Hand strength is essential in many aspects of life, and many kids come to preschool lacking hand strength.
Many teachers and parents don’t know how to motivate kids to work on developing their hand strength. Thankfully, there are plenty of playful and fun hand strengthening activities for kids to work with them and help them develop stronger hands!
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What is Hand Strength?
Hand strength is the ability to grip something tightly.
Hand strength improves with practice.
Why is Hand Strength Important for Kids?
Children who lack hand strength will often struggle with handwriting, scissor skills, or opening containers.
Children who struggle with these activities may feel frustrated or upset, affecting their self-esteem and confidence. Their frustration may manifest as behavior problems.
How Can We Help Develop Hand Strength?
Developing hand strength is very important. The good news is that everyday play like climbing, crawling, and other weight-bearing activities will naturally help tiny hands grow stronger.
Additional everyday hand strengthening activities for preschoolers that can help exercise and build hand strength include putting toys in containers, playing in the sandbox, and opening containers.
Hand Strengthening Activities for Kids
Some kids may need a little extra help to work on hand strength and develop fine motor skills. Here are some fine motor activity ideas to help you out.
Water Gun Activities
You can make art with squirt guns or use them for target practice.
If you don’t want to deal with paint in the squirt guns, kids can squirt water at pieces of paper hanging on a fence. Draw letters or words on the paper as an exciting way to incorporate literacy learning.
Spray Bottle Activities
Fill a spray bottle with water and let kids clean windows, toys, rocks, or produce like pumpkins or apples. Your kids can water flower seeds or plants with a spray bottle. You can also paint with spray bottles.
Hole Punch Activities
Kids enjoy using craft punches that come in a variety of fun shapes. Use them to create artwork.
Printable Fine Motor Crafts
There are many benefits to crafts for preschoolers and one big benefit is that they can be a motivating way to build hand strength. Your kids will love these printable fine motor crafts. They were designed specifically to be both craft AND fine motor activities, and each thematic project includes hole punching.
A stapler makes an excellent toy for kids to use, and it helps their hand strength.
Kids can staple sheets of paper together, or they just add staples to construction paper shapes.
Kids also feel a sense of accomplishment when they assemble little mini-books.
Using glue is another simple hand-strengthening activity to consider.
Okay….some kids REALLY love squeezing glue from a bottle and may be tempted to use LOTS and LOTS of glue. Just remember that as they are squeezing, they are building hand strength.
Paint with a Squeeze Bottle
Kids may be used to painting with a brush. Why not mix things up and experiment with using squeeze bottles for painting.
Puffy paint is fantastic to use in squeeze bottles.
Kids can squeeze paint onto paper to create designs, or they can use the color to trace lines, letters, or their names.
Again, If you don’t want to mess with paint, you can still get kids using squeeze bottles. Fill a squeeze bottle with plain water, and your kids can use it to draw designs or make letters on concrete.
Crumbling Paper Activities
Squeezing paper into balls also gives kids an opportunity to build hand strength. They find crinkling paper so much fun. It’s a sensory activity as well as hand strengthening.
Fill a tub with paper and encourage kids to crumple it up to make a “paper ball sandbox.”
They can make balls for a snowball fight. They can also ball up a sheet of foil to make moon rocks.
Tearing Paper Activities
Playdough Fine Motor Activities
Playdough is a very motivating tool to build hand strength.
I like to encourage kids to push things like bolts, coins, buttons, or mini-erasers into a ball of playdough. Want to step it up a notch? Hide objects in theraputty instead of playdough. Theraputty is often used by Occupational Therapists. It has much more resistance than playdough, so kids have to work harder to push things into the putty.
Plunger Activities to build strength in hands
A plunger? YES! I picked this idea up from a preschool teacher at a conference. But, of course, you will make sure that it’s brand new, never used in the toilet plunger.
Pick up a couple of plungers from the Dollar Store and let kids attach them, and then pull them up off the floor.
Sponge & Washcloth Activities for Hand Strength
Soak sponges or washcloths in water until they are completely saturated. Then, encourage kids to squeeze out all of the water from the sponge or washcloth.
You can make it a game by showing them how to soak up the water in one container and then transfer it by squeezing it into another container. You can challenge your kids to see how quickly they can move the water
Build Hand Strength with Rubber Band Activities
You can even use office supplies for fine motor and hand-strengthening activities.
Kids can grasp the rubber band in their hands and pull it back to stretch it out. They can stretch rubberbands around cans or pool noodles.
Clothespin Fine motor Activities
Clothespins seem to be a favorite hand strengthening activity. Kids can use clothespins to attach things together or hand something from a clothesline.
Toys to improve hand strength
While you don’t have to spend a lot of money on activities that develop hand strength, here are a couple of great toys that many teachers and occupational therapists recommend.
The links below are affiliate links There will be no additional cost to you if you purchase something from the link, but I receive a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of the links.
Robot Hand & Robot Claw Gift Set Bundle – Who doesn’t like to operate a robot hand? The great thing is that kids won’t even realize that they are building strength while they are having fun.
Fat Brain Toys Original Squigz Starter 24 Piece Set – This suction construction toy works in the bathtub, on a smooth table, or on a window.
Therapy Putty – Hide gems, coins, or small erasers in the theraputty and ask kids to work through the stiff substance to see if they can find the hidden treasures.
Snapper Fidget Toys – Kids need to squeeze this toy together so that the suction cups connect
Squeezy Animals with Pop Out Eyes – Nothing is more motivating than squeezing an animal and having its silly eyes start to bulge.
Froggy Feeding Fun Activity Set by Learning Resources – In this fun game kids have to squeeze the frog so that they can put a bug in its mouth.
Build Hand Strength with These Resources in the Store
Are you looking for additional hand-strengthening activities for kids? Here are some activities in the Early Learning Ideas store. Click on the images below to check them out.
Additional Ideas to Build Hand Strength
Are you looking for additional hand strengthening activities for kids? Check out these ideas and activities from Early Learning Ideas.