Practical Skills for Pre-School

Practical Skills for Primary School

Practical Skills for Secondary School

Practical Skills in FE and University


Practical Skills for Pre-School

Activities to strengthen hands

Activities to Strengthen hands

Ideas to Help

Everyday tasks that involve carrying, pushing and pulling items such as boxes, blocks, wagons, carts, cars and doll’s buggies are excellent for natural muscle-building. Also adding extra weight will help increase resistance.  

Using an oven baster to squeeze out paint to make pictures, or in the bath to squirt water or to pick up small objects such as pasta or light bulbs.

Activities that involve tearing paper, especially stronger papers like sugar paper are good. The paper can be used to make a collage and papier mache. Balloons of different shapes can be used to plaster the papier mache on to. It can then be painted and made into animals for example, or other things. Make collages and textured pictures.

Using a single hole punch (purchased from any good stationery store) the child can punch along the outside of a shape to make his/her own lacing card. If you use strong paper they can then lace the card when they have finished punching.

Encourage the child to play with play dough. As strength increases, move to plasticine and clay – rolling, squeezing, and smashing. Play games such as making food for dinner, or animal or letter shapes (whatever interests the child). Collect up all the play dough and squeeze it all into a ball again to start afresh. Hide pennies in the dough and roll into a ball. Encourage the child to pull the dough apart to find the pennies. Roll out the dough into thick sausages and squeeze the fingers to make dinosaurs.

Allow  the child to help you in the kitchen with your left over pastry – rolling it out and cutting shapes with cookie cutters or squashing it in their hands.

Games played with clothes pegs are good for developing strength. Think of different ways of opening and closing the clothes pegs, such as using the thumb and index finger, or thumb and little finger. Play a game where you pretend to hang washing on the line or clip the pegs on to an animals tail (piece of cloth). Place them around the edge of a shoebox and roll a dice. Take off the pegs according to the number of the dice.

Play with construction toys which require strength to push together and pull apart. If the hands are quite weak start with magnetic blocks, and move to Velcro blocks and stickle bricks. Once the task becomes easier try using smaller bricks and blocks.