Tricky Fingers: A Fun and Affordable Game for Developing Fine Motor Skills
As a therapist, I am always looking for fun and engaging ways to help my clients develop their fine motor skills. One game that I have found to be particularly effective is Tricky Fingers. This game consists of two plastic boxes, each containing four marbles of four different colours (red, blue, yellow, and green) and a set of 12 pattern cards.
The objective of the game is to use your fingertips to push the marbles into the pattern you want without disturbing the marbles that are already in place. Tricky Fingers is an excellent tool for developing fine motor skills, as it requires precise finger movements and hand-eye coordination. It can be used with learners of all ages and abilities, and there are many ways to modify the game to make it more or less challenging depending on the individual's needs.
For younger learners, the open box can be used to introduce them to the game and develop their basic skills.
They can start by sorting the colours and counting the balls, then move on to using their fingers to place the balls in the correct order to copy the cards. Adding a tweezer to the game can also provide added fine motor fun.
Additionally, learners can build their own patterns or copy the cards provided to further develop their fine motor and spatial reasoning skills. Kids find it difficult to use the closed box and move the coloured balls into place. I normally suggest that you assist by first modelling the movements to the child.
Discuss a strategy or a plan before you start moving the balls. I find it works best if you let your child verbalize what they plan to do as they move the balls.
It could also help to cover the copy card with a blank page and move the balls, line by line.
For older learners or those looking for more challenge, pick a pattern card and try to replicate it, race against the clock to complete your pattern.The backs of the pattern cards are printed with the grid in black and all the holes are white. You can colour them in, or copy them, and make up your own patterns. Here are some more fine motor ideas to make your own cards or use copy the patterns:
Rolling small balls using only the 3 fingers ( used for writing) and place them on your card. Make sure that thumb, index and middle finger are used for rolling the balls, while the pinkie and ring finger are tugged away in the hand for support. This is an easy way of practicing the skill of mobility and stability in the hand that is later used for writing.
Kids love stickers and I always have these round stickers available for various activities. Using them to do patterns on your blank cards is a fun DIY activity.
You can create your own sequence and try to build your own cards using the Tricky Fingers box. Using stickers are also great for finger strengthening. Peeling them off one by one using only the 3 fingers used for writing.
Another favourite is using markers to colour in a sequence or copy a card. Colouring with markers helps children to learn how to contain their movements to their hand and not their arm.
This is an important skill for handwriting, as it requires precise finger movements to form letters and words. By practicing small circular movements with markers, children are developing the muscle memory and control needed for more complex fine motor tasks.
Tricky Fingers can also be used as a memory game by creating a pattern and then asking someone to replicate it from memory.
Tricky Fingers is a great game for travel because it is compact, lightweight, and doesn't require any batteries or electronic devices to play. The plastic box is small enough to fit in a backpack or purse, making it easy to take on the go.
In addition, the game can be played solo or with a friend or family member. This makes it a great choice for occupying children during long car rides, plane trips, or other travel situations.
We love Tricky Fingers as it is a versatile game that can be used for a wide variety of fine motor and cognitive skills. Whether you're working with young learners or adults, this game is sure to provide hours of fun and learning.
It's no wonder that Tricky Fingers is one of my all-time favourite games for therapy, as it has so many options for fine motor learning. So the next time you're looking for a fun and engaging way to develop fine motor skills, give Tricky Fingers a try!