#5 Outstanding activities to improve in-hand manipulation

So… what is in-hand manipulation you may ask?

In hand manipulation is the ability to hold and manipulate multiple items in one hand. An example could be picking up and holding 10 pens in one hand, another example could be counting and holding money in one hand, or finding the right key for your front door. It is skill that we refine over years of practise and therefore we don’t think about it, we just do it. However, if this skill is not practised your child could find it difficult to carry out everyday school tasks.

Luckily for you … We have put together #5 Outstanding activities to improve in hand manipulation

1. Board Games!

Board games may be outdated, but they are a great way to improve key fine motor skills such as in-hand manipulation! Games such as connect four and pop up pirate are excellent at promoting in hand manipulation. When playing connect four give your child the challenge of holding at least 5 counters in their hand whilst placing a counter on the board, it’s tricky. See how many counters can you hold?


2. Cutting

A great way to use up old brochures, magazines and paper is to let your child loose with the scissors (under close supervision of course!). They can create a picture or cut out all the toys they would like for Christmas/birthdays (sorry parents but at least you will have an idea of what to ask the big man for, come that time of year☺). This activity allows your child to use both hands together, and refines the skill of hand manipulation as your child turns the paper making it easier to cut. If you ask me it’s a win-win situation; create spaces in those over filled cupboards and improves your child’s skills.


3. Play dough/ modelling clay

…or something of the sort! There are many, ready available pliable children’s materials that will all be of a benefit to your child. Encourage your child to use their thumb and index finger to make pea sized balls, pick a ball up and roll the ball to their fingers tips, then hold in the palm of their hands, pick up another ball and repeat. Alternatively, ask your child to roll out a long snake shape and cut small 1cm pieces with a pair of scissors.


4. – 52 pick up!

As a child did your parents ever throw down a pack of cards and shout 52 pick up? Mine did… now it’s your turn! This game encourages your child to pick up the playing cards using their thumb and index finger, promoting the use of a functional grip. Encourage your child to pick up and hold as may cards in one hand as they can. To make the game more interesting why not have a competition or a race against the clock.


5. Threading

Ok, so there are a number of ways which this can be done, depending on the age of your child. It could be done using giant buttons and thread, or a child friendly sewing kit. Activities that involve threading encourage the use of both sides of the body, and in hand manipulation. The above named activities will require your child to manipulate the tools accordingly to achieve the desired outcome.  


So there you have it! #5 Outstanding activities to promote in hand manipulation. What are you waiting for … go and have some fun!!

Meet the Autor

Olivia James

Olivia James

Olivia James is an Occupational Therapist at OT for Kids. Through working closely with each and every child; Olivia’s role is to produce positive results for every child who accesses our service.

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  • Meet The Author

    Olivia James

    Olivia James

    Olivia James is an Occupational Therapist at OT for Kids. Through working closely with each and every child; Olivia’s role is to produce positive results for every child who accesses our service.

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