Small Muscle Games for Handwriting

Summary:  Fun small muscle games for handwriting, build fine motor skills for handwriting, fine motor control, strengthening the hand, fine motor activities for homeschoolers. Fun games for handwriting.  Tips for homeschooling handwriting.

Are your little ones struggling with writing their letters? Or do they have trouble holding their pencil comfortably or grasp it very tightly? 

Or maybe you have a child who hates working in his handwriting book.....  

How about taking a break and doing some fun small muscle games instead?

Today, I'd like to share specific activities that are fun to do, and can help your kids to:

1.  Develop hand strength
2.  Finger Coordination
3.  Learn about the mature grasp pattern

Often handwriting struggles come from either a lack of hand strength or poor fine finger coordination.  

These things can be improved by using fun, playful games.... And that can give your child a break from their handwriting routine, too!

Let's start with fun ways to develop hand strength...


A fun way to strengthen the finger muscles.

Squirt Bottle Art Activity

Squirt Bottle Art builds wrist and finger strength.  This is one of the small muscle activity cards from Play Pack - Fine Motor Focus.

In Squirt Bottle Art, the child squirts colored water onto a sheet a paper that is taped to the fridge high up. 

That places the wrist in the right position for strength building.  

Next, I have an activity that good for strengthening the whole hand and the fingers, too.  It's called Pizza Party.

Do it with playdough, or do it with biscuit dough, and make a snack of it!
The Pizza Party Activity

Pizza Party is another great activity from the Play Pack cards.

First, your child makes a pizza from play dough, or biscuit dough, then cuts the pizza into slices with scissors.

It's FUN and strengthening at the same time! 

Adding toppings to the pizza, etc can provide even more helpful practice.  Have your child use the tips of his fingers to mold little tiny balls of clay/dough.

Make tiny balls of clay for pizza toppings! For more activities, go to and  

Next, let's look at finger coordination...


Play Pack - Fine Motor Review

Activities such as cutting, drawing, finger painting, lego building, playing jacks, and playdough are all great activities to develop the finger muscles.  

The Cotton Ball Catch is a super on for coordination development.  

For more finger muscle activities, click here.

And finally, let's look at activities that can help develop a mature grasp of the pencil...


Developing a mature grasp pattern takes time.  In fact, little ones naturally start with a whole hand grasp, using the whole hand to grab their crayon or pencil.

Kids often start with this “palmar grip” pattern, which means holding the crayon in the palm of the hand, with the fingers wrapped around it.  

What does a mature grasp look like?  It can vary a lot, but here is a photo of what is often looks like:


Some kids naturally move to a mature grasp pattern, over the years, as they grow, but some don't. 

Here's a fun game, to help encourage this more mature grasp:

Bubble Wrap Maze

For the Bubble Wrap Maze activity: 

Just get a piece of bubble wrap and let your kids pop the bubbles.

Popping the bubbles with the thumb, index and ring fingers, pressing together, like in the picture above can really help.

Make it a game and pinch along a path on the bubble wrap! Click here for two more helpful activities for small muscle development.  

I have another post on grasp here, with lots more activities to try. 

If your child is really struggling, consider taking a break from their handwriting program, and let them play with these activities instead!  Here's some more ideas for that....Just put these titles in the search bar on my blog for:

Teach Your Kids to Write - Frugal Resources
Develop Hand Strength with Clay Fun - Strengthening with Clay Fun and great for teens, too.

If your child really struggles with handing his or hers pencil, click here to aids for that:
Aids, Devices for Grasp - Grasping Aids and Devices

"This is a great idea as when a child is struggling with writing they will not want to write, but they may want to play a “game!” Great post, BJ’s Homeschool." 

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled from preK through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting

Want to stay in touch?

This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.

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  1. Great ideas for working on handwriting - without working on handwriting! ;) Thank you!

  2. Thanks, Jennifer, for stopping by, and sharing your thoughts on not working on handwriting! I hope these ideas will help make learning to write for your kids, more fun and less of a chore.

  3. Great ideas. We have two children on the autism spectrum that also deal with small motor problems. I'm going to try these!

    Tim @ Families Again

    1. Thanks, Tim @ Families Again, for stopping by, and I hope that this helps your precious kids with their small motor development.

  4. More great fine motor! Thanks for linking up!

  5. Thanks, Jen Altman! These small muscle activitites were created by OT's who were worked with kids who struggled with handwriting.

  6. Love these ideas! My boys both struggle, will definitely be trying some of these.

  7. So glad to hear that, and I hope these will help your two boys!


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