Ever have an arm wrestle? or pulled in a "tug of war"? or have you tried indoor rock climbing?
These activities all require a significant amount of upper body, hand and finger strength. We might not all win arm wrestles ... but we all require adequate strength in our arms, hands and fingers to perform daily activities.
Children need adequate hand and finger strength to carry out their daily "jobs" such as writing, using scissors, doing up buttons and using a knife and fork. When muscles in the hands are strong, children can hold tools for longer and use them more efficiently.
If a child has weak hand muscles they may tire quickly (giving up) or swap hands (to give the other hand a turn). In using scissors, they may have difficulty opening and closing their hand adequately to cut the page or drive their scissors forward. In using a knife and fork, children with weak hand muscles may not be able to apply adequate pressure to stabilize or cut the food properly. In handwriting, children with weak hand muscles may have difficulty applying pressure to their pencils or they may not be able to write as much as others.
Some children may have poor hand and finger strength due to low muscle tone, developmental delay or a neurological condition. There are sometimes no known cause for a child's hand weakness, however medical advice should be sought if you are concerned.
Activities which help with the development of strength involve some weight bearing or resistance. They involve pushing or pulling and may also be considered "heavy work" when looking at a sensory diet. Read more about sensory diets here.
You could try the following activities to encourage the development of strength!
Upper Body Strength and Stability(hands, arms and shoulders).
Hand and Finger (Pinch) Grip Strength
For even more suggestions for building hand strength read more pincer grip ideas here! Read about heavy work for little fingers HERE!
These hand strengthening activities are a great way to get hands ready for handwriting, scissor skills and more!
Does your child struggle with the strength needed to carry out daily "jobs"? Are they constantly "swapping hands"? What is your favourite way to help develop hand strength?
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Hi, I'm Cindy and I am an Occupational Therapist. I enjoy working creatively with children to see them reach their potential. Read more about me here.
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Disclaimer: The information on this site is general in nature and should be used for educational and entertainment purposes. The activities are safe for most children, however, you should consult an Occupational Therapist or health professional to address specific movement, sensory or other medical conditions. This blog does not replace formal therapeutic professional advice given by a health professional or medical practitioner. Reviews and endorsements of products will only be made based on my expertise and personal opinion; and deemed worthy of such endorsement. The opinions shared in sponsored content will always be my own and not that of the advertising company or brand. Content, advertising space or posts will be clearly identified if paid, affiliated or sponsored. Affiliate links may be found throughout this website in advertising. This means that if you follow through with a purchase from these links, Your Kids OT will receive a percentage of the sale. Your Kids OT undertakes to meet the requirements of the "Social Media Policy" as published by Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Further information about this policy can be found here.
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