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Finger dexterity

What is finger dexterity?

It’s the ability to perform small, precise hand movements with flow and accuracy.

Your child’s dexterity is based on efficient development of foundation skills including:

  • proprioception (sense of self and body movement)
  • tactile processing (how our bodies interpret information from our sense of touch)
  • proximal stability (mobility and strength through the core)
  • muscle strength.

How can I help my child develop?

Here are some activities that you can do with your child to help develop their finger dexterity. You could:

  • make paper balls and show your child how to flick them with their thumb and finger
  • tear paper into strips with your child’s thumbs on top of the paper with one hand pulling towards them and the other pushing away
  • place pegs or paper clips around a square of strong card, or make a chain with the paper clips
  • line up dominoes to demonstrate the ‘domino theory’
  • ask your child to make different shapes using sand or shaving foam.

More ideas include:

  • threading beads and buttons onto pipe cleaners and progress onto lace. Make sure your child steadies the pipe cleaner/lace with one hand and manipulates the bead/button with the other
  • posting coins or large buttons into a plastic tub with a slot cut out of the lid. Progress on to smaller buttons and smaller slots made from cardboard
  • hiding buttons or beads in play-doh or theraputty for your child to find. Encourage the pincer grasp, pulling and tearing of the putty.