Today we often find children with weak hands either due to lower muscle tone or birth defects or they get their fingers engaged by tapping and typing on the electronic gadgets and keyboards. The medical world confirms that their fingers get damaged and become weak by playing continuously on the mobile phones or other such gadgets. Children need exposure to a wide variety of gross and fine motor activities to improve the strength of their hands.
A famous educator once said, “The intellectual development of the children’s performance starts on the fingertips”. According to him the cognitive development of a child lies in their own hands. Accurate movement with the hands will greatly stimulate the development of the cerebral cortex and helps in the development of both hemispheres of the human brain.
There is umpteen number of finger exercises that can help improve the flexibility of their fingers. This ensures that nerves are firm and promotes sensory integration and coordination.
Some common practices to enable finger exercise includes:
- Providing colour clays to create different shapes. This enables the hands, the inner muscles of the palm and eyes to work together promoting hand-eye coordination.
- Asking the children to write or draw on wheat flour in a large uniform tray. This makes their hands more flexible.
- Picking up coins and inserting them into a piggy bank (saving box) one by one through a small hole or we can also let them play our traditional games like pallanguzhi. This helps them to strengthen nerves and to improve their hand grip.
- General hand exercises such as paper crumpling, squeezing sponges, spraying water to the plants, scissor cutting help to strengthen hand muscles.
- We can provide woolen thread and ask them to insert beads into it. This promotes hand and eye co-ordination and also develops their ability to manipulate objects.
- Climbing trees for fun can also be one of the activities which will ensure good workout for the shoulders and hand muscles.
- The activities such as clapping hands, tying shoelaces, opening lunch box, building construction toys, colouring, picture puzzles, connecting beads in the thread, climbing the rope, playing basketball, playing the piano can strengthen the hands and fingers.
- Spinning balls, tossing coins, revolving container lids are used to strengthen muscles and nerves in the fingers and hands.
- Some children may not write certain alphabets correctly, because of which their handwriting becomes illegible. Therefore, those characters can be practiced on big charts or blackboards. Kids can trace the dots which follows the pattern of the letter.
Children must be encouraged to develop their gross and fine motor skills as it has a great impact in their life. It has a role to play in the overall development of their personality. Each and every child is unique in nature. The best thing we can do for children is to provide enough opportunities to practice these skills and thus enhance their confidence in performing their day to day activities.
-Poornima.T, Teacher, Sri Seshaas International Public School