Fine Motor Development- Developing the Elbow

Fine Motor Development- Developing the Elbow

The elbow is the is a critical piece for the stability of the wrist and hand when doing fine motor tasks. The elbow allows us to hold tools like pencils and scissors in a comfortable distance from the body, and hold the tool in the best angle for its use.

So how can you tell if someone needs work on developing their elbow? Here are some signs:

  1. Writing with their hand-held off the table or writing surface.
  2. Using scissors with the wrong position (thumb facing down).
  3. Difficulty with finger play like “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.
  4. Difficulty with turning the knob of the door.

What can you do to help develop the elbow? Here are some games:

  1. Carry a small ball or marble in a spoon at arm’s length out. Watch the elbow and try to have the child gradually move the elbow away from their body developing a straighter arm. The further the elbow is away from the body the more developed the elbow is.
  2. Take a small ball in one hand. Have the child hold the top hand on a palm down position, drop the ball from the upper hand, and catch it in the cupped palm of the lower hand. Then alternate the hands so the one on top drops and then moves down to catch the ball. To increase the difficulty have the hands be further apart, and even try having them close their eyes!

Adapted from Zaner- Bloser, Fine Motor Development: Activities to Develop Hand Skills in Young Children.