School is around the corner, so it’s a good time to work on strengthening hand muscles to help dysgraphia. There are so many things that can be done with household items, and to make it even better, most of these activities and games are fun!
- Squirt guns are ideal for strengthening hand muscles used in writing. You can also use spray bottles. Set up targets like empty plastic bottles, and have your child aim at them.
- Give your child a spray bottle or a squirt gun. Place a ping pong ball in the middle of a table, preferably outdoors. Your child is to have an opponent (you, a sibling, or a friend). Draw a line down the middle of the table or mark it with masking tape. Each opponent stands at one side of the table with his/her squirt gun or spray bottle. When you say “go” both opponents spray the ping pong ball, trying to move it across the other end of the table. The winner is the one who gets it across the table first. Play multiple times and enjoy getting wet.
- Get a bag of sand from a hardware store or gardening supply store. Fill a plastic pail with the sand and get it thoroughly wet. Give your child a scoop, such as a large measuring spoon or cup. Have your child scoop the wet sand out of the pail and place it on a tarp or plastic sheet. When your child has scooped all of the sand out, he/she can make a sand castle. When the sand castle is finished, have your child scoop the sand back into the pail.
- Buy some kitchen sponges and a plastic pail. Fill the pail with water. Place the sponges in the pail of water until they are soaked thoroughly. Have your child take a sponge out of the pail and squeeze all of the water out of it. Your child should then grab another sponge and repeat the process. Have your child use his/her dominant hand first, then have him/her repeat the process with his/her other hand.
- Get an empty plastic ketchup and mustard bottle and fill with water. Have two children or you and your child go outside and squeeze the bottles full of water at each other until the water is gone. Try to do this without laughing!
- Make a large chalkboard or buy one. Give your child a wet sponge and have him/her write letters and words on the chalkboard.
- Make hand grippers with balloons and flour. Fill the balloons with flour and tie off the ends. You can decorate the filled balloons if you’d like or have your child help you. When finished, have your child squeeze the filled balloons with both hands.
This is only one step in the process of helping a student overcome dysgraphia, but it is an important one!