Finger and hand strength is essential and needed for children to perform daily activities, like climbing monkey bars, zipping or buttoning up their clothes, or cutting up their food. It’s also needed for endurance so that he or she can perform activities like handwriting.
Your child’s pencil grasp can be influenced by a number of factors. Things like neuro-muscular disorders or birth injuries can impact your child’s pencil grasp. Your child could also just have weak hands.
Either way, these 5 finger activities listed below can help increase your child’s tripod fingers skill and dexterity, as well as ultimately improve their handwriting and pencil control.
1. Use Fine Motor Activities
You can sit your child down and have them work on their fine motor activities such as drawing, doing crafts, building with blocks, or playing with play dough.
2. Work on Vertical & Slanted Surfaces
Help with appropriate grasp and wrist alignment by having your child draw on slanted or vertical surfaces like chalkboards, easels, or 3-ring binders.
3. Pop Bubble Wrap
We’ve all played with bubble wrap at one point in our lives. It’s fun, easy to do, but very effective for this purpose. Have your child use his tripod fingers as he pops the bubbles.
4. Flick Marbles
Have your child begin by flicking a marble across a floor or table using a thumb-finger flick where her middle or index finger nail is pressed against the pad of her thumb. Next, have him use other fingers and switch hands. You can also use cotton wool balls or ping pong balls if the marbles are too small or heavy for her.
5. Perform the Finger Ball Walk
During this activity ensure your child is not using their tripod fingers as they walk a ball up and down their leg. Make sure she is not making hand grabbing movements instead of walking movements using their fingers. The type and size of ball can be switched up and you can even have your child use her index fingers and thumb to walk the ball if they have a ‘lazy thumb.’
All of these activities are effective in helping your child increase his or her hand and finger strength, improve her grasp, and perform everyday tasks. If you need more ideas, you can consult with your child’s pediatric occupational therapist.