5 apps to build fine motor skills

In the age of touch screens, it can be difficult to address your students’ fine motor skills needs. Thankfully you can use your touch screen devices to do just that. Here are my favorite applications for increasing fine motor skills.

Handwriting Without Tears: Wet-Dry-Try for Capitals, Numbers, & Lowercase

This application helps with early literacy skills, early numeracy skills, and fine-motor skills. Developed by the creators of Handwriting Without Tears, the app models how to appropriately write letters and numbers. I like Handwriting Without Tears because it is developmentally appropriate, helps students identify letters, and is multisensory. The app is multisensory as it allows students write on a chalkboard using the “wet-dry-try” method. You can download the full application for iOS for $4.99 or use the classroom version with unique access licenses for each student. A free alternative is LetterSchool – Learn to Write!

Dexteria Applications

Dexteria by BinaryLabs, Inc. has several versions:

If you want to purchase all four applications, BinaryLabs, Inc. offers a package deal called Essential Apps for OTs for $9.99, which is a much better deal than buying the applications individually.

Dexteria focuses on letter formation and building hand strength and control through “pinch it” and “tap it” activities suitable for children of all ages. Dexteria allows you to track student progress and plan instruction to help increase fine motor skills.

Dexteria Jr. focuses on hand dexterity such as the pincer grasp, tripod grasp, and pointer hand formation using engaging games such as “Squish the Squash” for neurotypical children ages 2-6. These applications explicitly teach pre-writing skills that can benefit all students.

Dexteria Dots focuses on early numeracy skills such as addition, subtraction and number sense with an emphasis on strengthening fine motor skills.

Dexteria Dots 2 introduces concepts such as greater than, less than, and equal to with a variety of fine motor actions such as a slicing motion, tapping motion, drag in, and drag out movement.

Overall, I love these applications because my students think that they are playing games, but they are really helping improve their motor strength and handwriting! If you still need more convincing, check out this demo video.

Write My Name

Write My Name is a $3.99 app that allows students to practice writing letters, words, names, and phrases. I love Write My Name because it helps students memorize and write 100 Dolch words through tracing cards, which is unique to this app. You can create individualized name tags or phrases with pictures to meet individualized Individualized Education Plan goals or academic goals. The visuals are high-quality and will help students identify words using picture prompts.

I understand that you have to pay for most of these applications, but there are a lot of ways that you can get these applications without spending your own money! Check out DonorsChoose (sign up here and get matched donations!) to request iTunes gift cards or even an iPad. Consult with your occupational therapist, special education director, or school administrator to see if you have access to any of these applications or have any funds to allocate toward increasing your students fine motor skills.