You use your thumb, index, and middle finger to use a pen or pencil. Your ring finger and little finger stabilize the arch of the hand and allow for better control of a pen or pencil. As your child grows, he or she will begin to develop this skill. 

These activities help you develop the sides of your hand to improve handwriting skills: 

  • Writing while holding a small object like a penny or cosmetic sponge under your ring and little finger 
  • Cutting with scissors placing your index finger as a guide, thumb in the top hole, and middle finger in the bottom hole. Start with simple activities and gradually make them more difficult. For example, begin with straws, then try tag board or playing cards, then construction paper, and end with paper. 
  • Using squirt guns or spray bottles 
  • Using a hose sprayer to wash the car 
  • Snapping your fingers 
  • Unscrewing small caps, such as toothpaste, bottle or shampoo caps 
  • Squirreling and desquirreling items, such as dimes or paper clips, in and out of your palm 
  • Rolling tiny balls of clay with your fingertips; keep your ring and little finger in your palm 
  • Practicing using large tweezers to pick up cotton balls or pennies 
  • Using eye droppers filled with food coloring to make designs on coffee filters 
  • Placing coins into a piggy bank 
  • Tying a knot in shoelace licorice 

Ask your therapist if you have any 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.