Strengthening Development

“Before we ever put a pencil in a child’s hands, those hands should dig, climb, press, push, pull, squish, twist, and pinch in a wide array of environments and with a variety of materials.” ~ Amanda Morgan


Children develop from top to bottom and inside to outside. That means they first gain control of their heads, then trunks, then legs, and, finally, feet. Also, they begin to control their cores, then arms and legs, then hands and feet. Control of the fingers and toes comes after that. 

Physical development involves both large (gross) and small (fine) muscles in the body. If those muscles have not been “worked out” and strengthened, then the refined movements required to print, for example, will be underdeveloped.

Children naturally exercise and strengthen their bodies when they are given the proper space and materials to PLAY. 

Here are just a few activities to get you thinking about different ways to help give your child’s small hand muscles a work out BEFORE you ask them to hold a pencil to write:

  • Pinching Play dough

  • Squirting with a baster or eye dropper

  • Squeezing tongs

  • Filling, dumping, pouring water

  • Tearing paper

  • Building with small blocks

  • Digging in sand or dirt

  • Squeezing glue bottles

  • Peeling tape

  • Stringing beads

  • Twisting pipe cleaners

  • And any kind of reasonably risky outdoor play!!