For those of you who exercise regularly, you know how important it is to stretch and warm up before going for a run or hitting the gym. Similarly, it is a good idea to warm up the hands before writing. Children’s hands are small, and in turn the muscles that control the pencil for refined movement are very small and tend to tire quickly. Strengthening and stretching them before beginning homework can help your child go the distance. Also, if you notice your child’s handwriting deteriorating while he/she is completing homework, take 2-3 minutes to stretch and re-boot the muscles. It is a small investment of time, but the payoff can be huge.
Finger Opposition: Hold your fingers next to your ears. Touch your thumb to each finger from index finger to pinkie and back again.
Spider Mirrors: Put hands together at palms. Touch each fingertip on the right hand to the corresponding fingertip on the left hand. Bring fingertips in towards the middle to form a “spider” and then out.
Wrist Stretches: Extend your right arm out in front with palm down. Use your opposite left hand to bend (extend) your wrist and fingers towards your body while keeping your arm straight out in front. Repeat on the other side.
Pencil Walk: Start by grasping the pencil or wand near the point with 3 fingers. Use fingers to walk up and down a pencil or wand 5 times. Do this slowly and do not let the pencil wobble or fall.
Pencil Twirl: Hold the middle of a pencil or wand with the thumb opposite the index and middle fingers. Rotate the pencil 10 times away from the thumb, then 10 times toward the thumb. (Do not rotate it back and forth- it requires less control.)
Push Palms: Align your palms and fingers and push into the opposing hand.
Pull Hands: With your left palm facing up and your right palm facing down, curl your fingers and try to pull your hands apart, then reverse.
Blog written by:
Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR/L
Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPS, OTR/L, Director of POTS