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we are finding that the children in the nursery are not developing there fine motor skills so we are going to set up a table dedicated to this area has anyone out there got any ideas of things to put out so far we have come up with : play dough, sewing , cutting, pincers with small objects,

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You've mentioned a good few so far... how about -


threading - cotton reals, chunky beads progressing to smaller ones as the children get older, dried pasta

objects that have a screwing action

shape sorters and 'posting' toys

pegs of various sizes with boards

craft activites with smaller decorations - sequins etc (obviously according to age)

Woodwork - hammer, nails (accounting for individual supervision and H&S policies!)

Lots of mark making opportunities with chunky pens, pencils, drawing, writing, tracing opportunities...


Hope that helps - it's getting late and I need my zzzzzzzz....

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I know you already have the pincer/small objects but I find that pegs are excellent. I do use the pincers and small objects but sometimes find it leads to frustration as though they can 'operate' the pincers they have not got the control to actually pick the object up.

I use a variety of coloured pegs on a bowl and they love taking them off the rim and putting them in the bowl and of course taking them out and putting them back on the rim - it's also great for colour recognition. I know of other people who do the same but with a plate. The small square lego bricks and the tiny 'half' squares are good too. We have some plastic templates in various shapes that have holes in and a lace secured at one end, great for threading, beads and laces are another idea, how about a selection of buttons for sorting and that's about all I can think of for now!

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Collct together a finger gym,which is basically a basket or box with things that need little fingers too work but that are attractive and appealling to children some items in ours are


old clocks,radios etc

spinnig tops

squeezy toys

etch a sketch

wind up toys

things with buttons,switches


Also a peg game we play is excellent for pincer grips

lots of colourful pegs cardboard plates a sand timer or cooking timer

ready set go how many can you put a round your plate,which colour could you collect this time?etc(ofsted loved this)

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Trigger spray bottles are great strengtheners


Jar tops - opening/closing or other twisting toys

Bead Frames


Eye droppers (Good for developing pincer grasp)

The velcro fruit which you can cut

Hammer toys

Stickers with Peel off backing

Lacing cards

Buttons, fasteners etc

Finger printing


The list could go on forever....


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Although already mentioned, I bought a selection of different sized metal nuts and bolts from the local B&Q, the children love these either on their own or we have some plastic mechanno type things with holes in, which they join together with the bolts.


Chopsticks and pasta or other items to pick up. Very popular with our Chinese New Year theme, must remember to do this other times of the year. It was amazing how much concentration, problem solving, perseverance and skill the children showed using the chopsticks.



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I think I've mentioned this one before, elsewhere, but its worth repeating.

Icing sugar sprinkled on a clean surface or plastic mat. Lick your forefinger and get drawing!. Then lick your finger again and carry on! Works a treat, even with the most reluctant children. can get a bit sticky tho. If you can get some see-through mats its great to put bold images or their names (again big and bold) on a piece of paper underneath for them to trace.

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What could help for a child who has a very weak hand strength? He had some difficulty holding a pencil. He is doing a bit better now (with the froggy leg), but he still lacks strength. When he draws a picture, you can hardly see it.


Thanks in advance for your help.

Edited by SmileyPR
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Hand Strengtheners:

Playdough - squeezing, rolling, squashing, making holes with fingers/implements

Tearing paper into strips and crumpling them into balls

Scrunch up piece of newspaper in one hand

Trigger sprays (Plant sprayer)


Shaking dice in cupped hand allowing air around dice

Clothes Pegs - squeezing

Eye droppers (pipettes)

Squishy balls

Finger puppets

Drawing with finger or implement in sand, on back, rice etc etc

Finger Rhymes

Wheelbarrow walking

crab walking

Pushing up against a wall

Basically any fine motor skill will help

Ensure he has stability i.e. can put both feet flat on the floor when working and is sitting correctly



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A word of caution about the icing sugar - make sure you don't have any diabetics first!

Stretching a small elastic band using thumb and forefinger is another strengthener.

Your occupational therapist should be able to provide you with a list of hand and finger activities.

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I agree with everything everyone has said, but along with the warning about diabetics I would add that you might be aware of any potential latex sensitivity.(It might seem weird, but it is actually my own problem - I had a very bad reaction to some 'fingered' balls in the baby room recently :o )


Sue :D

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