Building hand strength



There are a number of reasons why a child might experience weakness in their hands. Weakness can be due to low muscle tone, neuro-muscular disorders and lots of other reasons. Our team of occupational therapists will often work with children to help them develop strength and coordination of the tiny little muscles in their hands.

How to develop hand strength

Children need exposure to a range of gross and fine motor activities to develop hand strength. The good news is that it’s our job to make these activities fun so that they feel just like play for your child.

Here are some of the ways that we might work with children to build hand strength using fine motor skills.

Paper crumpling

As the name suggests, crumpling paper into tiny balls as tight as possible is great for working those tiny little hand muscles. As your child’s hand strength increases the paper balls will get tighter.

Sponge scrunching

Using bath sponges or smaller sponges like the ones used for painting, children can squeeze out water into a tray.  Giant car washing sponges are also lots of fun and children can use both hands at the same time. This is a great one to do at home in the bath.

Scissor cutting

If your child is able to hold a pair of scissors we encourage lots of cutting-up fun! Scissor cutting primarily works the tripod fingers but can help the whole hand get stronger. Check out these free printable worksheets for some cutting fun:

Play clay

Who doesn’t love play clay?! Fun with play clay can be tailored to each child’s ability whether it’s just squishing the clay to feel the texture and resistance, rolling and cutting out shapes or creating 3D objects, all of these are great for hand strength.

Peg pinching

Games and activities that involve peg pinching are a great hit! There are so many uses for the humble peg, children can:

  • Pick up pom poms and colour sort them into containers or race to collect all the pom poms
  • Peg clothes onto a clothes rack that your child can reach
  • Colour match pegs, putting coloured pegs on the corresponding coloured print outs (such as a red flower, a blue car and so on) or pieces of sponge

Further information

Get further information how our team of occupational therapists support children and young people with disability throughout Brisbane, check out our Occupational Therapy page or call us on 1800 XAVIER.