Why is grip strength so important for kids?
Grip strength builds hand muscles needed for all sorts of independent life skills – manipulating large objects (carrying, hanging, climbing, pulling up clothes, catching & batting) & fine motor control (grasping a pencil, picking up with pincer grasp, turning pages & opening their lunch box) just to name a few !
Exposing your kids to a number of different gross and fine motor activities, will help develop good hand strength for your child – helping prepare them for kindy, school and sports (not to mention preparing them for being a Ninja Warrior contestant in the future!)
You may have noticed lots of ways we work on hand and grip strength – Jnr Gym Kids style! Here is a snapshot of some of the ways we are helping kids grip strength & fine motor skills in the gym!
We love to climb at gymnastics. Ladders and ropes are a key part of our programs, allowing children to support their body weight and improve their grip strength. Confidence in supporting body weight is key to learning new skills.
Have you met our little chomping friends? This week at Jnr Gym Kids, our gymnasts are feeding the tennis ball chompers, having lots of fun racing for food and strengthening their grip at the same time! (see video above!)
Have you seen how our Jnr Gym Kids use pegs? Spiking dinosaurs, echidna backs & train passengers on stations just to name a few. Being able to squeeze and open a peg seems simple to us as adults, but for children, requires strength of the smaller hand muscles and co-ordination to pinch the peg. This prepares for that tricky tripod grip needed in writing. Carrying the peg along the beam and pegging an item at the end, allows gymnasts to work on their balance, core and pinch/grip strength in one fun activity!
- Weight bearing
Animal runs are a great weight bearing activity, allowing children to work on their hand and core strength, while using their imagination racing their friends.
- Ropes & Bars – hanging, gripping, pulling & pushing!
Learning to hold tight, grip and re-grip builds hand strength (and is lots of fun!)
But it doesn’t end with under 5’s. Gymnastics is great in developing fine motor skills, grip strength and core stability for school age children too – helping them feel confident and capable in the classroom, playground and on the sporting field.
Check out these 5 simple and fun activities you can work on at home, to help build grip strength in your little one:
Picking up small pieces, pulling lego apart and pushing/clicking blocks together are great ways to strengthen little hand muscles (& for most parents too – lego is hard to stop playing with!)
- Water spray bottles
Squeezing the trigger as they squirt the water on the plants, back deck or fence are great & lots of fun – add a chalk picture target for hand eye coordination!
- Craft Time
Cutting, glueing (squeezing a glue bottle), picking up small items for their masterpieces, using a hole punch or stapler all require hand strength. Never underestimate the old favourite playdough as well – squish, squeeze, roll and pull! Set up an activity table with different types of paper, card & playdough and watch them play with purpose!
- Helping at home
Helping stirring in the kitchen (pancakes, cup cakes, dough; pegging out out the clothes; washing the car (squeezing sponges) and buckling their own shoes not only engages children in their day to day life and helps improve independence, but also increases their hand strength and fine motor skills.
- Jump into gymnastics!
A gymnastics class each week is invaluable in getting your little one moving, building their strength, co-ordination and fine motor skills! All while having fun socialising with peers and coaches & bonding with parents and carers. (Delta Gym Kids)
Move, learn and grow with Delta Jnr Gym Kids!
Check out some of the great hand and grip strength activities we love at Jnr Gym Kids!: