What is Finger Dexterity?
Separation of the two sides of the hand
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Our finger dexterity activity began with a little prep work. We received these acrylic paints from craftprojectideas.com for free and were so excited to use them in a fun painting project.
I painted the back side of large bubble wrap with different colors. We let these dry (and it was slightly difficult to remain patient!!)
Once our paints were dry, we got our fingers ready to play some finger dexterity games! I had Little Guy get his fingers ready by making “legs”. This is a great way to encourage use of the two sides of the hand. He tucked his pinkie and ring fingers into the palm of his hand and got his pointer and middle finger busy as they “walked” around.
We played a color matching game with the colored bubbles. I called out a color and he had to “walk” his fingers to the color and pop the color. He was working on color awareness at the same time as we practiced finger dexterity.
As I called out different colors, he had to “walk” his fingers around to the different colors. He really worked on those finger isolation skills as he searched for a bubble that was not yet popped. Other ways to work on finger isolation and separation of the two sides of the hand include using small objects in manipulation like crafting pom poms.
Even Baby Girl wanted to get in on the fun! This finger dexterity exercise is a great way to “warm up” the hands before a handwriting or typing task for older children. When there is weakness in the small muscles of the hands, it is often times, difficult for children to write, color, or type with appropriate grasp and positioning of the fingers and wrist. A dexterity exercise like this one is a fun way to play and get those muscles of the hand moving and strengthened in order to improve endurance and positioning.
Looking for more fun ways to practice finger dexterity? These are some fun games and activities you may want to try:
- Beach Play Dough
- Itsy Bitsy Spider and other finger play games
- gears building set
- Shadow puppets
- Clay Rocks activity
- Tricky Fingers
- eye droppers
- Operation Game
- Connect 4 Game
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Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.