It’s important to help students with cerebral palsy develop their fine motor skills. Use the following building and drawing activities to help your students fine tune these skills.

Fine Motor Activities

Fine motor skills refer to the small movements that the muscles in our hands and fingers can do, like picking up an object or holding a pencil. Children with cerebral palsy have less muscle tone, which impacts their fine motor skills.

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Use the following activities to help your students with cerebral palsy develop their fine motor skills. Materials include items you probably already have on hand, like beads, blocks, clay, and drawing supplies.

Building Activities

Block Towers

Have your students build a tower of five blocks, then challenge them to build a tower with ten and then 15 blocks. As they build, your students will need to control the muscles in their hands to balance the blocks, as well as use precision when placing the blocks so that their towers don’t fall over.

Lego Horseshoes

Use Legos or some other type of connecting block, and challenge your students to build several towers of different heights and then line them up. Have your students toss small plastic or rubber rings and try and land them on their block towers, just like in horseshoes. You could also consider having students challenge their peers by building towers that they think will be tricky for others to catch with a ring.

Marble Obstacle Course

Have your students create an obstacle course out of clay. Encourage them to pinch the clay to build the walls of their obstacle course. Then have your students roll a marble through the obstacle course and see if it can come out the other side.

Stringing Activities

Name Necklaces

Have your students string letter beads in order to spell their first names, which will require them to not only control the beads as they string them but also turn them face up. If your students need an extra challenge, consider having them write their middle and last names.

Bead Patterns

Using large wooden beads, have your students create a color or shape pattern on a necklace. This will have their fingers sifting through beads to find the exact colors or shapes that they’re looking for to create their patterns, as well as using their small muscles to control the beads as they string them.

Drawing Activities

Line Tracings

Draw several lines on a piece of paper: straight, zigzag, and curly; make enough copies for your students. Have your students use pencils to trace the lines as precisely as they can. You can modify this activity by making the curves in some of the lines more dramatic, requiring students to increase their control of their pencils as they trace them.

Colored Circles

On a piece of paper, draw several circles in a variety of sizes and make enough copies for your students. Have students use crayons or colored pencils to color in the circles. To make this activity more challenging, use circles in increasingly smaller and smaller sizes so that your students can show increased control of the crayons.

Other Activities

Pom Pom Balance

Turn several small paper cups upside down on a table, and spread out a variety of pom poms. Consider starting with large-size pom poms and then adding a variety of other sizes as students build their skills. Have your students use tweezers to pick up the pom poms and balance them on top of the cups.

Zippers and Buttons

Bring in a variety of jackets and sweaters, especially items that have small buttons, big buttons, and zippers. Pass out the jackets and sweaters and have your students put them on, then practice buttoning or zipping them up. You can modify this activity by having students work in pairs and button each others coats.