Stretching those finger muscles!

Finger and hand dexterity are essential to writing! This means that your little one needs to work on building those hand muscles. There are many ways to strengthen these muscles with everyday activities. No need for tiny dumbbells for finger exercise!


  • Encourage your baby to grab objects of interest. Plush toys are great for squeezing and shaking.
  • Point at interesting objects and try to get your baby to mirror your behavior. Pointing is an important dexterous activity.
  • Provide opportunities for weight bearing on hands. Place a pillow under baby during tummy time so they need to push themselves up with their hands.
  • Hand games like ‘Open, Shut Them’ and waving bye bye will build finger and wrist strength.

Ten Little Fingers, Two Small Hands

Clap Hands

Little Baby's Playtime


  • While reading a book together, pass the page to your toddler to turn the page.
  • Play in a sandbox.
  • Take two bowls (alternatives will work, such as old microwave meal trays or pie tins). Add water to one bowl and a small sponge (you can cut a sponge into small pieces as well). Let your toddler transfer water from the one bowl to the other by squeezing the sponge.
  • Draw and color with crayons or finger painting is a great way to be creative and build hand muscles.
  • Let your toddler help with chores around the house and in the garden (supervised, of course). Children can help pull weeds or water plants in the garden. Inside, they can help with dusting, picking up toys, putting away laundry, or any other safe activity.
  • Play with zippers, snaps, and laces. If you have an old bag with a zipper, you can pretend you are getting groceries or packing for a trip.

A Little Bit of Dirt

I Love to Finger Paint



  • Play catch with any soft toys at hand. This could be a stuffed animal, bean bag, or even a pillow.
  • Thread beads onto a string. Making patterns with colors and shapes will also engage your child’s analytical thinking.
    • An edible version of this activity is to use circular cereal (example: Fruit Loops, Honey Nut Cheerios, Apple Jacks, etc.) and licorice laces to make an edible necklace or bracelet. Yum!
  • Cook together in the kitchen. Make sandwiches or have your preschooler use a cookie cutter. Have fun together!
  • Make salt dough or use store bought dough to sculpt.
  • Use child-safe scissors and a glue stick to make a collage.

The Complete Diy Cookbook for Young Chefs

The Nitty-gritty Gardening Book

Clay Lab for Kids

- Megan Hellwig, Children’s Services Team, Kirk-Bear Canyon Library


Read, Write, Talk, Sing, Play!

When children are given a chance to explore scribbling, draw pictures, and tell stories, they are learning reading skills. Being an active participant in writing helps keep children excited about reading stories.

Read more about early literacy and how you can make a difference in your child's life.