5 Easy Fine Motor Warm-ups for Handwriting

Fine-motor exercises that use everything in your pencil case!
Fine-motor exercises that use everything in your pencil case!

Handwriting mastery places a heavy demand on the muscles of the arm, wrist, palm, and fingers.  A pencil may not seem a formidable object, but the ability to manipulate and manage its movements can take its toll on fine-motor muscles.  So, it is a good idea to warm-up the key handwriting muscles with the “Handwriting With Katherine 5-minute Fine-Motor Workout!”  It’s simple and FREE!*



The Handwriting With Katherine 5-Minute Fine-Motor Workout


Before your students pick up their pencils, have them spend one minute on one or more of these easy activities that use the simple tools that they already have in their desks!


  1. Textbook Turnovers:
  • Grab a textbook and place it flat on the desk in front of you. Pick it up with two hands, one on each side.
  • Turn it over 5 times by switching hands from one side to the other, first from right to left, then left to right, without placing it back on the desk.
  • Next, hold the book as though you were going to read it, but with your elbows off the desk just a little. Push it out toward the front of the desk and then pull it back toward your body 5 times each way.
  • If your arms get tired, you can rest them on the desk for a bit!


  1. Ruler Wigglers:
  • Grab your ruler with one hand at each end.
  • Place your elbows on the desk with the ruler reaching toward the ceiling. Wiggle the ruler back and forth 5 times in each direction.
  • Lift your elbows up and stretch your arms and hands toward the front of the desk. Wiggle the ruler back and forth 5 times here!
  • Stretch your arms up to the ceiling and wiggle again!
  • If your arms or wrists get tired, you can rest for a moment!


  1. Eraser Challenges:
  • Grab an eraser or any small object that will fit into the palm of your hand. Place it in your “writer hand” first, with your arm on the table and your palm facing up.
  • Move it around in your hand by using only your fingers and thumb. Try not to drop it on the desk!
  • Switch hands and practice this exercise using your “helper hand.”


  1. Finger Flexers:
  • Keep that eraser handy for this exercise. Place it anywhere on your desk.
  • Reach over with your “writer hand” and pick it up using only your thumb, index, and long fingers. Do this 5 times from 5 different places.
  • Do the same thing with your “helper hand.”
  • Next, place the eraser in the palm of your hand and squeeze it with your fingers 5 times. Do this with both hands.
  • Of course, if your fingers need a rest, it’s okay to do that!


  1. Push-up Power:
  • Put a piece of notebook paper between your palms and hold it there at chest level.
  • Gently push your hands together and release just a little bit 5 times. Don’t let the paper fall out!
  • With your palms still touching, stretch your arms toward the front of your desk and back 5 times.
  • Now, stretch your arms toward the ceiling and do the same thing!
  • Tired? You can rest for a bit, you know!


It only takes 5 minutes, and some laughs, to get the fine-motor muscles in gear for handwriting practice.  These are also good activities to help prepare the arms and hands for any writing project.


*Be sure to download my free handout, “Handwriting With Katherine’s 5-Minute Fine-Motor Workout,” for students to take home!


Handwriting With Katherine's 5 Easy Fine Motor Warm-ups for Handwriting!
Handwriting With Katherine’s 5 Easy Fine Motor Warm-ups for Handwriting!


As always, thanks for joining me here at the Handwriting is Fun! Blog!  I welcome your comments and enjoy your company!

See you next time,


Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L

Katherine J. Collmer, M.Ed., OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in the assessment and remediation of handwriting skills and understands the link between handwriting skills and writing.  She can be contacted via her website, Handwriting With Katherine.
 Disclaimer: The information shared on the Handwriting With Katherine website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest page; on any guest blog posts or any other social media is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice or evaluation and care from your physician/medical team or any other qualified health care providers. Therefore, the authors of these links/posts take no responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk taken by individuals as a result of applying the ideas or resources.

Author: otchic

Hi! I am a pediatric occupational therapist with a passion for handwriting! I have dedicated my practice to the assessment and remediation of children's handwriting skills and the education of teachers and therapists in handwriting development and remedial strategies.

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