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Grasp & Hand Strength

Developing grip strength in children is super important for everyday functional skills.  Kids need to have adequate muscle strength to use the monkey bars, hold a writing utensil, use school supplies and get dressed.  Young children can work on improving grip strength through play and everyday activities. 

Here are some simple activities to improve grip strength and dexterity in children:

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Play dough– All of the squishing, pinching, rolling and squeezing help to strengthen all the muscles in the fingers and hands.  

Stress Balls – Make a stress ball to keep those fingers busy with a fidget to help a student focus.  The child can fidget and increase grip strength at the same time.  Find out how to make a stress ball here.

Water Squeeze – Squeeze water out of washcloths or sponges.

Slime – Kids are super crazy about slime right now.  All the stirring, mixing and kneading slime helps to strengthen the muscles in the hands.

Tug of War – Play tug of war with a small dish towel encouraging the child to hold on tight while you pull the cloth.

Cooking – Children can help with kneading bread dough, using a garlic press, rolling out cookie dough, peeling vegetables and more.  All of these common chores help to increase grip strength.

Outside Play – Dig in the dirt, shovel sand, build a castle, climb a tree, use monkey bars – all of these tasks give the hand a great workout!

Water spray bottles – This is a fun activity and is great for strengthening hand muscles. Your child could help water plants, or add a spray bottle at bath time.

Paper Crumpling – Have your child crumple up sheets of newspaper or scrap paper into the smallest, tightest ball they can manage. As their hand strength increases, make it a challenge by having your child crumple the paper with just one hand at a time. Aim and shoot into the recycling bin when they are finished.

Scissor cutting – Give your child plenty of opportunities to cut out lines or shapes. Try cutting against resistance, such as thicker paper, play dough or putty. Making cards or scrapbooks is a fun way to incorporate scissor cutting.