So what is Finger Strength? Finger Strength is the development of the muscles in a child’s little fingers to help them with gripping, squeezing, writing and many more daily activities of living. As you can imagine, optimum Finger Strengthening is important to develop these skills and others as they grow and learn new things.
Normal development of finger strength allows them to grasp onto objects securely, write efficiently, climb, create things and do other sports activities with confidence and skill. This not only helps their own physical and mental development through the years, but alos builds their communication skills as they integrate with their peers through active play. There are many ways to improve finger strength in children. Many happen naturally but there are many exercises, toys and activities out there to improve and build finger strength whilst they play and learn.
Importance of Finger Strengthening
Finger Strengthening is an important part of any child’s development for obvious reasons. Efficiency and accuracy in fine motor skills is a vital part of growing up and learning to become an independent adult. Optimum finger strength is a building block for the development of these fine motor skills. A child’s average day consists of so many tasks that require good finger strength and dexterity. If they don’t have adequate finger strength they may continually need to ask a grown up for help. This may affect their confidence and willingness to participate in activities. It is therefore vital that we as grown ups encourage them to carry out as many tasks for themselves as possible to improve strength and dexterity.
Finger strengthening exercises may enhances strength, dexterity and suppleness in the hands and fingers. This will build tone and increase longevity in the hand and finger muscles. These exercises also improve circulation and mobility of the joints, improving accuracy and efficiency in many daily activities. Below are just some examples:
- Using a pencil, crayon or marker to draw
- Picking up small objects such as buttons, clips, toy blocks, etc.
- Buttoning clothes, fastening zippers and snaps, tying shoe laces
- Using of Scissors
- Use of fingers to do sign languages such as OK sign, thumbs up, etc.
- Use of utensils such as spoon, fork, and knife for feeding
- Opening of objects like jars and boxes
- Sports activities like climbing, football, etc.
Development of Finger Strength
As a child grows, they also learn to improve their finger strength. A new born baby can squeeze your finger involuntary, which is one example of a finger strengthening exercise. However, there are many other ways we can develop finger strength in children:
Use of Play Dough
Play Dough has always been a child’s favorite toy (and it’s quite popular with the grown ups too!) It’s soft, smooth texture and malleability means children can mold it into anything they like. This usually keeps them interested for a long time…meaning a nice long work out for their little fingers. However, while malleable, play dough is also offers enough resistance to provide results for finger strengthening. With Play Dough, children can improve their finger strength by molding a small ball and practicing the following:
- Finger Pinch: This involves pinching the dough in between the finger and thumb.
- Thumb Press: This is by pushing the thumb into the dough as they move the thumb to smallest finger
- Thumb pinch strengthening: this involves Squeezing the dough between thumb and side of index finger.
- Full grip: this by making a fist while the dough is inside and squeezing fingers into the dough.
Practicing the Tripod Fingers
The Tripod Fingers consist of the thumb, index and middle fingers. These three fingers are used for gripping pencils, crayons, markers and other writing tools. By mastering the use of these three fingers, children can have more control in writing and drawing what they want. Also by tucking the other two fingers, (the ring finger and the little finger) gives an arch called Distal Transverse Metacarpal Arch (DTM Arch) that stabilizes the joints and muscles of the hands and thus reducing fatigue during writing. Here are some exercises that practices the tripod fingers:
- The Woodpecker: this involves pushing the pencil with its pointy end back and forth (like a woodpecker pecking a three) with the tripod fingers.
- The Caterpillar: This involves using the 2 top fingers (thumb and pointer finger) to push the pencil forward and slide it along the middle resting finger until the fingers reach the end of the pencil. Then pull the pencil back, sliding the fingers along, until reaching the pointy end of the pencil again.
- The Helicopter: This involves holding the pencil by the center with the tripod finger and trying to whirl it around like the blades of a helicopter.
- Finger Ball Walk: Is the movement of the fingers by walking the ball up and down their body parts like the legs, the tummy, and the arms. The ball size may vary depending on the child’s likeness.
- Paper Crumpling: This is done by cutting pieces of small papers (it can be colored papers for added fun) then letting your child crumple it with both of their hands using their fingers. then, again let them crumple it with one hand using their fingers.
Benefits of Finger Strengthening for Children
What are the benefits of developing and having finger strength in our children? Having Finger strength improves the overall function of the hand and fingers thus having these benefits:
By improving a child’s finger strength, it also improves the hand’s dexterity. With good hand dexterity children can perform task more effectively and have more control of their hands movements like playing a guitar skillfully.
Improved Hand Endurance
With Finger Strength, the child’s hand can endure more work like writing longer sentences, lifting heavier objects, and longer grip onto objects. it enhances their hand’s endurance against pressure and forces for longer amount of time.
Improved Hand Strength
When a child has finger strength, they are also improving their hand strength as well. A child with better hand strength can easily push objects that are a little heavier than others, can have better grip when holding onto objects and be better at sports like football, climbing, etc.
By having improved finger strength, a child becomes more skillful in his abilities and learns more task easier and quicker thus improving their confidence. Having extra confidence, give a child a more positive attitude towards doing each task and also having more enthusiasm in mastering a skill or ability like playing guitar, painting, writing etc.
Toys that improve finger strength for children
Every child loves toys and that is why we put so much consideration on what toys we could give them to help them also learn and be skilful as they play. With these toys, a child improves their finger strength while having loads of fun:
- Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit, Glow In The Dark
- Mini Size Fidget Spinner Toy Stress Reducer Good for ADHD EDC Hand Killing Time For Kids
- Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank
- Play-Doh Fun Tub
- TINKERTOY ‒ 100 Piece Essentials Value Set ‒ Ages 3+ Preschool Education Toy
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit, Glow In The Dark
The Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit contains 5 small tins of clear Thinking Putty, 3 concentrated color putties (magenta, yellow, & cyan), 3 special effect putties, 1 Mixed by Me tin to hold components, 6 colored pencils, 5 customizable tin labels, and 1 instructional mat with color formula suggestions. It is awarded as ASTRA’s 2015 Best Toys for Kids. Children can make their own putty with colors they like and stretch them, pull them, pound them into any form they want. It is suitable for children ages 3 and up.
- Collection: MIXED BY ME | Includes 5 clear tins, 6 special effects putties (3 Color Concentrate,...
- Stretch it, bounce it, pop it, tear it, and sculpt it! Fun for ages 8+
- Includes five clear tins and six special effects of Genuine Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty
- Thinking Putty is manufactured with the help of exceptional individuals challenged with disabilities
- Made in the USA from nontoxic silicone and never dries out
The Good News:
- Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit, Glow In The Dark has many features that will encourage hours of fun
- It glows in the dark.
- Once completed it can be stretched, pulled, etc.
- It does not dry out.
- Features many vibrant colors and has a unique style
- It is a do it yourself putty which also invokes creativity in children
The Bad News
- Some of the users complained that the packaging was poor when delivered
- It only contains small quantities of putty
- Some of the users also complained that some of the putty containers were missing when it was delivered.
Mini Size Fidget Spinner Toy Stress Reducer Good for ADHD EDC Hand Killing Time For Kids
The Mini Size Fidget Spinner contains 4 mini fidget spinners for kids. It comes in Orange, Blue, Yellow, Purple colors and is 2.4 inch in size, perfect for the children’s small hands. Spin time lasts between 30 seconds and 1 minute. It is not suitable for children 3 and below.
- PERFECT GIFT For Kids - Our 2 Pack Miniature Series Fidget Spinner is an small gadget that is...
- GREAT HAND SPINNER - Flick and spin for minutes with just one or both hands Great For Fidgety Hands,...
- SMOOTHESS SPINS: With the high-performance ball bearing and specialized pre-lubricated oil for a...
- EASY TO CARRY: It is simple, lightweight, pocket size and fun, also effective for focus and deep...
- Made of shock-absorbing ABS material and metal alloy rings and ball, not easy to break when falling...
The Good News:
- The Mini Size Fidget Spinner contains 4 colorful fidget Spinners.
- It is small and fits perfectly into young children’s small hands
- The four fidget spinners are load of fun while also improving their finger strength and reducing stress
- It is lightweight and safe to use
The Bad News
- It is not suitable for children 3 and below due to its small part that may cause choking.
- It is not very durable and breaks easily
- Some user complained that items were missing when delivered.
- It does not have long spin time.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank
The Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank contains 10 colorful coins that teach animals on one side and numbers on the other. It features 40+ sing-along songs, tunes & phrases and Includes Smart Stages technology which changes as the baby grows.
- 40+ sing-along songs, tunes & phrases
- Includes Smart Stages technology - learning content changes as baby grows
- Two levels of play offer fresh songs, phrases & sounds for your little one's age & stage
- Includes 10 colorful coins to drop into the piggy's back or belly - the coins teach animals on one...
- Open & close door for put-and-take play
The Good News:
- Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank contains many cool features that encourages learning and fun for the baby as they grow
- It has rewarding songs and sounds which introduces cause and effect and put-and-take play with the coins which encourages motor skill development.
- Vibrant colors and a unique design
- It features 40 plus songs that babies and children would enjoy
The Bad News
- Some of the users complained that some coins were missing when delivered.
- It is not BPA free
- It consumes too much battery power
- Some of the users complained that the product does not work properly.
Play-Doh Fun Tub
The Play-Doh Fun Tub contains a storage tub, 2-piece extruder with rail, 3 stampers, roller, knife, 12 cutters, and 5 cans of Play-Doh. The storage tub is reusable plastic tub which makes it easy to store everything for next play time. Children can create anything they like with the dough and mold to what they want.
- 20 pieces and 5 Play-Doh colors for lots of open-ended creative fun
- Reusable plastic tub makes it easy to store everything for next time
- Great for playdates
- Includes storage tub, 2-piece extruder with rail, 3 stampers, roller, knife, 12 cutters, and 5 cans...
The Good News:
- Play-Doh Fun Tub contains 5 colorful doughs and features many pieces for children to play and enjoy
- It includes a reusable storage tub
- Safe to use
- It is great for invoking creativity and developing finger strength as the child molds, roll, cuts each dough
The Bad News:
- It has a small size compared to the actual picture
- Some of the items like the extruders does not work properly and cutters are hard to use
- Some of the users complained that the item was delivered with damaged
TINKERTOY ‒ 100 Piece Essentials Value Set ‒ Ages 3+ Preschool Education Toy
The Tinkertoy includes 100 pieces of spools, rods, flags, washers, end caps, and more. These parts can snap and bend to create whatever a child imagines into a real-life creation. This TINKERTOY set comes with an instruction manual to guide children through their building adventures. The sheet comes with construction ideas and tips for little builders, so youngsters can create structures on their own. Parents can also walk their kids through the manual and guide them until they get the hang of it.
- 100 ASSORTED PIECES - The TINKERTOY 100 Piece Essentials Value Set contains 100 authentic pieces in...
- 13 BUILDING IDEAS - Children can create 13 different models with this colorful set. Parts can be...
- CONVENIENT STORAGE - The pieces of this innovative toy can be kept inside the included storage...
- INCLUDES INSTRUCTION SHEET - This TINKERTOY set comes with an instruction manual to guide children...
- SNAPS TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER: Gone are the days of your favorite TINKERTOY model falling apart....
The Good News:
- The TINKERTOY contains many pieces that will surely encourage hours of play and creativity.
- TINKERTOY sets now Snap Together, Stay together for long-lasting play. The bright colored parts are easy to put together and stay together long.
- It has many developmental benefits for children like strengthening hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, spatial awareness and exercising their imagination
- The pieces are large and durable which is easy to put together and safe to use.
The Bad News:
- Some of the pieces does not fit into the other parts
- Some of the users complained that the item was delivered poorly
- It contains many small parts that may not be suitable for children because it may cause choking
In conclusion, finger strengthening is important for children to do daily activities such as writing, drawing, gripping, etc. And what better way to develop these skill by giving them toys that promote fun and learning. With these toys, children can easily learn developmental skills as they play and have fun. these toys promotes creativity in the child mind, develop his physical skills and also help them be more social and active in his daily activities.