16 Hand Strengthening Activities For Kids

Baby girl playing with modeling clay
Table of Contents

Does your kid tire easily after using their hands for daily activities? Do they struggle while tying their shoes, using zippers, or using a pencil? If these problems sound familiar, then it might be time to try hand strengthening activities.

Some kids have weak hands due to their age, less developed hand muscles, or low muscle tone.

Most children will develop their finger strength over time as they get older. In some cases, children have the potential for good hand strength, but long hours on keyboards or playing video games may reduce the exposure to opportunities to develop their hand strength.

16 Hand Strengthening Activities For Kids

Legos.

There are many fun activities that you can get your child to do to help them Strengthen Hand Muscles. The best way to strengthen our muscles is by practicing these activities regularly.

Let’s break down these 16 Hand Strengthening Activities:

Playdough

One of the best ways to help kids develop their hand muscles is by playing with playdough. It may seem like a simple activity but it requires a lot of fine motor skills to roll, pinch and mold the dough. This helps to develop good muscle control and coordination.

Popping Bubble Wrap

This is a fun activity that requires kids to use their fingers to pop the bubbles. It’s a great way to develop hand muscles and improve dexterity. You can try this with different-sized bubble wrap to make it more challenging.

Using Tongs and Tweezers

Picking up small objects using tongs or tweezers is a great way to improve hand muscles. This activity requires a lot of control and coordination. You can start with larger objects and then progress to smaller ones.

This is an easy activity to incorporate into a family’s daily life. During mealtimes, you can get your child to serve food to everyone else using tongs.

Using Spray Bottles

This activity is great if you are trying to work on your child’s muscles in the fingers and hands. It requires kids to squeeze the bottle tightly to get the water to come out in a stream.

You can get them to spray to water the plants or to spray water to wipe the benches and windows.

Adding food coloring into the spray bottles can make it more fun and allow your child to create spray artwork on the concrete, fence, or paper.

Putty

Playing with putty is a great way to strengthen the muscles in your hands. It is similar to playing with playdough, however, putty may be more suitable for older children as you can have different putty toughness.

There are many activities that you can do with putty.

You can start by rolling the clay into a ball. Then, grip the ball tightly with your fingers and thumb and squeeze as hard as you can. This will help you to work your hand and finger muscles.

You can hide small beads or buttons in the putty and get your child to find them. This also works on finger dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Modeling Clay

Modeling clay is a fun activity for creative children. It requires good hand muscles to roll, pinch and mold the clay into different shapes.

There are many things that you can make with modeling clay. You can start with simple shapes such as balls, snakes, and flowers. Once your child has mastered those, you can move on to more challenging shapes such as animals and people.

Origami

red and white paper plane

Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. It is a great activity to help improve hand muscles and dexterity.

There are many different origami designs that you can try. Start with simple designs and then progress to more complicated ones.

You will need some origami paper which you can buy from a craft store. Alternatively, you can use colored paper and cut them into a square shape.

Beading

Stringing beads is a great way to improve hand muscles, fine motor skills, and eye-hand coordination. It also helps to develop patience and concentration. You can start with larger beads and then progress to smaller ones.

You can create bracelets or necklaces. For those children who are learning how to spell words, you can get letter beads and encourage them to make a sentence with the beads.

Cooking or Baking

boy in gray long sleeve shirt drinking from bottle

Cooking and baking are great activities for kids to do to work on their hand muscles. Kneading, pouring, and mixing all require the use of small muscles in the hands. These activities also help to develop fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination.

Pushing a Wheelbarrow

Another effective activity to work on hand muscles is pushing a wheelbarrow. This activity requires a lot of coordination and strength. It’s also great for developing gross motor skills.

In this activity, your child has to hold on to the handles of the wheelbarrow and then use their legs to push it along.

Climbing

person in white tank top rock climbing

The next activity that helps in strengthening hands is climbing. It requires a lot of grip strength and coordination. It’s also great for developing gross motor skills.

If you don’t have a climbing frame, you can try climbing trees or go to the local playground. There are often lots of ladders and climbing walls at the playground.

Hanging

Hanging from a bar develops grip strength and is great for toning the muscles in your arms and shoulders.

To do this, your child has to grip the bar with their hands and then hang from it.

Monkey bars or flying foxes are great activities on playground equipment to practice hanging.

Crumbling Paper

If you are trying to make your child do something different, then you can try this activity. In this, your child has to grip a sheet of paper and then crumble it into a ball. This activity requires a lot of hand strength and is great for developing fine motor skills.

After they have crumbled the paper into a ball, you can get them to throw the paper ball into a basket or bin. You can make this into a game and slowly move the goal further away to make it more challenging.

Tearing Activities

Give your child some paper and let them tear it into pieces. They can tear them into small pieces or long strips. They can then use them to make a collage or a sculpture.

The activity involves a lot of hand bilateral movements and is great for developing finger muscles.

Clothespin Pinching Activities

Pinching activities can work wonders when it comes to developing the muscles in your fingers and hands. Clothespins are a great way to practice pinching.

Whether you are getting your child to hang up artwork or socks using a clothespin, it encourages them to pinch the ends of the clothespin, which strengthens their finger muscles.

Puppet Show

Girl at home playing puppet theater

This is a great activity for kids to do to work on their hand and finger muscles. In this activity, they have to use their fingers to control the puppets.

You can make the puppets out of paper or cloth. Alternatively, you can buy them from a toy store.

Encourage your child to create a puppet show with different characters and a storyline.

To make it easier, children can use one puppet per hand. However, as they become better with their fine motor skills, then encourage them to add more puppets to the other fingers.

These are just a few of the many exercises that can help to strengthen your child’s hands. By incorporating regular exercises into your daily routine, you can improve your overall hand strength and dexterity. In turn, this will lead to better coordination, self-esteem, and confidence in all their activities.

What is Hand Strength?

Hand strength is the amount of force your hands can exert on an object. It is dependent on the muscles inside your hands.

Hand strength is important for many everyday activities such as opening a jar, writing, and using scissors.

There are two types of hand muscles: intrinsic and extrinsic. The intrinsic muscles are the ones within your hand that allow you to move your fingers.

The extrinsic muscles are located in your forearm and upper arm and they control the position of your wrist and hand.

What Causes Weak Hands?

Child using a smartphone

There are many things that can cause weak or underdeveloped hands. In some cases, it’s due to a neuromuscular disorder such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. It can also be caused by an accident or injury during childhood.

In other cases, the problem is not due to an underlying medical condition but simply a result of underuse. This is often seen in kids who spend long hours playing video games or using computers. The muscles in their hands and fingers don’t get the opportunity to develop properly.

How Do You Know If Your Kid Has Weak Hands?

There are a few signs that your child might have weak hands. These include:

  • Tiring quickly when using their hands for activities such as writing or drawing
  • Struggling to do things that require a child’s fine motor skills such as using buttons or zippers
  • Having difficulty holding onto small objects

Some other signs include:

  • An aching or throbbing feeling in the hands after using them for activities
  • Cramping in the hands or fingers
  • Pain in the wrists, elbows, or shoulders

If you’re concerned that your child might have weak hand muscles, talk to their doctor. They can perform a series of tests to check for underlying medical conditions. They may also refer your child to see an Occupational Therapist who will give you recommendations for strengthening exercises.

There are many hand strengthening activities that can help kids develop good muscle strength and coordination. These include finger stretches, squeezing a ball, playing with putty, and other fun and easy games.

Why is Hand Strength Important?

Good hand strength is important for many activities that kids need to do on a daily basis. These include writing, using scissors, and doing up buttons.

Weak hand muscles can lead to problems such as poor handwriting, difficulty using scissors, and fatigue when participating in sports. In some cases, it can also cause emotional difficulties such as low self-esteem or social anxiety.

Some other benefits of hand strength include:

Improved hand-eye coordination

Good hand strength can help improve coordination between what the eyes see and the hands do. This is important for activities such as catching a ball, using a fork and knife, and writing.

Better dexterity and fine motor activities

With greater hand strength comes improved dexterity. This means being able to perform activities that require a high level of coordination and control such as using a computer mouse, playing the piano, or doing up a zipper.

Increased confidence and self-esteem

Self-esteem and confidence can be improved when kids feel good about their ability to perform activities using their hands. This is especially true for activities that were once difficult or impossible to do. Your kid can now participate in activities with their peers and feel good about themselves.

Conclusion

Hand strengthening is so important for your child’s fine motor development and their ability to perform everyday activities.

Regular practice of fine motor activities can improve your child’s hand and finger strength and reduce fine motor delays.

All these ideas mentioned above can help improve your child’s hand strength.

If you are still concerned about your child’s fine motor development, seek additional support from an occupational therapist. Occupational therapists can do an assessment with your child and provide additional occupational therapy fun ideas to help your child.

References

Greutman, H. (2020, July 24). Hand strengthening activities for children. Growing Hands-On Kids. Retrieved May 4, 2022, from https://www.growinghandsonkids.com/hand-strengthening-activities-for-children.html

Hand exercises for kids – strengthen weak hands! OT Mom Learning Activities. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2022, from https://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/hand-exercises-for-kids.html

Hand strengthening activities for Kids. Your Therapy Source. (2022, January 31). Retrieved May 4, 2022, from https://www.yourtherapysource.com/blog1/2019/08/15/hand-strengthening/

Top 5 hand strengthening exercises for stronger hands. Virtual Hand Care. (2020, March 27). Retrieved May 4, 2022, from https://virtualhandcare.com/hand-strengthening-exercises-for-stronger-hands/

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