Fun Jar

Use a large, empty, and clean jar for this activity.

Provide the child with pipe cleaners and/or straws and instruct him to insert the items through the holes on the jar’s lid.

You can ask the child to sort the items by color or size before placing them in the jar.

If using a jar that has holes and a small opening on the lid, you can use additional items to place through the opening, such as pom-poms, buttons, large beads, coins, etc.

The child can use tongs or tweezers to catch the items before dropping them through the large opening.

If you cannot find a spice jar, you can use a regular container and poke holes in the lid, using a hole-puncher or cut holes with scissors.

Strengthening Clothespins

For this activity, you will need colored clothespins in 4 different colors or if you have wooden clothespins you can color them or mark them with 4 colors.

The colors should match the color of the construction paper.

Cover the containers with construction paper. Let the child choose a color and then roll the dice.

The child is then asked to place the clothespins on the edge of the matching colored container.

If the dice rolled 1, have the child place 1 clothespin on the edge of the container. If the dice rolled 2, use 2 clothespins. Etc.

This activity can also be done in a group as part of a game where each child has 1 container and is playing to get as many clothespins on his container in an allotted time.

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.

Sorting Buttons

For this activity, you will need a number of small containers, depending on the sorting criteria you chose, and an assortment of buttons (i.e. size, color, number of holes on the button).

Place the buttons on a plate or in a larger container. place the small containers in front of the child as well. Allow the child to sort the buttons by size, color, number of holes, etc.

As the child picks up each button, encourage him to use his thumb and pointer fingers to help with developing pincer grasp.

To work on thumb opposition, ask the child to pick up each button with his thumb and middle finger, thumb and ring finger or thumb, and pinkie.

Ice Cream Scooper

Use brown, yellow, or white construction paper. Draw a 1/4 of a circle with a six-inch radius, and ask the child to cut the shape out. If needed, make the line bolder to increase accuracy. If using white paper, you can let the child color/paint it in any color he wishes to.

Assist the child as needed to fold the 1/4 circle into a cone shape. Secure with tape.

Provide the child with tissue paper sheets that are at least 5″ x 7″ in size. Instruct the child to crumble each sheet into a ball (scoop), and place it in the container.

Have the child hold the ice cream scoop in his dominant hand and the cone in his other hand. Instruct the child to scoop the paper balls one at a time, using the ice cream scoop, and put it into the cone.

Using strips of construction paper in different colors, ask the child to tear small pieces to use as sprinkles. Promote pincer grasp by having the child pick up one piece at a time to sprinkle on his ice cream.

To grade the activity, use different ice cream scoops (i.e. with the thumb lever, spring-loaded handle, etc.) or other materials for ice cream, such as pom-poms or play-dough.

Small Button Box

Take 4oz putty container or container of equal size with a lid and use scissors or box cutter to slice a 2 inch x 1/8 or 1/4 inch rectangular slot into the top of the lid.

Place sticky back Velcro hook on bottom of container. Wrap a Velcro hook strap around the child’s chest or abdomen. The small constructed “Button Box” is placed on the Velcro strap on the child. The angle of the slot can be changed to suit the child’s abilities or needs.

Have the child use appropriate grasp to pick up buttons or coins of various sizes and place into the button box on self.

This activity can be modified in many ways to suit the child’s needs:
– Adjusting size or shape of the slot to accommodate the items placed inside.
– Weights can be used for upper extremity strengthening.
– Markers can be used to provide color around slot hole for children with Visual Perceptual difficulties.
– The items placed in the slots can vary in size, shape, density, and texture for added ease or difficulty

Drawing in the Sand

In a container full of sand or in the sandbox, have the child imitate you drawing shapes using a straw or large stick.

Let him/her try holding the stick in either or both hands.

Button The Shapes

For this activity, you will first need to create the button container using plastic containers with lids. Use the scissors to pierce 2 holes about half an inch apart.

Take one button and insert a 3-inch pipe cleaner through 2 of the button holes.

Insert each edge of the pipe cleaner through the lid holes that you pierced and twist the 2 edges together on the bottom of the lid. This will hold the button in place on the lid.

Close the container with the lid so the button is at the top of the container.

Using a marker, mark a shape on the container. You can also use construction paper and cut out a shape to place on the container.

Cut out pieces of felt in the same shapes that you marked the containers with. You can also use fabric for this.

Using the scissors, cut holes in the middle of each shape.

Provide the child with the button containers and the felt shapes. Ask the child to sort the felt pieces and button them on the right container marked with the matching shape.

For grading, you can use different sized buttons or you can also use one container with no marked shape and have the child follow a pattern from a visual model (i.e. button a circle, a triangle, and a rectangle in a repeated order).

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.

 

Squirt Till it Drops

Fill up the bucket/container with water to the midline and drop in the Ping-Pong ball (you can use more than one ball, or different size plastic balls). Fill up the squirt bottle with water and let the child squeeze and squirt the water out into the bucket/container until the Ping-Pong ball falls out of the bucket/container.

This activity can be done with more than one child. The first child that has his/her Ping-Pong ball fall out of the bucket/container wins!

To work on developing visual motor skills, fill up the squirt bottle with shaving cream or foam and let the child squeeze the bottle to draw shapes and letters on a concrete surface or an easel.