Creative Activities for Strengthening Hand Muscles

Hand muscles are very important to accomplish daily activities. Therapists often observe that most children that they work with have weak hand muscles. Children who have weak hand muscles can struggle with daily activities. To help strengthen these muscles, it is important for children to complete tasks to help strengthen their hand muscles. These activities do not have to be boring; they can be really fun and creative!

Children are not the only ones who may have weak hand muscles, adults can also have weak hands. Therefore, making it important for both children and adults to complete everyday tasks. These tasks can involve using fine motor skills which allow for coordination, movement, and strength in our hands.

Children use their fine motor skills while holding a pencil, using scissors, tearing paper, tying shoes, zippering up jackets, and many other daily activities.

Working on hand strengthening activities are important for children to work on while they are young, so they do not struggle with daily activities when they are functioning adults.

It's also important to keep in mind that your child’s hand muscles do not get better in one session, they need multiple sessions to see progress. It is all about REPETITION.

Here are some different types of creative activities that I found for strengthening hand muscles:

Squeezing Activities

Theraputty or playdough: Your child can squish, pinch, roll, squeeze, or smush when playing with Theraputty or playdough which is great to build up strength for hand muscles.

My children love Crazy Aarons THINKING PUTTY. There are so many fun and unique versions. There is magnetic putty, glow in the dark putty, hyper color putty that changes color when played with, outer space putty and so many more!

Both putty and playdough are perfect for hiding small objects, such as coins or beads, then make your child find them and pull them out. Rolling the playdough into a snake and then cutting it with scissors is a great way to work on using fine motor skills and visual skills. Playing with Theraputty and playdough is great for hand-eye coordination, building up hand muscles, and working on play.

  • Stress balls are great to use anywhere! Your child can use them while at home, watching TV, sitting in the car, or in school with permission from their teacher, etc. Continuouslysqueezing the stress ball will help strengthen hand muscles. Repetition is key for this fun activity!
  • Clothespins are the perfect tools to use when trying to build up the small muscles in your child’s fingers and hands. There are endless ways to use clothespins! One of my favorite games when playing with clothespins would be the Honey Bee Counting Game. To learn more about this game, you can click on this link - https://www.theottoolbox.com/honey-bee-games-and-activities-inspired.
  • Cutting with scissors against any resistance, such as thick construction paper or cardboard, is the perfect way to strengthen hand muscles, hand-eye coordination, and visual skills. You can make this activity fun by coming up with creative crafts.

PUSH AND PULLING TOYS AND ACTIVITIES

  • Legos or Duplo Blocks are amazing to develop grasp strength! Legos are perfect for older children making it a more challenging task than the Duplo Blocks which are better for toddlers.
  • Velcro: Playing with Velcro is a fun way to strengthen hand muscles. It might be challenging at first to play with, but once your child gets the hang of it, they will be a pro! There are many fun Velcro fine motor tasks that Laly Mom shares on her website which can be found here, https://lalymom.com/ten-diy-velcro-fine-motor-activities-toddlers.
  • Squigz: These fun little rubber toys can stick to windows, doors, or even the wall to help strengthen hand muscles. They are very hard to pull off once placed on a surface. This is the perfect exercise to strengthen fingers, hands, and arms! Once your child is playing with them, they will forget that they are doing work, that’s how much fun it is!

WEIGHT BEARING ACTIVITIES

  • Animal walks, such as bear walks and donkey kicks, can help a child put all of their weight on their arms and shoulders to strengthen their hand muscles.
  • Wheelbarrow walks: This activity can be done with a friend or an exercise ball. Try having your child place their hands on the floor while someone else holds their feet.
  • Yoga poses: There are many easy yoga poses your child can do to strengthen up their hand muscles. Poses like downwards and handstands are the perfect poses to try! Here is a great source to look at for more yoga poses. https://www.yogajournal.com/teach/yoga-for-kids
  • Playing on all fours: Playing board games in a crawling position can really help strengthen a child’s upper body strength.

Here is a great source that I found to get more information on weight-bearing activities.

If you want more information on how to strengthen your child’s hand muscles, here are some websites I found with a lot of educational information.

There are so many more fun and creative activities to help strengthen your child’s hand muscles. Remember, it will take a while to see some progress, but with practice every week your child will get better! Consistency is key!

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