7 Activities to Improve Motoric Separation of the Two Sides of the Hand

What is motoric separation, you ask? Your hand has two sides; the first three fingers of your hand is one group, and the fourth and fifth fingers are the second group. The ability to use both sides of the hand separately is considered motoric separation. This skill is important for tasks such as holding a pencil, holding scissors, or manipulating buttons and zippers. Activities that focus on in-hand manipulation are a great way to improve these skills. 

Simple ways to work on motoric-separation:

  • Flip coins
  • Roll playdough into small balls
  • Squeeze a spray bottle with the pointer and middle fingers
  • Pick up small items (i.e small cereal, beads, coins) with the fingers of one hand and tuck them into the palm of the hand
  • Then, release the above items, using that same hand. for example putting coins into a piggy bank or beads into a cup
  • Hold a cotton ball in your palm with the ring and middle finger while coloring, writing or even when cutting
  • Cut a kitchen sponge into 1 -inch by 1-inch pieces. Wet the sponge squares.  Place one sponge square in the palm, and hold it in place with the pinkie and ring fingers. Then hold the other sponge square with the remaining fingers, (thumb, pointer and middle). Have the child try to squeeze the water out of the sponge squares, first just using the pinkie and ring finger, then using the thumb, pointer and middle

Respectfully submitted by: JJ Schweikert, MOT, OTR/L

References: 1) AOTA 2) The OT Toolbox

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