Friday, January 16, 2015

10 Activities to Work on Hand Strength from an Occupational Therapist!

Hand strength is a big component of most fine motor tasks. Using crayons and pencils with an appropriate grasp, using scissors, opening lunch containers and fastening clothes. All of these tasks require good hand strength to master and maintain. Many kids come to Occupational Therapy with weak hands, which effect their everyday functioning. This week, YourTherapySource Blog created a list for 10 easy activities to increase hand strength (and I've used variations of many of these ideas in session myself). Many of these ideas can be implemented with things you may already have, like clothespins, tongs and those pesky rainbow loom bands.

Below are the 10 activities for hand strengthening:

1. Using craft sticks and clothespins - work on hand strength (and other academic activities such as counting) but placing clothespins along craft sticks. Work on different pinches with this same task, i.e. 3 point pinch, 2 point pinch, lateral pinch, etc.

2. Clothesline Numbers - print out the free template, use small clothespins and clip the correct number of pins to each card.

3. Clay Marble Mazes - place dough on a flat surface, use a pencil to trace a path (could do prewriting shapes, numbers or letters as well for practice), have the child press a marble into the clay and trace the shape to create a path. I adapted this from the recommended activity to work specifically on hand strength. The activity suggested works more on bilateral hand skills, but still a fantastic activity.

4. Hole Punch Palooza Pages - print out the free template and use a single hole puncher to punch holes in the correct shapes or on the corresponding lines.

5. Hand Strengthening Activities in the Kitchen - this activity has several ideas using common kitchen items. Use tongs to pick up and transfer small sponge pieces, use a garlic press to squish the water out of sponges and use a juicer (the hand kind, not electronic) to squeeze water out of the sponges.

6. Ideas for Loom Bands - this activity also links to several ideas, including simple geoboard designs and a mini hand exerciser. Visit the blog for more ideas.

7. Bubble Wrap Story Time - print out the free template and tape a section of large bubble wrap over top. Tell a story and have your child pop the bubble over top of the picture that corresponds with the story.

8. Water Squirt Race - use squirt bottles to move various items across a designated area as a race. Items could include balloons, puffballs or cotton balls!

9. Spray Shapes and Patterns - use a spray bottle and fun foam to stick shapes to a wall. Works best with a white board or mirror.

10. Hatching Bird Clothespin Activity - use a clothespin and a bird and egg cut out. Cut the egg in the middle and connect one piece to each side of the clothespin. When the child squeezes the clothespin, the egg will "crack" and inside will be a bird!

 For the free templates and further instructions on these hand strengthening activities, visit's blog here.


Shelly is super excited for the three-day weekend. It's been a long two weeks since winter break.

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