Dexterity Activities for Kids

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha has Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology, as well as a Bachelor's in Marketing. She has extensive experience creating & teaching curricula in college level education, history, English, business and marketing.

Helping students fine-tune their dexterity is key in school. This lesson discusses many types of activities and games for students to increase their dexterity while still having fun.

Dexterity

Dexterity, which involves fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, helps students of all ages participate effectively in sports, be less clumsy in day-to-day activities, and perform better in certain school assignments. While many students will seemingly have no dexterity issues, some students may have dexterity disorders like dyspraxia, which creates physical obstacles for them to be able to play and learn with other students.

Regardless of ability, activities and games that focus on dexterity and fine motor skills are important because they help students increase the muscles in their fingers, hands and wrists, while also increasing coordination. By making a variety of fine motor skill activities available to your students, you can ensure that there will be an activity for everyone.

K-3rd Grade Dexterity Activities and Games

As teachers, you have a wide variety of neat products to help students work on dexterity. Play dough and finger paints are highly recommended because while they are fun activities for kids, they also help students use their fingers and increase muscle strength. Some of the activities you can do with these products are:

  • Have students create play dough in the classroom. This gets their hands involved in the mushing and melding of the materials together. The process of creating shapes help the students use their fingers, hands, and muscles in a specific motion. To increase the complexity, you can ask the student to make specific shapes, like a heart, a snowman, or a house. This has the students concentrating on specific hand movements to ensure the dough is shaped correctly.
  • Finger painting is also a fun and messy dexterity activity. Just make sure that the images require lines and concentration, which will take dexterity. Rainbows, boxes, circles, or mazes are good for younger kids. Older ones that are still finger painting can do trees and nature. Structures like houses, barns, and buildings can also work for focusing on angles, lines, and even spacing.

Finger Painting Artist
Artist

Other unique activities for students this age are:

  • Making necklaces where students have to thread beads or macaroni onto string or yarn. This is not only fun for kids to have to wear, but is also a good activity for hand-eye coordination. Students have to thread the yarn or string into a pasta noodle, and then make sure the hold onto the other end of the string so the pasta or beads do not fall off.
  • Using looms, which involves the hands and fingers constantly moving to correctly weave the material, is very good for finger strength and coordination. Students can have fun and produce a product that they can take home. The yarn having to be weaved up and down inside other yarns, while also moving left and right, works on all aspects of dexterity for kids.

Don't forget the games! Games make learning fun and can at the same time work on dexterity.

  • Pick a certain area on the playground to set this game up. Place a set of 6 buckets at each end of the area - one end filled with water, the other end empty. Have the kids start at the filled water buckets. Have the students fill a sponge ball, then run to the other end and squeeze it out into the empty bucket. Whoever fills the bucket to the line the quickest, wins! Prepare to get wet! This works on hand and foot dexterity as well as hand-eye coordination by having students trying to hold the wet sponge without squeezing and get it to the bucket without falling.
  • The egg on the spoon game is also fun. This takes hand-eye coordination and balance. Have kids line up at the end of the room, each with a spoon with a hard-boiled egg on it. Then have them walk quickly across the class while not allowing the egg to fall. If you have smaller children, or kids with more challenged fine motor skills, you can use large scoop spoons or ice cream scoops.

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