Hand Strengthening Tips from OT Kelsey Helgesen!

January 31, 2016



We had a great time in January with our guest speaker, Occupational Therapist, Kelsey Helgesen, and the awesome families who turned up for some tips on hand strengthening!  I learned a bunch and I was so glad for all the extra info!! We should be posting a video soon of the workshop, but I just wanted to share with the T21 Rocks! family who couldn't make it, some neat tips to help your loved ones get those hands and fingers stronger and better coordinated!

- Need to work on spoon feeding, or drinking from a cup?  The best time is in the bath!  Work on putting some water in a cup and dumping the water onto their chest, to mimic the action of tipping a cup into their mouths!  Bring a spoon into a bubble bath and work on scooping up bubbles and putting them in a cup!  Remember to have lots of patience, and above all have fun!! Kids are much more motivated to learn when they are excited about what they are doing!  When working on cup drinking out of the bath you only want to put enough liquid in the cup for one to two sips for safety.  Place the cup in your child's hands and your hands over, and help them bring the cup to their lips.

- Need some help getting dressed?  Help putting on pants or socks?  It can be hard to learn how to pull your pants past your thighs, or to pull socks over your ankles.  Have your child do as much as they can, and then assist them over those harder areas with hand over hand, and allow them to finish up by themselves.    

- Buttons, zippers, or laces problems?  Get Creative!! You can get a piece of fabric from an old shirt and sew buttons and cut slits yourself;  or sew on a zipper; or cut holes and thread through a shoe string!  Then you can give it to your child and work on it without the pressure of actually wearing what you want to work on.

-Need to build wrist muscle?  Work on pop beads .  This will increase your hand eye coordination as well as build strength in your wrists.  Keep around old water bottles or baby food jars and lightly close them.  With hand over hand help your loved one work on opening the jar.  Playdoh is a great tool, and clay is even better - rolling and pulling are great for wrist strength.

-Wheelbarrow walk! 

Get your kiddo belly down on the floor, as they lift to crawl, lift their legs and try to get them to walk on their hands.  This will increase both hand and wrist strength, as well as upper back strength!  You can also get your kiddo on a skateboard on their belly using their arms to move forwards!

-Need help putting on lotion, or washing yourself in the bath?  One great tip if your kiddo is unaware of some areas that need soap or lotion - just put a little glob of soap or lotion where it needs to be!  Then tell them to get that area.  This works! I cannot get her to put lotion on her nose or forehead, so I just dabbed it on, told her to rub it in, and she did!! Feeling the cold lotion made her aware of the spots she usually overlooked :)

-Stress balls, and push ups are great ways to improve hand strength as well.  If your child's handwriting needs some improvement you may want to consider adding these to the daily routine.

-Hand coordination problems?  You could work on string games (remember Cat's Cradle?) or Hand games for hand eye coordination.  Another great coordination tool are peg boards and rubber bands.  You have to use finesse to pulls the rubber bands around the pegs.  As you get more skilled, you can manipulate the bands more and more.  http://www.amazon.com/VIAHART-Rubber-Wooden-Board-Pegboard/dp/B00P5WTBA8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1454737226&sr=8-4&keywords=rubber+band+board

I just wanted to share these tips for anyone to gain a little extra knowledge but couldn't make it!  Thank you soo much Kelsey for coming out and sharing your time and your expertise with our families!!  We really loved having you, and we learned so much! 

Please reload

Featured Posts

Happy Down Syndrome Month!!!

October 24, 2019

Please reload

Recent Posts

April 10, 2016

Please reload