Playing, eating, getting dressed, cutting, writing… All daily activities using fine motor skills. Many children may show some of the following difficulties :

Pre-school children:

  • Difficulty screwing/unscrewing games
  • Difficulty manipulating small objects, dropping them often
  • Picking small objects with all fingers, without being able to dissociate thumb, pointer and middle fingers
  • Difficulty fitting puzzle pieces, etc.

School age children:

  • Manipulating small objects without using the finger tips•Difficulty opening an easy to open container
  • Difficulty cutting, global movement of the hand•Difficult pencil grasp, as well as a lack of precision colouring or connecting the dots
  • Verbalizing hand pains during graphic activities, etc.

The lack of strength in the hands and radio-ulnar dissociation may be involved. Those are essential to function properly every day. Hand strength is necessary for endurance to complete a task. Radio-ulnar dissociation is the ability to use the thumb, pointer, and middle finger (radial side of the hand) separately from the ring finger and pinky (ulnar side of the hand). This dissociation is useful to manipulate/grip objects and in all activities requiring precision.

Here are a few ideas to develop these skills:

  • Use balls to manipulate and squeeze with hand and fingers: Rep Putty, Anti-stress balls, etc.
  • Wring sponges with one or two hands
  • Move cotton balls with air from a turkey-baster pumped with the fingers
  • Pick all kinds of objects using tongs, chopsticks and tweezers of different sizes
  • Do circular colouring, of little spaces, with narrow pencils
  • Do small paper balls with the fingers, using one hand
  • Make gestures with fingers to imitate, trying to use only 1-2 fingers at a time.


Have fun!