Carrying out the following hand exercises prior to fine motor or drawing tasks helps the child’s hands prepare for activity. The exercises are aimed at increasing the tactile and proprioceptive sensory messages the child receives from their hands. By doing this the child will have an increased sensory awareness of what their hand muscles and joints are doing. This should help improve motor control and aid motor memory for learning movements involved in fine motor tasks such as writing.
1. Briefly rub hands, palms together, then the back of each hand. If tolerated hand cream can be used.
2. Press hands and fingers together with palms flat, squeeze then stretch fingers out wide. Repeat 5 times.
3. Hook fingers of both hands together and pull in opposite directions.
4. With palms together and fingers straight, press fingers together firmly. Hold for 10-20 seconds, and then shake out the hands to relax fingers.
5. Place palms together, fingers straight, separate palms slightly, keeping finger tips touching. Rotate thumbs around each other, away from the body then towards body. Ten times each way.
6. With hands separated, preferred hand first, ask the child to touch their thumb with each fingertip in turn, beginning with the index finger and back again. When mastered separately, carry out with both hands at the same time.
7. Put your hands on the table (palms down). Now copy your partner who is pretending to play the piano, by lifting one finger at a time from the table.
Note: It may be beneficial to have a break during fine motor tasks and carry out hand aerobics to help maintain a high level of sensory messages.