Separation of the Sides of the Hand Activity | The OT Toolbox

Separation of the Sides of the Hand Activity

This simple activity is one that is designed to promote separation of the two sides of the hand.  This is a skill that is necessary for so many tasks!  From holding a pencil to cutting with scissors, to zippering a zipper, motoric separation of the two sides of the hand is an essential skill when it comes to fine motor skills

Separation of the sides of the hand activity for kids

Separation of the sides of the hand activity for helping kids improve fine motor skills needed for many functional tasks like fastening buttons or holding a pencil

This activity is one that kids will love.  The use of small sponge pieces promotes a tactile reminder to squeeze the individual fingers down into the palm, separating the ulnar side of the hand from the radial side.  

When kids write with a pencil, they need to hold and move the pencil with the thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger.  This precision side of the hand is used for fine motor movements and dexterity. 

Try this DIY Pick-Up Stick Activity to work on Precision Skills.

When writing, we use the power side of the hand, or the strength side of the hand to stabilize the hand during it's motions. 

Try this Fine Motor Craft to work on Gross Motor Grasp Skills.

This Separation of the sides of the hand activity is fun when working on precision of grasp and strength of gross grasp skills needed for tasks like handwriting and holding a pencil.


Activity to Improve Motoric Separation of the Two Sides of the Hand


This activity is such a fun one for kids!  You'll need just one material (and it can be used over and over again.)

(Affiliate links are included in this post.)

We used a kitchen sponge and cut it into small squares.  We used two different colored sponges, but you could use the same sponge and the same color squares. 

Simply cut the kitchen sponge into 1 inch x 1 inch pieces.  Next, wet the sponges.  Place one sponge square into the palm of the child's hand.  Ask them to close their pinkie finger and ring finger around the sponge to hold it in place.  The sponge should not hold enough water so that it drips down the palm of the hand and wrist.  

For kids that need more cues to hold the ulnar side of the hand with closed fingers, you can add more water to the sponge.  When they squeeze the sponge down with the ring and pinkie fingers, the water will drip out of the sponge.

Next, use another sponge square in the remaining fingers (middle and pointer fingers and thumb).  The child can squeeze the sponge to remove water with just the precision fingers.  

To make this activity more difficult, add water to just one sponge while keeping the other sponge dry.  Then, ask them to squeeze the water from the wet sponge with the appropriate fingers.  This REALLY draws attention to the separation of the two sides of the hand!

Other ways to play with this activity while addressing separation of the sides of the hand:
  • Use a wet sponge to draw letters, numbers, or words on a large chalkboard.  
  • Draw with chalk on a sidewalk and then erase it with a wet sponge.
  • Water seedlings by squeezing water from the sponge.
  • Drip water designs on colored paper.
For more precision and gross motor grasp development, try this precision building activity to separate the two sides of the hand.








Working on Handwriting?