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Fine Motor Skills

Thumb Opposition!


Thumb Opposition refers to the ability to turn and rotate the thumb so that it can touch each fingertip of the same hand.  This allows us to grasp objects of various sizes and operate tools.  Imagine trying to tie shoes, pull up a zipper or hit a ball with a bat without your thumbs.


Why is it Important?

There are many jobs that are only possible because of our thumbs, for example, writing with a pencil, brushing your teeth, opening and closing jars and lids. None of this would be possible, if we don’t have the ability to turn and rotate our thumbs! An important aspect of having a rotating thumb is to be able to form a web space between the thumb and the index finger. When both fingertip and thumb tip touch, a circle is formed, and thus ‘web space’.  Think of the ‘ok’ sign we create with our hands. An open web space is important for holding writing and drawing tools correctly.  When the space is open and the writing tool is held with the thumb tip and fingertips, this allow for greater precision and control, written work and drawings are more accurate and there is less stress on the joints of the hand and, thus, less writing fatigue.

Activities to try at home!


  1. Squeeze foam balls, animals and shapes that are rounded
  2. Make a HUNGRY tennis ball where you can hide coins, pegs, beads and other small things inside. Simply squeeze to open and shake out the contents! (see images below)
  3. Throw, catch and squeeze rubber balls and tennis balls
  4. When completing activities use tongs, tweezers or connected chop sticks to pick up small objects for sorting
  5. When tidying up lunch, encourage your child to seal a Ziplock bag using their thumb and index finger