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Tuesday 26 March 2019
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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Grip Strength

General Hand Strength

  • Ask your child to make hole-punch patterns on paper and card to improve the strength of the hand muscles. The waste circles can be pasted onto paper and turned into snow or little bugs etc. Or just ask him/her to help you punch holes for any filing that you may be doing.
  • Encourage your child to squeeze a rubber ball as hard as possible a few times a day.
  • Encourage your child to play with squeezy toys ie. A toy that talks when squeezed or an animal that hops when a connected bulb is squeezed.
  • Using a sponge and a measuring bowl, see how much your child can wring out of the sponge into the bowl. Keep challenging him/her to beat the last score.(NB best done under supervision from an adult who has first removed excess dripping water!)
  • Some children have problems opening their hand against resistance i.e.opening scissors. If this is a problem for your child, then this may help: put a thick elastic band around your child’s thumb and fingers and encourage them to stretch out their hand as wide as possible. Trying to pick up marshmallows or pieces of fruit may be good motivation!


Pinch Grip Strength

Often a weak pinch grip can make a child fumble with small objects. If the following activities are difficult for your child then some regular practice should help.

  • Encourage pinching between the thumb and each separate finger, not just the index finger.
  • Give your child a peg to squeeze between the pad of his/her thumb and first finger. Count how long they can keep the peg open. Get your child to try again to beat their score. See if they can get up to 30 seconds, then a minute!
  • Make collages with thick paper or card, which your child has torn into pieces.
  • Alternatively, have a competition to see how big a wedge of paper your child can manage to tear at once.
  • Encourage your child to water your plants with a pump action sprayer or to play outside with water pistols or squirting toys to build up endurance.
  • A nice activity for encouraging the development of pinch strength is for your child to ice biscuits with icing in a squeezy tube.
  • Plasticine or play dough activities involving pinching, squeezing, making round shapes and sausage shapes should be done between the two hands and without the use of the table surface to build up hand strength and endurance.
  • Can your child squeeze hard enough with one or two hands to pop the poppers on bubble wrap?