There are two sides to every hand, a power side and a precision side. A power grasp uses all of the fingers and the thumb together to hold something using counter pressure. This takes strength. Some examples of using a power grasp include holding onto monkey bars, pounding with a toy hammer, or playing tug of war with a rope. A precision grasp uses only three fingers that are known for control and coordinating small movements of the hand. These fingers are the thumb, first, and middle fingers…or, as we call them at The Inspired Treehouse, “Super Fingers!” Some examples of how a child uses a precision grasp include holding a pencil, using scissors, holding a spoon, and buttoning buttons on a shirt. As children grow and become more independent they use this grasp all day long.
Talking to kids about their “Super Fingers” is a fun, interactive way for children to learn which fingers to use during activities. We teach kids that these three fingers are the strongest fingers on the hand. Once they’re familiar with the term, whenever we call out “Super Fingers” during an activity, the children begin to automatically switch over to using their thumb, first, and middle fingers for the task rather than using a less efficient grasping skills. We often have kids hold up their “Super Fingers” in the air before an activity to remind themselves of the super three.
Little hands need reinforcement to develop a strong precision grasp. There are many activities that can help strengthen the “Super Fingers.” Here are just a few to get you started….
-Playing with a squirt bottle
-Popping bubble wrap
-Playing with playdoh (rolling big/little balls, poking holes with fingers, pulling apart)
-Tearing paper for crafts
-Putting pennies into a piggy bank
-Play with clothespins or tweezers to pick up items
-Board games such as Operation, memory (flipping cards), bed bugs, etc. There are many games that use small manipulatives that can enhance hand strength and coordination.
Try teaching “Super Fingers” to the kids in your class or at home and let us know how it goes!
7 Fun Kids Activities for Strengthening Grasp
1 – Sparkly Sensory Starfish – Kids will put their Super Fingers to the test with this fun ocean-themed activity as they sprinkle decorations on to make a one-of-a-kind starfish!
2 – Milking a Cow – Has your little one ever gotten to milk a cow? Let her try with this imaginative activity that targets hand strength.
4 – Baby Bumblebee – A great workout for little hands, this fun song and movement activity will have your little bees buzzing all over the place!
5 – Ant Farm Craft – Kids get to create their own ant farm with this fun craft, with some great Super Fingers practice along the way!
6 – Feed the Elephant – Part of our circus theme, this activity will not only encourage grasp and fine motor coordination, but lots of giggles too!
7 – Personalized Caterpillars – A great multi-tasker, this craft gets kids working on fine motor strength AND learning how to sequence the letters of their names!
7 Simple Toys for Strengthening Grasp
2 – Tweezers
3 – Squeeze Balls
4 – Clothespins
6 – Theraputty
7 – Pop Beads
If you liked this post, be sure to sign up to receive our newsletter, a weekly round-up of our favorite posts delivered right to your inbox! Simply enter your email address in the box in the sidebar and click “Subscribe”!
Click here to find Useful Tips and Tricks for Promoting Child Development from our team of pediatric occupational and physical therapists!
Looking for more great activity ideas and useful information about child development? Check out these posts!
Latest posts by Pam Braley (see all)
- 10 CLASSIC GAMES FOR THE BACKYARD - July 7, 2015
- GAMES FOR GROUPS: HAND CLAPPING GAMES FOR KIDS - May 19, 2015
- ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS: MOVEMENT BREAKS TO HELP KIDS STAY ALERT AND FOCUSED - August 17, 2014