A pediatric Occupational Therapist knows that with function comes FUN. “Who put the fun in the functional skills” sounds like a line from an oldies tune now that I think about it! It’s right there with the rama lama ding dong!
Occupational Therapist bloggers know how to make blog posts fun too 😉
So, when your child’s OT is looking for activities to build the skills needed for development, they know how to add in creative activities that promote independence. Today, I’ve got fun ways to work on fine motor skills with a functional grasp, specifically the extended wrist.
You might have seen a child who holds their pencil with a bent wrist and curled up fingers. They’ve probably got their elbow super flexed and their shoulder forward.
Maybe you have a kiddo who fumbles with buttons and zippers or shows weakness in grasping items. Perhaps you have an OT client who bends their wrist forward when they are lacing beads or other fine motor tasks.
When the wrist is flexed (bent forward towards curved fingers in a grasp), there is little chance of fine motor dexterity. A flexed wrist in functional tasks limits use of the fingers due to the tendons of the fingers being shortened as they work to stabilize the wrist. The fingers just can’t move like they are supposed to.
There are many exercises and activities that can be done to build the stability of the wrist so that it maintains a slightly extended position during fine motor activities. I’ll be sharing some DIY creative ideas soon (so stay tuned!) but for now, here are 10 Must Have toys to build wrist stability and extended wrist:
Toys to Promote an Extended Wrist and Functional Grasp During Fine Motor Activities
1. Lite Brite Position this old school toy on a slightly elevated surface to promote an extended wrist while managing the small pegs within the hand and with a tripod grasp.
2. Table Top Easel– This one is double sided to allow for chalk, dry erase markers, and has a clip for attaching paper. Use the easel for writing, drawing, painting, coloring, chalking, and games like Hand Man to make strengthening fun.
3. Avalanche Fruit Stand Game– This game is a fun way to build fine motor skills with an extended wrist.
4. Dartboard– Tossing darts encourages an extended wrist while holding the darts. This set comes with magnetic darts, which is great for kids.
5. Pop Beads– The small size of pop beads promotes dexterity of the fingers as well as resistance to push the beads together. Encouraging the child to do this task with both elbows on a table surface encourages an extended wrist.
6. Stamps– Grab a set of small rubber stamps or any stamp that has a small handle. Tape a piece of paper to the wall or clip it to an easel. Holding the handle while stamping on a vertical surface promotes a functional wrist position.
7. Twister game– Any game or activity that is done with the child extending their wrist as the press their upper body weight through the arm is a great strengthening exercise for wrist stability.
8. Beads– Threading beads with a string or plastic cord encourages and extended wrist with fine motor dexterity. Beads can be found in various sizes to meet the needs of the child.
9. Wall Sticky Tack– Sticky tack? Really! Use it to hand paper, mazes, tic tack toe boards, connect the dot pages, and coloring sheets right to the wall! You can hang paper on the windows, like we did to really work on handwriting with a see-through effect. Writing on the wall is a great way to build wrist stability and promote an extended wrist.
10. Etch-A Sketch– Another classic toy, the Etch-A Sketch is perfect for building an extended wrist. Prop it up on a slanted position and be sure to place it upside down so the knobs are at the top.
More Fine Motor Skills you will love: