Simple Activities to Build Grip and Motor Skills
Motor skills involve the specific movement of muscles to execute an intended task. Running, stringing beads, and sitting up are all activities involving motor skills. Different types of motor skills begin to develop as a child grows and gains muscle strength. Some children, like those with autism, have difficulty developing these skills. The following are some techniques to help kids develop better motor skills and build muscle strength.
FINE MOTOR SKILL BUILDERS
Fine motor skills use the smaller hand and wrist muscles to move and complete more natural activities like holding a pencil, playing with blocks, or cutting with scissors.
- Play-dough is a great tool to help build fine motor skills. With all the rolling, squeezing, smashing, pulling, and twisting, it gives little hand muscles a great workout!
- Stress balls are helpful with kids who like to fidget. They can squeeze the pliable balls for fun and build grip strength at the same time. A stress ball can also be a soothing way for a child with autism to relieve stress.
Coloring or drawing is a simple way to increase grip strength and exercise fine motor skills.
EVERYDAY SKILL BUILDERS
Practicing specific everyday skills, like getting dressed, will help build muscle memory and increase the child's motor skill capabilities.
- Getting dressed and undressed unassisted requires the use of numerous muscles with both fine and gross motor skills. It is also a necessary life skill. Children should practice this task regularly.
- Squeezing a sponge while in the bathtub or when helping to clean up is good practice for grip strength and is relaxing for children that have anxiety, autism, or other concerns.
Carrying shopping bags has many benefits. The child is helping out the family by assisting while building arm and hand muscle strength as well as grip. Encourage children to help with groceries and shopping trips whenever possible.
GROSS MOTOR SKILL BUILDERS
Movements that use the entire body (arms, legs, and core) are in the gross motor category. Examples are catching and balancing.
- Climbing objects like ladders, monkey bars, and rock walls engage the entire body and large muscle groups, building skill, grip, and coordination.
Bike riding is another activity that gets the whole body moving. It uses multiple muscle groups at once while strengthening balance, coordination, and grip.
Give these activities a try and watch for improvement in the child's grip strength and various motor skills.