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Chinese Checkers With Pegs: Gift Idea for Less Nimble Fingers

Lora enjoys sharing what she has learned through her varied life and work experiences!

Chinese checkers with pegs

Chinese checkers with pegs

Chinese Checkers With Pegs

Why pegs with Chinese checkers?

Have you ever played this game of strategy and accidentally touched the other persons marbles, sending the whole board moving and rolling?

It can be very frustrating if a player has bigger hands or is just not nimble enough to move the small marbles across the playing board.

Playing with pegs instead of marbles can solve that problem.

People that can benefit are...

  • Seniors who may have lesser hand movements.
  • Arthritis suffers, or anyone who suffers joint pain or inflammation.
  • Someone who is rehabilitating from an accident and redeveloping their hand-eye coordination.
  • Amputees learning to use an artificial arm or hand.
  • People with disorders that cause tremors of the hands.

Playing Chinese checkers with pegs can open up the multiplayer game to more family and friends.

The rules of the game are fairly simple, but by no means is the game simple. See how to video below or print out instructions below too.

The idea is to jump one peg over the other in a specific direction until you get to the other end of the board. Similar to the checkers on the black and red boards we all played growing up.

More than two people can play at a time, and now with the ability to add in other plays, there's much more fun. Two, three, four, and six players can play at one time.

Photo image courtesy of Amazon



Can You See the Problem?

On the game board above you can see how tightly packed the game pieces are and how far apart the slots on the board set the marbles.

It can be maddening, trying like treading a needle.

The qualities you want to look for to make it more enjoyable are jumble boards that are at least 17 inches across, or larger.

When we played this game, the actual size of the board actually made a big difference.

It was much easier to grab the pieces and make masterful moves!

Look for pegs that are smooth yet easy to grip. Plastic can be slippery, wooden makes for a better grip.

If the board is large enough and the peg holes are perfectly spaced it can make it easy to pull and place the checker pegs.

Other Game and Hobby Ideas for Weaker Hands

Everyone likes to play games. People who have weaker digits and hands have plenty of options to choose from.

  • Large piece jigsaw puzzles. The chunkier pieces are not only more manageable to pick up they are easier to see. Some companies market them as Alzheimer's or dementia puzzles. These jigsaws are not for children. They are more complex and come in 500-count packages.
  • Playing cards is a social activity for some, so adapting the cardholder is a simple and easy way to keep everyone in the game. My problem was finding a holder that was sturdy enough to hold the cards without continually flopping over. We like these handheld and tabletop Playing Card Holders, so we did not have to set them on the table all the time. You can hold the plastic holder in your hand, and it fans out the cards to make them easier to carry and pick out.

Other craft ideas are thicker crochet or knitting needles. Using thicker yarn and bigger hooks still creates beautiful patterns. If you have an active gardener, there are tools now created with thick easy-grip handles.

How to Play

The game is about strategy and a little bit of luck!

The basic premise is each piece can move one space into an open hole. You are allowed to move in any direction forward, backward, or side to side.

If there is any peg in front (or back or side to side), you can jump over it. You can keep jumping if there is another peg in front of you after your first jump until you go as far as you can without jumping again, as long as you are using the same peg.

The goal is to get all your players across the board and fill up the diamond on the other first. The first player to make it across and complete the diamond wins!

It's fun and takes some practice and thinking.

Exercises for Hands

Often doing soothing hand exercises and stretching can help with finger nimbleness.

Some other tips to increase dexterity are to grab a squeezy ball or complete finger and wrist stretches. Keeping and developing fine motor skills in the hand can take some work depending on the conditions that have caused the stiffness.

The arthritis foundation also has several useful tips.

1. Making a fist and opening the hands back out. This exercise helps increase blood flow.

2. Finger bending is not as easy as it sounds. Try bending only one finger at a time, then move on to the next digit. It takes practice and some concentration.

3. Make a circle with your fingers. Touch the fingers to the thumb, so there is a hole, then release. A little different from the closed fist.

4. Place your hands flat on a table or flat surface, and raise each finger (by itself).

5. Wrist bends; bending, flexing, and twisting the wrist to increase mobility.

Of course, please follow your health care provider's guidelines before trying any of these stretches.

Have You Played?

TanoCalvenoa on July 26, 2013:

I prefer the pegs, even though I have no real need to use them over marbles.