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…..