Heavy work activities refer to activities where the body has input to the muscles and joints. Heavy work activities are generally recognised as a way to help children improve attention, arousal level, body awareness, muscle tone as well as decreasing defensiveness. Heavy work activities can involve whole body movements (pushing, pulling, lifting, etc) or parts of the body.
Here are some ideas for "heavy work" for fingers and do not require any equipment. These are great as finger warm-ups in the classroom, something to do in the car on the way to school or even waiting for a bus! Warming up the fingers is a good idea before they are needed for fine motor activities or tool use in the classroom.
1. Fingers push - Place each finger tip of the left hand with the matching finger tips of the right hand. Push fingers together. Do this in front, up high or even behind your back!
2. "Thumb Wars" - Get a friend to play this one. Make a fist with your right hand, lock your fingers with your friend and leave your thumbs free. Move your thumbs to opposite sides saying "I, 2, 3, 4, I declare a thumb war". Touch thumbs and try and "pin down" your friend's thumb. Don't let go of the fist hold...and maybe start with short nails!
3. Finger tip touch - Touch each finger to your thumb of one hand then the other hand. Try both hands at the same time. Try really fast and really slow. Try pressing really hard against your thumb.
4. Pinch n Pull - With one hand pinch your thumb and index finger together making a circle. Do the same with the other hand but lock the circle together with the first hand. Pull! Try this with each finger making a circle.
5. Piano Press - Curl your fingers with the tips touching the table (or your lap). "Play" the piano... a slow piece, a dramatic piece, all fingers together, one at a time... press down into the table as you play (try not to hyperextend at the joints). You could even print out a paper keyboard to aid this finger game or sing-a-long to your favourite songs.
6. Dancing Fingers - There was a "Playschool" song called "One day a hand went walking"... This reminds me of that song. Stand your index fingers and third fingers up onto a table top. They can walk, jump, run and even dance. Fingers could also cross the mid-line and come back again. A friend of mine gets her fingers to do the "can can" with coordinated bending and kicking...
This article is the first in a series. Stay tune for more finger warm ups with some easy homemade props, finger friendly songs for toddlers and preschoolers as well as fine motor activities for older kids! These finger exercises are great for any age and the best thing is that they require no equipment and no preparation!
Find "Heavy Work for Little Fingers" as a one page hand out in theYKOT shop!
Also available from ourTPT store!
Do you have a favourite finger "warm up"?
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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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