Hand Gym Exercises for Children

Updated November 21, 2016

Hand exercises for children are important because the improve dexterity, fine motor skills and strength. Some hand exercises can also improve a child's hand-eye coordination. Children can benefit from supervised hand exercises, as well as informal play. Additionally, hand exercises can help children with a wide variety of physical conditions including children with occupational therapy issues or paralysis. Some exercises need little equipment and most can be performed virtually anywhere.

Pick Up Clips

This exercise can be performed with almost any small item. Paper clips, coins, and even thin sticks are perfect. Dump the contents on the floor or large table and encourage children to pick up the items one at a time using their thumb and index finger in a pincer grip. This will improve dexterity and coordination. If this seems boring to the children, perform the activity as a game by letting them play in a group. Challenge them not to move any other pieces while they pick one item up.

Ball Squeeze

This exercise can be modified based on the strength of the child. Rubber balls have different densities. Use balls that can comfortably fit in a child's hand, approximately the size of a tennis ball. A very weak child can even squeeze a sponge ball. Squeezing balls can promote hand strength and can be done at intervals throughout the day. Balls can also be used to enhance strength in particular fingers by gradually removing a finger while holding the ball. This will force the remaining fingers to work harder to grasp the ball

Play Catch

Playing catch promotes hand-eye coordination and wrist manipulation. Many games involve catching a ball which will enhance their wrist agility for sports. Newcomb, a volleyball-like game that requires players to catch the ball and throw it across the volleyball net instead of tapping it, promotes wrist agility. Baseball also facilitates fine motor skills and will help children enjoy and become more proficient at sports requiring wrist movement. Both games can be enjoyed at a camp, beach or school.

Climbing Activities

Obstacle courses can provide an enjoyable way for children to improve their hand muscles. Climbing over and under items requires wrist manipulation and finger dexterity. Pulling the body over high mats requires strength and gripping skills. Rope or rock climbing can also improve hand strength and coordination.

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