins or at a target.
3. Squeeze/Spray Bottles:
Kids usually paint with a brush. Why not out some colour in the squeeze bottle and ask kids to squeeze to paint? Children can make designs on a paper or squeeze colour water on playground. Many of us parents wouldn't want to mess the area squeezing with colour paints. Let's water the plants! Use Spray bottles to spray some water on leaves and flowers too.
Squeezing water is a great workout for hand, arm and core muscles. Children can enjoy doing this activity for good 30minutes while using just the right amount of effort to strengthen muscles.
4. Hole Punching:
Exercise as simple and old-fashioned as punching holes all over the paper can provide excitement and opportunities to strengthen hand muscles.
5. Rubber Band Wrap:
Rubber bands or pony tails are easily available at home and are perfect tool for hand exercise. Little humans can grasp the bands and pull it back to stretch it out.
6. Paper Tearing:
Did you know that simple paper tearing could help develop fine motor skills?
When the paper is torn, little hands assume a great tripod grasp which is important for writing and drawing. This activity gives children precision and refined grasp.
While we saw some hands-on activities to do at home for hand muscles, there are some effective gross motor activities that can help strengthen hand muscles too. Hanging on monkey bars or playing tug-of-war are some gross motor activities.
Hand strength is essential in many aspects in life. Thankfully, there are many playful and fun activities that kids can work with and develop stronger hands!
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