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Activities to Help with Finger and Hand Weakness

It’s Mommy’s birthday today and your child wants to make her a special birthday card. As you two are busy coloring away you begin to notice that every few minutes he keeps switching the hand he is coloring with. When it’s time to cut out the little hearts, there is a bit of a struggle to open and close the scissors. Finally, it's time to glue the little pom-poms, but he can’t seem to keep a good grip on the fuzzy balls. These could be subtle red flags of hand and finger strength weakness.

The good news about hand strength weakness is that it can be improved with daily hand exercises. Here are some fun and easy activities your child will enjoy to help strengthen his hand muscles and improve fine and gross motor skills:

Fine Motor Activities Using Clay or Play-Doh

Clay is a great tool for improving fine motor skills. These activities are great for children between ages 2-4.

  • Make as many clay sausages as you can in one minute. Then cut up the sausages with scissors or a plastic knife.

  • Hide beads or toys inside the clay and have your child find them.

  • Roll small balls between thumb and forefinger and then smoosh the balls.

  • Roll, squeeze, and shape dough to make shapes, letters, and objects.

  • Make a bird’s nest by pinching the clay between the thumb and fingers and then make eggs for the nest by rolling the clay into balls.

Gross Motor Activities for Outdoors

  • Play tug of war using a rope or twisted towel (this activity should be supervised).

  • Climb monkey bars, ladders, or hang on pull-up bars.

  • Let your child help wash the car, windows, or outdoor toys.

  • Ride a bike or scooter.

Everyday Activities

  • Use a spray bottle to water plants.

  • Let your child get dressed and undressed by himself.

  • Carry shopping bags.

  • Teach them to cook or bake and let them mix, sift, knead, and use a rolling pin and cookie cutters.

  • Squeeze juice from an orange or lemon.

  • Use a kid-friendly knife and fork to cut up food at meal times. Start with easier-to-cut food and gradually build up to tougher food.

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