What is Finger Gym?

Who is Finger Gym for?

We can prepare children’s hands for learning to write long before they have to pick up writing tools.

When children start writing and drawing, their fingers and hands have to work as hard as marathon runner’s legs.

No one tries to run a marathon without doing some training first. Finger Gym can provide that training.

What is Finger Gym?

Finger Gym is a comprehensive programme of developmental games, stories, rhymes and activities to improve fine motor skills, language and handwriting.

It helps to develop strong, flexible fingers, hands and arms. It promotes better hand-eye co-ordination, differentiated movement and manual dexterity. It fosters children’s use and understanding of spoken language. It builds cognitive abilities and provides opportunities to practise self-regulation.

The time spent enjoying the games and activities will help children to build the secure foundation required for the acquisition of legible, rapid and fluent handwriting.

Who would benefit?

  • All children from 9 months to 9 years
  • Older children with special educational needs, e.g. speech, language and communication difficulties, difficulties with gross and fine motor control
  • Gifted and talented children with poor handwriting
  • Children learning English as an additional or foreign language
  • Children and adults who are learning to play a musical instrument
  • Adults with impaired fine motor or language skills, e.g. after a stroke

Learning English as a Foreign Language

  • The process of successfully learning a foreign language replicates in many ways the process by which a child first learns the mother tongue. Essential for both processes is a rich linguistic environment that reflects the culture.
  • Nursery rhymes, songs, nonsense verses and other verbal rituals are more than amusements for young ears. They provide practice in getting our tongues round strange sounds. They help to provide basic linguistic structures, a skeleton upon which the learners can build their language proficiency.
  • The pleasure of interaction, communication, shared laughter, rhyme and rhythm ensure that we rapidly build our linguistic competence effortlessly and unconsciously.
  • When we use rhymes accompanied by actions, children will at first concentrate on getting the action right, but in time they will also be able to recite the rhyme as they move their fingers, and in the process they will eventually internalise the pronunciation and the meaning of the words.

Finger Gym Anywhere and Anytime

  • You can do Finger Gym anywhere and anytime. All you need is your hands.
  • Finger Gym activities can be used by teachers, nursery practitioners or by parents and carers whenever children have to wait: on journeys by public transport; during fire drills; in queues; in doctors’ waiting rooms, etc.
  • At school you can make a few minutes every day – at carpet time, to start circle time, before an assembly, etc. Whenever children work with pens and pencils their fingers become very tense and lose flexibility.
  • Finger Gym activities are therefore ideal for use as warm ups before writing or for short breaks during academic activities. Short warming up exercises will help to prepare the hand and finger muscles for writing and drawing.
  • Brief Finger Gym breaks during and after writing and drawing tasks will help to take away tension, allowing tired fingers to relax, rest and become re-energised.
  • Ideally, of course, regular Finger Gym sessions will be of the most benefit. It’s in your hands.

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