5 Activities that Develop Wrist Rotation

Many people think if their child can hold a pencil correctly then they are all set to write. While pencil grip is important and plays a part in writing fluency, the WHOLE body needs to get ready to write

An important part of getting ready to write that people don’t often think about is wrist rotation. Think about how your wrist moves when you write. Whether in cursive or print, your wrist moves different ways to make each letter stroke. It is important for children to develop wrist rotation so writing will be easier and less tiring. 

Activities that Help Develop Wrist Rotation

Using a vertical surface to develop wrist rotation

Work on a Vertical Surface

Working on a vertical surface such as an easel, requires the wrist to extend. Here are three simple ideas for providing an opportunity for your child to work on a vertical surface. 

  • Paint, draw, or use stamps at an easel.
  • Paint water on a window and stick craft foam shapes on top of the water to create a design.
  • Tape a piece of contact paper on the wall, sticky side out, and stick different materials to it such as tissue paper, magazine pictures, or construction paper.


Spinning tops

Spinning tops can be tricky for young children’s fingers and wrists to get spinning. However, they are incredibly beneficial. Not only will your child strengthen their determination and perseverance while working with tops, but they will be rotating their wrist too. Make it a game and see how long or how far can you get your top to spin!


Tearing Paper

Tearing paper requires both wrists to rotate and work together. Encourage tearing paper as a part of a special project such as a torn paper collage. Tear the paper into small pieces. Use the torn paper to make a collage with glue or stick the pieces on a piece of contact paper.


Pouring water and using a spatula to develop wrist rotation


Tea Party and a Spatula

Add a spatula to your child’s play kitchen. Use the spatula to flip over pretend food, playing cards, or paper plates.

Have a tea party or use different sizes and shapes of containers for water play that give your child the chance to scoop and pour water. Both of these activities encourage wrist rotation. 


Opening and Closing Lids

Put different items inside containers with lids that can be screwed on and off for your child to get out.

  • mini erasers
  • gems
  • buttons
  • puzzle pieces
  • pom poms

You could put items to count in each container or puzzle pieces that are needed to complete a favorite puzzle.  Twisting and lifting the lids is great for wrist rotation.

All of these types of activities are done through PLAY! From playing with tops and getting creative on an easel to tearing paper and having fun with water play, children are strengthening their wrist rotation. 

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