Hand strength! What’s all the fuss about?

Our hands, fingers and thumbs are kept busy doing all the things we need and want to do in a day. Coordinated fine motor skills are required to complete tasks such as writing and coloring, managing buttons and snaps, and feeding oneself. An important foundational skill for coordinated fine motor skills, and to be successful with these skills, is good strength in our hands, fingers, and thumbs!

One of our favorite research studies looked at the correlation between fine motor skills and hand strength. In 2015, a group of school aged children were divided into two groups, one group was of children who were neurotypical and one group was of children diagnosed with autism.  For both groups, the children who had strong hands demonstrated better control of a pencil while writing when compared to children whose hands were not strong. Writing legibly and having strong hands was associated for children who were neurotypical. For both groups of children, an increase in hand strength correlated with an increase in independence with their self care skills! Strong hands and fingers support everything that our children need and want to do. Increasing strength in your child’s hands might be a quick and effective way to support their fine motor development. Ask your child’s OT for ideas to strengthen their hands today!

Alaniz, M.L., Galit, E., Necesito, C. I., & Rosario, E. R. (2015). Hand Strength, handwriting, and functional skills in children with autism. Am J Occup Ther, 69(4), 6904220030p1–6904220030p9. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.016022

Hand strength ideas

Interested in strengthening your child’s fingers and hands? There are many fun, engaging ways this can be done. Playing with clay, legos, or connecting beads are great options. Tearing up recyclable papers by hand, doing donkey kicks, climbing, and wheelbarrow walks will all add  strength to your child’s hands as well. Here is one fun craft your child can try, making Duct tape flowers! Pulling the tape will strengthen their fingers and hands and when done, they have a cool homemade gift for a loved one! Enjoy!

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