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Finger isolation and finger games

Why is finger isolation important?

Being able to move your fingers in isolation allows us to complete a fine motor task, especially with writing. As our writing skills mature, we make less movements with the wrist and arm and more with the fingers holding a pen or pencil.

How can I help develop my child’s finger isolation skills?

You can try various activities with your child including:

  • opposing their thumb to each individual finger
  • finger tapping quickly and loudly on a desk, or pretending to play piano and asking them to move their fingers (and thumb) quickly
  • playing finger puppets or shadow hand puppets using a torch to create a shadow on a wall
  • pointing games such as ‘I spy’ – encourage your child to point with their index finger extended outside of their fisted hand
  • using their pointing finger while reading, looking for objects in pictures, tracing shapes and numbers
  • counting on fingers one at a time

You could also encourage your child to use keypad gadgets, for example a toy cash register, telephone or calculator.

Try getting your child to pick up small light items using their dampened fingertips on each finger, for example, glitter, small beads, sequins or cut-outs from a hole puncher. You could also put tape around each fingertip, sticky side up to pick up light items.

Finger aerobics

Ask your child to grasp a pencil with a tripod grip and walk their fingers up to the top of the pencil shaft and then back down to the tip. Make sure that they maintain the tripod grip when walking their fingers up and down the pencil.