Strengthening Handwriting Muscles

Some children really battle to control the pressure while they write and weak fine motor muscles lead to fine or dark and irregular writing.

Play some pressure games to strengthen the finger fine motor muscles:

playdough pile

Image by jimmiehomeschoolmom via Flickr

Play dough is soft and easy to press and mould.

plasticine is denser and tough. Warm it up by rolling and stretching a ball.


Roll play dough sausages.

Stick fingers and make holes in little sausages they have rolled.

Make pinch pots.

Use a pizza cutter and cut long strips pressing down hard with forefinger.

Press toothpicks and prick patterns in the strips they cut with the pizza cutter.

Playing with Playdough

Image by wickenden via Flickr

Make zigzags with a pencil in a tile they have rolled.

Use play dough knife to cut deep and shallow grooves.

Make balls, flatten and press cuts all around the edge of the circles.

Pull out little beads/ Lego pieces buried in play dough balls.

Roll and press patterns in the play dough using a piece of rope.  Then let them cut along the rope imprint using a play knife or pizza cutter.

Use plastic clothes pegs to practice pinching with the thumb and forefinger.

Clothes pegs

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s some ziplock bag / workbox ideas:

Place mixed coloured pegs and plastic rulers of the same colours in the bag.  Let the child match the colour peg to the ruler and peg all of those colours along the ruler.

Put different coloured stacking cups in a bag with an assortment of pegs. The child sorts and then places the pegs along the rim of each cup.

Make number dot and peg cards.  The child counts and places a peg over each dot on each cards. (On the card with 1  and 1 dot, place the peg over the 1 dot.)

Place alphabet/number cards and pegs in a bag.  The child pegs the cards on a wash line in order.

Tearing and crunching paper, tissue paper or foil:

Tissue collage

Image by StarWatcher307 via Flickr

Tear tissue paper and create a colourful collage.

Use tissue paper and tear, then crunch little balls of paper to use in art – as flowers on a tree/ snow/hail in a picture/ flowers in a field.

Colour in a square of paper and then tear it into little blocks with both hands using the thumbs and forefingers in opposite directions.  Then paste the squares as a collage.

Tin Foil

Image by pasukaru76 via Flickr

Use tinfoil and mould the foil in shapes.

Crunch foil in balls and paste on a collage.

Create a 3D foil model/mobile/abstract art.

As you can see, there are endless activities that strengthen fine motor muscles required for handwriting.

These exercises are fun!  The child has no idea that he/ she is doing therapy.

So, if handwriting books frustrate, or if your child is not ready for handwriting, put the books aside and PLAY! 🙂

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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