How Important is Hand and Grip Strength

Hand and grip strength are important as they are required for many everyday self-help, fine and gross motor activities such as buttoning and zipping climbing, using utensils at mealtime, cutting as well as academic skills such as writing.

Utilising hand and grip strength is also a part of handwriting development such as holding the pencil and providing adequate pressure. Children with inadequate hand and grip strength may experience functional difficulties at school and in daily activities within their fine motor coordination skills.

Here are some activities that could be used at home or schools to encourage improved hand and grip strength:

Improve power grip strength:

Gross motor activities:

  • Climbing monkey bars, ladders or holding onto a swing
  • Playing tug of war
  • Riding a bike or a scooter

Fine motor activities:

  • Playing with Playdough/Theraputty
    • Constantly squeezing, rolling, moulding and pinching
    • Creating imaginative sculptures
  • Newspaper scrunch
    • Scrunch up newspapers into balls and play snowball fights or throw them into a bin or at a target
  • Legos/Duplos
    •  Improve hand strength by pushing blocks together or pulling them apart when building structures

Everyday activities

  • Squeeze sponges or wet towels while helping out with cleaning
  • Squeeze spray bottles while watering plants

Improve pincer grip strength:

Encourage your child to do these activities with their thumb and index finger (and middle finger if required).

Fine motor activities:

  • Tear up coloured paper for pasting, paper-mache or collage activities.
  • Make ten small balls from playdough or Blu-Tack and then squash the balls between your thumb and index finger. (Pretend the playdough is a bug or egg.) Repeat with the thumb and middle finger, and then with the thumb, index and middle fingers all together.
  • Use tweezers to pick up small beads, smarties or toys and put them into a container.
  • Squirt a water pistol at a target

Everyday activities:

  • Buttoning shirts
  • Zip pencil cases, bags or jackets
  • Peel an orange or mandarin
  • Using clothespin while helping out with hanging laundry

For more information about development of fine motor, please see below webpages:

Please contact any Occupational therapist at the CDC for further information.