Kids and fine motor skills go hand-in-hand. (That is my funny-OT attempt at a fine motor skills joke!) But really, fine motor skills are a staple of a child’s development and are essential to function. Precision in grasp, manipulation, and release of small objects makes the difference between fumbling with zippers and buttons and efficiently grading movements in very small dexterity patterns like threading a string through a needle (kid-friendly, of course!)
This post is part of my 31 Days of Occupational Therapy series where you can find 30 more ideas like this one with easy treatment materials.
What is precision of grasp and release?
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First, it’s important to note that a child’s ultra fine motor dexterity is dependent on bigger things. And by that, I mean that for a child to use their hands super fine motor tasks, they first must demonstrate strength and control of their core, shoulder, and arm. If any of these areas are not fully developed in stability or control, then the child will show compensatory strategies as they try to use their hands in handwriting or cutting with scissors.
RELATED ACTIVITY: Try this DIY Pick-Up Stick Activity to work on Precision Skills.
Precision occurs with development of grasp when child to use the pads of the index finger, middle finger, and thumb to manipulate objects with opposition. I talked a little about strengthening these grasps here. Today, I’m sharing ways to work on the controlled use of these fine motor patterns in controlled dexterity tasks. The precision of grasp and release is essential for very small motor movements in activities like picking up beads and releasing items like blocks with precision.
Precision Grasp and Precision Release
Try manipulating Perler Fuse Beads with Pegboards for precision in grasp and release. These pegboards are very small and work on very fine dexterity with precision.
are a good way to practice graded grasp and release. Use these stamp blocks to accurately stamp within a specific area on a page. Draw squares or circles and the child needs to stamp in those areas.
Tweezer games and activities like this Bed Bugs Game
encourage a precise and graded grasp and release of the small game pieces using tweezers. This game is on my must-buy list for Christmas this year!
This Avalanche Fruit Stand
is another fun way to practice precision with a pair of tweezers. Stack the fruit with precision of grasp and release in a fun and colorful way!
The Perfection Game
is another game that is great for precise grasp and release. Encourage kids to rotate the pieces by twirling the peg of the game pieces to work on precision in rotation as well.
is a precision work out in grasp and release of the blocks. My kids love this game!
Stacking blocks is a precision pattern activity that is perfect for working on graded grasp and release.
This Tobbles stacking toy
is a version of that, with bright and bold colors. Try stacking and taking these balls down without knocking them over!
Sometimes, simple is best! These Wooden Color Cubes
are perfect for simple block building and stacking while working on precision of grasp and release.
Kids need precision of the thumb, too. These Slide Puzzles
are not only fun, they work on small motor skills needed for graded movements in cutting and pencil control.
It’s my hope that this post and ideas were helpful and a resource for you! Looking for more fine motor activities for functional grasp? Try these: