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By: Michelle Yoder, OTR/L

Ask any little kid:  Ripping and tearing is fun! 

 What little ones don’t realize is that as they rip magazine pictures to make collages or tear tissue paper to make textured artwork, they’re also refining and building fine motor skills.

In occupational therapy, we talk about the “dynamic” and the “static” sides of the hand.  The dynamic side, which includes the thumb, pointer and long fingers, does the “moving,” while the static side, which includes the ring and pinky fingers, do the “stabilizing.”  That combination – “moving” and “stabilizing” — is essential to holding a pencil, cutting with scissors or even buttoning a shirt.

Specifically, when your little one is ripping and tearing, he or she:

  • Promotes separation of the two sides of the hand
  • Fosters strength in the intrinsic hand muscles
  • Facilitates the wrist movement, primarily extension, so important in handwriting, typing and other daily…

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