If you like to use theraputty and play dough as hand strengthening tools during your therapy sessions – you won’t want to miss this post!
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If there is one thing we do well here at The Inspired Treehouse, it’s elevating creativity for therapists, lessening the stress of parents who are trying to find cool activities for kids, and alleviating all of the extra thought process involved in creating unique classroom activities as a teacher.
Today’s post might be one of our most creative yet and we are excited to print this list to use it in our day-to-day practice and at The Treehouse!
Using THeraputty and Play Dough as Hand Strengthening Tools
But first, if you’re not a therapist…let us give you the skinny on using theraputty and play dough as a hand strength activity for kids.
Both play dough and theraputty are great hand strengthening tools for little hands. When you knead small objects into them, kids have to use the small muscles of their fingers and hands to manipulate the items out of the putty or dough.
What’s the difference between theraputty and play dough when it comes to hand strengthening for kids? Theraputty comes in different resistances so this task can be graded to make it easier or harder. Play dough is a constant – always the same texture and resistance. It is something that kids are very familiar with and most of them love! In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with either one!
Curious about how to tell if a child needs to work on hand strengthening? Click the link to learn more.
Now…here is the list!
Our Favorite Hand Strengthening tools: Manipulatives to Hide in Putty & Play Dough
These Lego mini figures are a fan favorite and an unexpected hand strengthening tool. Hide them as a whole or take those tiny guys apart and have kiddos dig for the individual pieces to make them whole again.
Hide these glass stones and have kids pretend to be pirates on a treasure hunt looking for gems!
Lite Brite Pieces
The joy in finding these tiny light bulbs and putting them in the Lite Bright is unmatched!
Hide small plastic animals in the putty or play dough and work on identifying animals, animal sounds or animal habitats once they find them!
Hide the letter beads to spell their name or letters to spell different sight words. Have kids pull the letters out to spell the words.
Use these number beads to practice memorizing a phone number, math facts, or sequencing numbers 1-10.
The bonus of these little craft eyes is that they make a little bit of noise to let you know if there are still some hiding in the dough! Make a ball and shake it! Do you still have more eyes to find?
Nuts & Bolts
These nuts and bolts are perfect for hand strengthening and coordination! Hide the nuts in the dough and when each one is found, have the kids twist it onto the bolt.
A tried and true favorite! Find the coins and you’ve hit a payday! Don’t forget to total up your earnings!
Simple, cheap and really tricky in-hand manipulation practice to get these little suckers out of the dough.
I mean, what kid wouldn’t love to go hunting for shoes to put on their Barbie? Perfect timing with the new Barbie movie out!
These mini erasers can usually be found in dollar bins and come in every range of sizes, colors and themes!
Letter Puzzle Pieces
Kids can pull the pieces of the letter puzzle out of the putty of play dough and then move in different ways to the puzzle board to put them in the right places (scooter, jumping, skipping, stairs, etc.).
Make this a put-in-task activity. Have kids dig buttons out of their dough or putty and then slide the buttons through a slit cut in the top of an old plastic container (like a sour cream container).
Mini Resin Animals
These little animals are just too cute not to use! The baby rubber ducks are my favorite!
If you’d rather just by a few sets of TheraPutty with themed manipulatives already included, Amazon has some great choices! Here are some of our favorites:
Learn more about hand strength
Check out our Hand Strength Red Flags for Kids and download the free checklist.
Learn more about why kids’ hands aren’t as strong as they used to be.
Find our all-time favorite ways to support hand strength in kids!
And don’t miss these fun ideas for building hand strength through play!
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