Hand Exercises For Kids

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The aim of these hand exercises for kids is to help your child develop strength and coordination of the hand muscles.

Some children have weak hands owing to lower-than-normal muscle tone, birth injuries or neuro-muscular disorders, among other reasons.

Other children have the potential for normal hand strength, but have spent too much time playing with electronic gadgets and keyboards.

Children need exposure to a variety of gross and fine motor activities to develop good hand strength.

So, try these hand strengthening exercises to help your child!

If your child has any medical or physical condition, please check with your therapist or health professional before commencing with these exercises.

Just click on the quick links below to see the activities on this page:

General Hand Exercises

1) Paper Crumpling

Have your child crumple up sheets of newspaper or scrap paper into the smallest, tightest ball they can manage.

As their hand strength increases, so the ball will get tighter.

Upgrade the activity to have your child crumple the paper with just one hand at a time.

Please make sure your child cleans the hands thoroughly afterwards as newspaper ink can be harmful.

2) Squeezing Sponges

This sponge is on that was being used for sponge painting, but you can also let your child squeeze bath sponges, washing up sponges, or sponge balls.

A lovely bath-time activity!

3) Water Spray Bottles

These give hours of endless fun while strengthening hand muscles.

Have your child water the plants, spray an outside wall, or add a spray bottle to bath time fun!

4) Scissor Cutting

If your child is able to handle a pair of scissors, give your child lots of opportunities to practice scissor cutting.

Although scissor cutting primarily works the tripod fingers, the whole hand benefits and strengthens from cutting out.

Start with cutting on straight lines before progressing to shapes and pictures.

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Playdough Hand Exercises

Playdough is a great medium for strengthening little hands!

Try making these dinosaur footprints (well, we thought they looked like dinosaur footprints anyway!!) to strengthen the muscles on the back of the hand as well as the inner muscles of the palm.

Here's how:

1) Put the fingers and thumb together in the center of a blob of playdough.
2) Slowly stretch the fingers and thumb apart. The end result looks like a footprint!
3) After stretching out all the blobs, have your child squish each footprint back into a blob.
4) Using one hand makes the muscles work harder.

Ideally, have each hand make its own set of footprints and crumple them up again, but if the weakness is on one side only, then use just the weak hand.

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Gross Motor Activities

Any gross motor activity which requires the hands to grasp and hold tight, can help to strengthen hand muscles.

The grasp and release movements used for climbing and pulling are easier than long periods of sustained holding - so use those until your child's hands are stronger.

So take your child to a park, and encourage lots of climbing!

The shoulder and core muscles will also get a good workout, which is one of the essential bases for fine motor development.

Climb a climbing wall!
Climb a jungle gym!
Climb a tree!
Pull up on a rope!

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As Your Child Improves

As your child's hand strength improves, increase the challenge by trying some of these other fine motor ideas:

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