Pinching and crumbling paper is an excellent fine motor exercise for children. It is an activity that works the small muscles of the hand and really strengthens the arches of the hands. If a child has weak muscles in their hands and the arches are not defined, you may see them holding a pencil or small items between their thumb and the side of their index finger. The arches of their hand may not be defined and nice and round. You may also see them holding their hands close to their chest as they attempt to gain stabilization of their arms to do the small motor task.
To really work those muscles, you could have your child first tear the bits of tissue paper before they crumble them up.
Defined arches are very important in shoe tying, handwriting, and managing clothing like buttons and snaps.
This was an easy and fun little activity to throw together.
We have a bunch of little tissue paper squares in our craft supplies. Put them next to a couple of empty plastic bottles, and the kids know what to do!
Pushing the tissue paper into the spout of the water bottle is great for encouraging a tripod grasp (using the thumb, index, and middle finger).
Holding the bottle with the non-dominant hand allows the child to work on their bilateral hand coordination (using both hands together in a coordinated manner…kids need this when they begin shoe tying and managing the zipper on their coat).
…And everyone loved the cool crunchy sound the bottle made when you squashed it!