Children with articulation delay often have fine motor delay. At times, a consultation with an occupational therapist (OT) is necessary. Other times children may simply need to be exposed to the types of activities listed below to encourage development of the hand muscles.
Encourage the writing fingers (see picture above) to do the work during precise fine motor activities. While holding a marker or crayon, encourage a proper grip (see picture at right).
During writing and many other fine motor tasks, the writing fingers (thumb, pointer and middle fingers) are active, while the pinky and ring fingers stay tucked in, secure against the palm.
Proper use of the fingers lays the foundation for higher level fine motor skills like writing letters and tying shoes.
- Mr. Potato Head
- Crayons – try coloring with small, broken crayons to encourage a better grip.
- Pip-Squeaks Markers
- Stickers – peel off stickers with pincer grasp and place them on a vertical surface (piece of paper taped to the wall).
- Magnetic Sets
- Wikki Stix
- String large beads or dried pasta – make a noodle necklace!
- Place coins in a bank – you can make a slit in a coffee cup top.
- Playdoh, Silly Putty – break off small pieces and roll them into balls between the pads of the thumb and pointer finger. Then, squish the small balls between the thumb and pointer finger. You can also roll and squish between the thumb and middle finger, thumb and ring finger and thumb and pinky. Place toothpicks or thin birthday candles into Playdoh and make a birthday cake!
- Glue dry macaroni – make a collage
- Scissor work – make sure the thumb stays facing upwards. Begin with My First Fiskars and promptly transition to a kids blunt tip.
- Standard hole punchers or try challenging shape punchers
- Lacing cards (or make your own with a hole puncher)
- Clothes pins – pinch them onto the edge of a container or a dishcloth. Alternate fingers (first squeeze with thumb and pointer, then thumb and middle finger, then thumb and ring finger and finally thumb and pinky).
- Paper clips – connect colorful clips
- Practice fasteners (buttons, snaps, buckles, zippers)
- Eat with Farm or Fish sticks
- Blunt tweezers – pick up small cotton balls and transfer them from one cup to another.
- Unifix cubes
- Lite Brite – you may like the travel size
- Small Pop Beads
- Pick Up Sticks
- Keychains like these are fun to connect. I recommend purchasing them from a hardware store where they will have more resistance than from a therapy toy catalogue.
- Theraputty – Choose a texture that will slightly challenge your child and then increase the resistance with a firmer texture. Hide pennies inside and encourage your child to find them.