Wrist Exercises for Kids

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These simple wrist exercises for kids can help stretch and strengthen the wrist muscles and help your child use a good wrist-extended position when writing. 

In turn, this may help improve your child’s fine motor skills and have a positive effect on handwriting.

For your convenience, I have looked for products on Amazon (marked #Ad) that are similar to ones I have used. I will earn a small commission if you purchase something through my links, which helps to support my free website.

Wrist Stretching Exercises

If your child has had a poor wrist position for a while, some of the wrist muscles may be slightly shortened and tight. You will need to help your child with some wrist stretching exercises. Try some of these:

Restaurant Games

Playing a restaurant game will give your child a chance to carry a tray on an outstretched hand.

Use a toy tray and toy cups#Ad and have your child serve you "tea"!

Start with very lightweight toys and gradually increase the weight as your child’s wrist strengthens and the muscles stretch – for example filling the cups with water, or adding a light book to the tray.

wrist stretching activity for kids

Gross Motor Exercises

Try some fun gross motor exercises such as pushing games or crab walking that stretch the wrist muscles automatically (see my page of shoulder exercises for kids to see the different pushing games).

crab walk can stretch wrist muscles

As a bonus, strengthening the shoulder muscles with these games will also enable your child to use the hand and finger muscles more effectively.

Crawling / Creeping

Crawling / creeping is a great activity to help strengthen shoulder muscles, develop bilateral coordination, and as a bonus, it can help  stretch out tight wrist muscles!

Have your child crawl (or creep, if you are in the US!) under chairs, through a tunnel, or simply chase you across the grass on all fours!

crawling/creeping helps children extend their wrists naturally

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Using a Vertical Surface

Using a vertical surface can help your child develop a good extended wrist position.

These activity ideas are easy to incorporate into a child's day! Whenever coloring or drawing needs to be done, stick the paper to a wall, blackboard, door or other smooth vertical surface.

Here are some photos of activities on a vertical surface that work as great wrist exercises for kids:

rubbing plates are fun for kids to use and can help with fine motor skillspracticing writing patterns on a vertical surface
painting on a vertical surface to achieve wrist extensionpainting on a vertical surface
coloring a picture on a vertical surface to achieve wrist extensioncoloring a picture before cutting out
rubbing a flat crayon on a vertical surface to achieve wrist extensionrubbing a flat crayon all over a picture
using rubbing plates on a vertical surface to achieve wrist extensionusing rubbing plates on a vertical surface
stamping paperr on a vertical surface to achieve wrist extensionusing stamps on a vertical surface

Important: Always check your child's position - if the elbow is held out to the side or if the hand is in line with the elbow, your child won't get good wrist extension - see the pictures below!

a poor position of the wrist and elbow when working on a vertical surfaceElbow held out to the side - wrist is flat and not extended
a good position of the wrist and elbow when working on a vertical surfaceElbow held below hand - much better wrist extension!

Working on a vertical surface also has a LOT of other benefits, such as strengthening upper body strength, increasing endurance and developing bilateral coordination. So it is worth incorporating these wrist exercises for kids into your child's routine!

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Using Toys & Games

Some toys naturally lend themselves to needing an extended wrist for playing. Look at the photos below to see how the wrist naturally extends when the hand is resting on the floor and the fingers are used to play the games.

This is not usually the natural position that kids use, so they may need some encouragement to rest their wrists on the floor while their fingers play the games.

wrist extension game for kidscrocodile dentist
playing leap frog game for wrist extensionleap frog
playing a flicking game for wrist extensionfinger skittles

You should be able to find Crocodile Dentist#Ad or Leap Frog#Ad games on Amazon, or at your local toy department.

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Resources for Wrist Exercises for Kids

Rubbing Plates

Amazon stock a few rubbing plates#Ad like the ones I use. Stick them on the vertical surface with sticky putty (Plasti-Tak) and then stick the paper over the top.

Have your child rub over them using a crayon held on its side so the flat edge of the crayon brings out the picture or pattern.

using a flat crayon on a rubbing plate on a vertical surface for wrist extensionUsing a flat crayon over a rubbing plate


You can also find a range of whiteboards#Ad and easels#Ad at Amazon, to give your child a good vertical surface to work on.

Slanted Boards

Some children benefit from working on a slanted surface, which helps get the wrist and hand into a more functional position. You can try a slanted board from Amazon#Ad or you can turn a ring binder file sideways and use a clip to hold the paper.

Fine Motor Activities Download

My Fine Motor E-book contains a host of fine motor information and activities, including these wrist exercises for kids - check it out!

printable fine motor resource for parents and teachers!

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