Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Hi Leah,

Can you share some activity ideas that I could do with my daughter who needs help strengthening her fine motor skills (specifically her fingers so that she can write in the correct form)?

Simple crayons can be used in so many ways for this. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Color With Cracked Crayons

One easy activity is to allow your daughter to have fun coloring with cracked or broken crayons. This can be done anywhere but it’s especially fun to do while sitting inside a cardboard box. How fun!

2. Kneel and Draw With Crayons

One activity that I use all the time with kids is having the child sit in a tall kneeling position while they color on the wall. The child uses their three digits (fingers) while coloring, nicely demonstrating the grasp pattern. In addition, this position works the upper extremity strength—through the shoulders, elbow, wrist and fingers.

3. Lie Down and Draw With Crayons

Another activity utilizing cracked crayons is one in which the child lies down on their back underneath a table and colors with the crayons in this position. Extending out their wrist in this way is another opportunity for the child to strengthen their upper extremity, while again using the correct grasp pattern needed for writing.

4. Melt Crayons

Depending on the age of your daughter, here’s a great one. Place crayons on a canvas and use a hairdryer to melt the crayons onto the canvas. Holding the hair dryer while moving it around further strengthens the child’s upper extremity. Having strong shoulders, wrists and hands creates strong writers. I always remind parents that doing activities like these are both fun and helpful in strengthening fine motor movement; it’s a win-win!

5. Wheelbarrow Walk

You can hold your daughter’s feet and have her walk on her hands. This strengthens the fingers, hands, wrists and elbows, as well as the upper extremity. This is a weight-bearing activity that adds strength to the whole upper extremity.

Leah Gross, OTR/L, is the founder and director of occupational therapy at The Therapy Place. The Therapy Place offers occupational and speech therapy services throughout New Jersey, and prides itself for being convenient, effective and affordable. Along with experienced and dedicated therapists, Leah strives to guide children on their path toward personal success.

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