Hand Strengthening Fun with Theraputty

Hand Strengthening with Theraputty

Does your child have an immature or fisted grasp?
Does he or she avoid/dislike fine motor activities?
Does he or she often switch hands when coloring?

The reason may be decreased hand strength. There are many fun ways to strengthen the small muscles in your child’s hands. However, my favorite “go-to” activity for hand strengthening is working with theraputty! Not only is it beneficial, but my students find it highly motivating. Theraputty is a pliable, playdough type material. It comes in a variety of colors, each color representing a different resistance. Resistance ranges from extra soft to firm. Most often I recommend putty labeled “medium” or “medium soft” resistance for my preschoolers.

Theraputty can be purchased at medical supply stores or online through various websites, including Amazon.com.

Working with theraputty has many benefits beyond hand strengthening. These exercises can also help to development bilateral coordination and grasp maturity. It can also be a fun way to provide proprioceptive input, which can be calming to children who need it.

The following is a list of FUN exercises you can do with theraputty to strengthen those hands!!

Have a treasure hunt! Hide small items such as buttons, coins, beads in putty and have your child find the “treasures”.
Make a Pizza! Roll putty into a ball , then flatten it using palms of hand. Then make the toppings by rolling small pieces of putty with finger tips and press them onto the pizza.
Make a calzone! Fold flattened putty in half, then pinch around the edges.
Hold a ball of putty in fist. Rest pinky side of fist on table. Have the child use their thumb of that same hand to bend down and “pull” putty from the fisted putty.
Roll putty into a snake shape. Then, using thumb, pointer and index fingers, pinch along the top edge of snake from right to left, turning the “snake” into a “dinosaur”!
Use the putty to practice forming the first letter of child’s name.
Roll putty into a snake, then form a circle. Place it on the table and have you child position their fingers inside the circle then spread fingers to make the circle grow bigger!

For a video of more theraputty exercises, follow the following link…..

Have fun!!


Tips for Working on Articulation at Home

  • Reinforce your child after they are able to correctly produce a sound that is challenging for them (praise, high five, hug)
  • Model the correct sound for him/her
  • Play a game in which your child has to imitate the sound (Simon Says)
  • Use siblings as models for the sound (peers and siblings are often very motivating)
  • Set aside a time to practice a certain sound or words playing a game or a motivating activity (only need 5-10 minutes but only practice during that time)
  • Once he/she is able to produce the sound find words in your environment that have that sound. Make it fun like I Spy!

Remember to make it as fun as possible and at the end of the day modeling is the best way to reinforce age appropriate sounds!

Gross Motor Games

Here are some gross motor board games to encourage movement, motor planning, body awareness, turn taking, and communication skills:

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-Cat In The Hat I Can Do That

-Catch and Count Fishing Game- Melissa and Doug

-Educational Insights Magic Moves Electronic Wand

-Sunny The Seal Board Game

-Play and Learn Systems Animal Charades Game

-Learning Resources Crocodile Hop A Floor Mat Game

-Play tunnel


-Toss Across

-Wiggle Giggle