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Fine Motor Skills Activities for Adults

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  • 0:03 Background on Fine…
  • 1:08 Fine Motor Skill Activities
  • 4:59 A Fine Motor Skill Kit
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: April Gwen Ellsworth

April has a master's degree in psychology and has experience teaching special populations from preschoolers to adults.

Try some of these engaging and effective activities with adults who need to improve their fine motor skills. Remember that keeping things fun and interesting will increase motivation and accelerate improvement.

Background on Fine Motor Skills

For adults who have experienced a stroke or injury affecting their fine motor coordination, engaging in regular, repeated activities for specific affected areas makes a remarkable difference. Fine motor skills are those used to make small, coordinated movements with the hands and fingers and require the cooperation of the muscular, skeletal, and neurological systems.

You can help adults essentially rewire the brain; the more the affected areas are worked, the faster the brain relearns movements. In addition, applying the principals of constrained-induced movement therapy accelerates improved performance. This entails forcing the affected side to work while isolating the strong side.

Fine motor skills encompass specific finger and hand movements. Encourage the individual to devote four to six hours a day engaged in the activities that are most interesting to him or her. And remember to celebrate every small accomplishment. A little encouragement goes a long way, and with consistency, results are inevitable.

Fine Motor Skills Activities

Finger isolation is being able to move just one finger at a time, perhaps to point or scratch an itch. A few activities that strengthen this skill are:

  • Shooting marbles into a box
  • Thinking about moving one finger only, even if just a twitch at a time

Pincer grasp requires grasping an object between the thumb and index finger, such as when planting seeds in a flower garden. Many activities for adults mentioned in this lesson strengthen the pincer grasp, but a few that focus particularly on this skill are:

  • Turning pages in a book
  • Picking up and attaching paper clips to paper
  • Stacking pennies

Thumb opposition refers to strengthening the web space between the thumb and index finger and requires the cooperation of the other fingers, allowing one to hold a glass of water with one hand, for example. Some activities for adults include:

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