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Games to Improve Fine Motor Skills
By: IHI
10.20.14 Monday
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Fine motor skills are needed to successfully tie your shoes, eat with utensils, and pick up small objects. Though most people naturally develop their fine motor skills, some people we work with at the Idaho Hand Institute need to improve their skills because of an injury, surgery or progressive disease. Young children, stroke survivors and people affected by various disabilities can work to increase their fine motor skills. Here are some fun ways how: Puzzle Pieces:

Put together jigsaw puzzles. You must manipulate, pick up and place each piece. To make a fun game out of it, you can time how long it takes to put a puzzle together, or have a puzzle for each person. They must race each other to get their puzzle done first.

Pick-up Sticks:

This game can be played with a store-bought set of “sticks”, or can be played with ordinary household objects, like pencils, pens or drinking straws. Hold all the “sticks” in a group in one hand. Let them fall. One person tries to remove one “stick” without moving any of the others. If they are successful, they can go again. However, if they disturb any of the other “sticks”, the next player takes a turn. Continue until all the “sticks” are picked up. The winner is whoever has the most sticks at the end of the game.

Tweezer Games:

Take turns picking up small objects with a pair of tweezers. You can pick up small round cereal pieces, marshmallows, cotton balls or raisins. As you pick up an object, drop it into your container. You may take another turn as long as you successfully pick up an object. If you do not pick up an object with the tweezers, the next person gets to go. After all the pieces are picked up, count them. Whoever collects the most objects wins the game.

Board Games:

Several traditional games help develop and increase small motor skills. Yahtzee works in several ways as you manipulate the dice, count the dice dots and write your score. Checkers and chess work as you grasp and move your pieces. You can even play simple peg board games to challenge your fine motor skills.

Finger Games:

Teach someone the silly finger game “Here is Thumbkin”. Hold both hands behind your back. Sing, “Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin?” As you bring your right hand in front of you, keeping your fingers in a fist but wiggling your right thumb in the air, sing, Here I am.” Repeat the action with your left hand and sing, “Here I am.” Make actions with your thumbs as if they are holding a conversation, saying, “How are you today, sir? Very well I thank you. Run away. Run away”. Repeat the entire song, but change fingers. Next will be pointer, then tall man, ring finger, and pinky. Your partner can sing and do the actions with you.

 For more information on how to improve your fine motor skills, please contact the Idaho Hand Institute at (208) 235-HAND (4263) or at any of our three locations: Pocatello, Blackfoot, and Soda Springs.
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