Activities to promote hand and finger strength
Hand and finger strength is the ability to grip something tightly and is required for many everyday activities such as doing up buttons and zips, handwriting, drawing, and picking up things, making it so important! Kids need to have appropriate finger strength for them to have the confidence to play, write, draw and achieve other classroom activities. Children who lack hand strength will often struggle with handwriting, scissor skills, or opening containers. Children who have challenges with these activities may feel frustrated or upset, affecting their self-esteem and confidence. Their frustration may impact their behaviour.
Like other muscles in the body, hand strength improves with practice. Often it can be challenging to motivate kids to work on developing their hand strength. Thankfully, there are plenty of playful and fun hand-strengthening activities for kids to work with them and help them develop stronger hands!
Here are our top 10 activities to help develop hand and finger strength
- Playdoh activities: Playdoh is a very motivating tool to build hand strength. It allows kids to practice smooshing, squeezing, pinching and rolling movements. You can encourage your child to push things like coins, buttons or mini erasers into playdoh.
- Sponge and washcloth activities: Soak sponges or washcloths in water until they are completely saturated. Then, encourage kids to squeeze out all of the water from the sponge or washcloth. You can make it a game by showing them how to soak up the water in one container and then transfer it by squeezing it into another container. You can challenge your kids to see how quickly they can move the water. You can also add some food colouring to the water and practice mixing colours.
- Rubber band activities: Kids can grasp the rubber band in their hands and pull it back to stretch it out. They can stretch rubber bands around cans or pool noodles.
- Clothes peg activities: Kids can use clothes pegs to attach things together or hang something from a clothesline. You can easily incorporate clothes pegs into learning activities by using counting clip cards or rhyming clip cards. You can also use clothes pegs to race to transfer pompoms from one container to another.
- Paper tearing/crumpling activities: Provide some paper and show kids how to tear the paper in half or into tiny pieces. Then, you can use torn paper collages or torn paper art projects. Squeezing paper into balls also gives kids an opportunity to build hand strength. They find crinkling paper so much fun. It’s a sensory activity as well as hand strengthening. Fill a tub with paper and encourage kids to crumple it up to make a “paper ball sandbox.” They can make balls for a snowball fight. They can also ball up a sheet of foil.
- Spray bottle activities: Fill a spray bottle with water and let kids clean windows, toys, rocks, or produce like pumpkins or apples. Your kids can water flower seeds or plants with a spray bottle. You can also paint with spray bottles.
- Stapling activities: A stapler makes an excellent toy for kids to use, and it helps their hand strength. Kids can staple sheets of paper together, or they just add staples to construction paper shapes. Kids also feel a sense of accomplishment when they assemble little mini-books.
- Threading: Threading not only can improve fine-motor skills, it can also introduce your child to concepts like colours, patterns, shapes and counting. You need large/small wooden/plastic beads, pipe cleaners, straws, shoelaces and yarn. Let your child connect the beads by inserting them into the pipe cleaners, straws, shoelaces or yarn. Jut make sure to make a knot at the other end of the string or you can stick down one end to the table using tape to prevent the beads coming off.
- Tape pulling: Pulling tape off of the roll and/or pulling it off of various surfaces like walls, tables and floors is a great hand strengthener for kids. Grab a roll of masking tape or other colourful roll of tape and cut them to strips and stick them to a tabletop, wall or window. Let your little one peel it off, stick it back down, make patterns or create pictures.
- Bubble wrap popping: Bubble wrap comes in different sizes and is so satisfying to pop. Give your child a bubble wrap with the smallest bubbles and let them snap it using their fingers. This is great for strengthening their little fingers and you can use the larger bubble wrap to strengthen the whole hand.