Fall Fine-Motor Activities to Strengthen Your Child’s Hands

Marjorie Deschner, OTRL, Occupational Therapist at Kaufman Children's Center offers some fun fall-themed activities designed to build fine-motor skills.

Fall is a great time for fine motor practice! The season brings with it cooler weather, changing leaves and much-loved holidays. This is also an opportune time to incorporate hand strengthening activities into the seasonal fun.

Make a family outing of visiting apple orchards, parks, or just your own backyard to collect materials such as leaves, apples, and pinecones. Once you’re home, your kids can use the autumnal items for play and to make art. They’ll be practicing and improving their hand skills while also having a great time and enjoying the season.

Here are just a few ideas for your kids:

  • Fall leaf hunt — take your hunt to the next level by using kitchen tongs, tweezers or a spatula to pick up the leaves.
  • Pumpkin fun — carve a pumpkin using child-safe pumpkin-carving tools and dig out the inside using spatulas or bare hands.
  • Visit an orchard — pulling apples off the trees provides good resistance, improving grasp.
  • Apple tree art — draw a tree, then crumple up red tissue paper and glue onto the paper as apples.
  • Leaf painting — paint fallen leaves, then transfer their unique patterns and textures to paper.
  • Leaf rubbing — put leaves under a sheet of paper, then rub pencils or crayons over the paper to bring their characteristics to the surface.
  • Scissor skills — depending on your child’s skill level, they can cut out simple pumpkins or more complicated jack-o-lantern or leaf shapes.
  • Leaf pile — crumple up leaves to strengthen fingers and experience the crunchy feeling, then rake them up and jump in!
  • Apple art — cut an apple in half (a parent’s job), dip it into paint and stamp the apple design onto paper.
  • Pinecone hunt — keep an eye out for cones, then take them home and decorate them with other fall items or art supplies.
  • These are just a few ideas to get you started. Once you start thinking of fall items and activities from a fine-motor perspective, you’re sure to think of lots more. Have a wonderful season!

Visit kidspeech.com for more information on Kaufman Children’s Center and speech, language, sensory motor and social connections services.

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