Feed Me

In this activity, imagination and creativity are key components.

Begin by drawing the face of a child, a character (clown, robot, princess, etc.), or an animal that the child likes on the shoe box’s cover. Then, cut out the mouth of your figure so that it looks like the figure is opening its mouth. Make sure the opening is big enough so that the child is able to place the small objects through the opening.

Place the cotton balls (see additional ideas for objects below) on the table in front of the child or in a shallow bowl.

Give the tongs to the child and instruct her to hold it with her thumb, pointer, and middle fingers only, while tucking the pinkie and ring fingers into the palm of her hand. Then, ask the child to use the tongs to pick up one object at a time and feed the figure by placing the object into the figure’s open mouth.

This is where creativity comes into play as you can use the child’s imagination to decide what kind of food the cotton balls represent.

If you chose to draw an animal, you can have the cotton balls be the type of food this specific animal eats (i.e. monkey = bananas, dog = bones, bunny = carrots, etc.)

Based on the child’s developmental skills, you can have her draw the figure (can be a very simple figure) and cut the mouth opening independently.

Additional ideas for small objects (depending on the child’s age and abilities): pasta, beads (large and small), beans, cotton swabs, marbles, and Lego

Playdough Therapy Treasure

For this activity, you can use pegs, beans, beads, coins, and small toys.

Hide the small objects in the playdough and ask the child to dig his fingers in and search for the hidden treasure.

Encourage the child to stretch the playdough and work his fingers in.

When the child finds the treasure, ask him to take the object out using his thumb and pointer to promote pincer grasp.

If using pegs, you can use the pegboard and have the child design a picture on the board or you can ask him to draw lines, shapes, or letters.

If you choose to use beads you can have the child lace them on a string and make a necklace.

Acorn Stamper

Acorn Stamp

Draw an acorn on the construction paper (see images for example) or you can let the child trace an acorn stencil to promote fine motor control and visual-motor skills.

Let the child cut the acorn shape using scissors.

Using a piece of small sponge instruct the child to pinch it and dip it into the paint then stamp and paint the bottom part of the acorn cut out. You can also use q-tips or cotton balls to paint.

Encourage the child to fill in the entire bottom part of the acorn.

Have the child spread glue on the top part of the acorn.

Provide the child with a few dry leaves. Instruct the child to crumble the leaves inside the palm of his hand and then spread them on the glue. This will promote finger strength and finger translation.

You may also use beans to cover the top area of the acorn.

Can You Feel It

Fill up a large container or a bucket with beans, rice, macaroni, sand, or birdseeds (you can mix a few media together if you wish to).

Let the child put his/her hands in the container and pour, sift or move the media from side to side.

When using bird seeds it is recommended to powder the child’s hands with some baby powder to keep the birdseeds from sticking to the palms of the hands.

Mixing small plastic shapes, plastic letters and numbers, small plastic animals and any other educationally related items in the media can be a fun way for the child to develop his/her stereognosis sense.

Bean Mosaic

On a sheet of construction paper, sketch a simple picture, or allow the child to draw a picture/shape.

Using the glue, instruct the child to trace the outline of the picture.

Once the picture is outlined with glue, ask the child to pick up one bean or button at a time, and glue it along the outline of the picture.

If you wish to promote translation skills (finger to palm and palm to finger), ask the child to pick up 2 or more beans, transferring them one at a time into the palm of their hand, then transfer them out, one at a time, to be glued on the outline.

Let the child continue pasting the reminder of the beans on the picture, putting the beans close to each other.

To grade the activity up, provide the child with tweezers to pick up the beans.

Use larger buttons or pom-poms to grade the activity down.

Balance the Beans

Place a container full of beans on one end of the room or the area you work in and an empty container on the other end.

Use the tape to mark a straight line between the two containers. Have the child hold the spoon in one hand (preferably the child’s preferred hand) and ask the child to scoop a spoonful of beans.

Instruct the child to walk on the line that you’ve marked and transferred the beans on his spoon from one side to the other side, placing the beans in the empty container.

Repeat the activity until the empty container is filled with beans.

To provide proprioceptive input, ask the child to use animal walks (i.e. bear walk, crab walk, frog jumps, etc.) to get back to the starting point side (where the container filled with beans is).

You can also mark a curved path or a crooked path with the tape or you can use a balance beam to make the activity more challenging.

For strengthening purpose, you can put a weighted wrist bend on the child’s hand (the one used to hold the spoon).

It’s also fun to do this activity in a group session. Have a spoon rally to see who can fill up the empty container first.

Feed the Ball

Cut a 3-inch horizontal line across the tennis ball (so when you squeeze the ball, it looks like the tennis ball is opening a mouth). Put the coins (beans or beads can be used as well with older kids) on the table, in front of the child.

First, show the child how to squeeze the ball so it opens its mouth using only one hand (preferably the dominant hand). Then have the child pick up the coins, one coin at a time, using a pincer grasp and “feed” the ball by squeezing it with the other hand and opening its mouth.

To work on finger translation, ask the child to pick up 2-3 coins at one time and “feed” the tennis ball one coin at a time.

Paper Star Fish

Download and print the Star Fish template.

Ask the child to cut out the star fish image. For children that have difficulties with cutting skills, it is recommended to cut on heavier paper (i.e card-stock or construction paper), and provide with thicker lines/boundaries.

Using the tissue paper, instruct the child to tear pieces of the paper and crumble them into small balls. Encourage the child to move his thumb, pointer, and middle fingers in a circular motion.

Have the child glue the tissue paper balls on the star fish.

If you are using construction paper only, you can cut strips of paper, and let the child tear small pieces to glue on the star fish. If using beans, buttons, or sequins, you can promote pincer grasp by using tongs/tweezers to pick up the items to glue. Stickers can also be used.

Feel the Turkey

On brown contraction paper, draw the turkey’s body.

On different colors construction paper draw 6-7 turkey feathers.

Place a variety of materials with different textures on the table. I used cotton balls, Velcro, buttons, felt, dry beans, googly eyes, and feathers.

Ask the child to cut the turkey’s body and feathers. Then, have him glue the feathers to the back of the body. You can also let the child draw the turkey’s face on.

Present the child with different materials. Talk about the different textures (soft, smooth, rough, ticklish, etc.). Ask the child to glue a few pieces from each material on each of the turkey’s feathers.

You can use this turkey as a seasonal tactile board. Gobble, Gobble!

Mac and Shake

Poke a hole in the container’s lid.

The hole should provide enough resistance to make it challenging for the child to insert the macaroni inside.

Have the child insert large macaroni one at a time through the hole in lid into the container.

To work on finger translation, ask the child to collect two macaroni pieces at a time and store one in his/her palm while inserting the other into the container.

The child should use one hand to hold the container and the other one to insert the items.

Children enjoy listening to the sound the container makes when they shake it.

This activity can be done using other items such as coins, beans, or smaller macaroni.