Posted by: ugleepen | December 1, 2011

5 Fun Ways to Help Children Build Hand Strength and Manual Dexterity

It takes years of practice to learn how to write. Children naturally start grasping and holding writing utensils such as crayons by the time they are eighteen months. As children progress from large, sweeping drawings to smaller, finer, handwriting, the practice becomes repetition. Now you need to make sure the muscles are properly strengthened to support the repetitive practice, and the development of fine motor skills in the hands and fingers

Parents need to be aware that kids are at risk for repetitive stress injury. Because of their underdeveloped muscles, it is easy for children to accumulate small injuries early that stay with them as they grow older and get more active.

Building manual dexterity and strength can help to eliminate the development of an inappropriate pencil grasp, which can lead to writing pain, not only now, but in years down the road. Many of you parents probably continue the inappropriate pencil grasp that you learned as a child, and to this day you experience pain or cramping when you write.

Here are some simple, and fun, exercises for your children to do to make sure they development muscle strength, manual dexterity, and avoid writing pain as well as repetitive stress injury:

1. Rolling items, such a play dough or newspaper, into various sized balls. They can do this using the palms of the hands facing each other and with their fingertips only.

2. Improve hand strength by crumpling a single sheet of newspaper in one hand.

3. Build dexterity using toy screwdrivers, or by using large toy tweezers to pick things up, like Cheerios, small toys, and place them into a jar.

4. Peeling stickers from the backing sheet and pressing them down to make a picture.

5. Tell stories with finger puppets (especially the thumb, index, and middle fingers).

Once your child is ready to grasp a pen, ensure his or her success by using an ergonomic pen that focuses on a comfortable grip. This can help eliminate frustration and possible writing pain for those who tend to grip too hard.

Working on these exercises with your children will give them a head start toward building the strength and dexterity necessary to hold a writing implement correctly and without frustration. Let them use the ergonomic UGLee Pen, too. It’s designed to help prevent repetitive stress injuries in the hand, as well as support the proper ergonomic pencil grasp.

Clip Art Credit: purba-ray.blogspot.com

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