In-hand manipulation allows you to improve your grasping skills by shifting and rotating a pen or pencil within your hand during writing tasks. These skills help you move a pencil to erase an error and then smoothly return to writing. 

These activities may help develop your in-hand manipulation skills: 

  • Playing finger tug-of-war by grasping objects with your index finger and thumb 
  • Flipping cosmetic wedges between the tips of your fingers and thumb 
  • Moving your fingers down and up a pencil, using the tips of your fingers 
  • Flipping a pencil from the writing position to the erasing position 
  • Rotating quarters between your fingertips 
  • Rotating a detergent cap or milk cap forward and backward 
  • Squirreling and desquirreling items such as dimes or paper clips in and out of your palm 
  • Drawing small circles or circling within circles 
  • Making small pea-sized balls out of Theraputty® or clay using your thumb and index finger
  • or thumb, index finger, and middle finger 
  • Stringing beads 
  • Threading pipe cleaners through a coffee lid 
  • Lacing tennis shoes 
  • Threading a large sewing card 

Ask your therapist if you have questions about the activities listed above. 

Ideas adapted from Mary Benbow’s hand skills. 

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.