Hand Strengthening Artwork

Instruct the child to turn the cup upside down and dip the rim into the paint. Fingers should spread across the bottom of the cup for a firm grasp.

Place the paint covered rim firmly on the paper to make the ring. Repeat desired amount of times with each color chosen. The cup should be re-dipped for each new ring.

Be sure to instruct the child to keep the cups on the designated color plate so the colors do not run and blend. (E.g. blue cup with blue paint, red with red, etc.)

Benefits of this activity:

1. Holding the cup with the fingers all spread apart strengthen the thumb muscles and deep muscles in the hand that play a key role in the dexterity required for moving a pencil for writing and drawing.
2. A motor sequence occurs as the child dips, places the cup on the paper and repeats this.
3. Eye-hand motor coordination occurs as the child plans where to place the cup. The dramatic colors draw the child’s eyes to the paper.
4. Matching colors-correct plate for the paint covered cup
5. Planning a design may occur.

Note: For children with tactile sensitivities, be sure to have a towel or source for washing hands nearby.

Leveled Cup

Fill the empty water bottle with colored water using food coloring.

Use different color masking tape or markers to mark water levels on the paper cups.

Make sure to mark the levels on the higher side. This will help achieve full forearm pronation.

Ask the child to take the filled bottle and fill the cups up until the water reaches the marker.

Encourage proper pronation of the wrist while filling the paper cups.

For grading, use a squirt bottle to work on finger strengthening as the child is squeezing the water out of the bottle to fill up the cups.

Matching Color Cups

– Select four colors of paint to use.
– Put one color on the outside of four different cups so it can be seen & used for matching.
– Take the rest of your cups and put various colored dots on the inside bottom of the cup.

To play the game:
– All the cups are turned upside down so the colors inside cannot be seen.
– The child has to pick up the cup, turn it over (supination) to see what color is on the bottom of the cup, then find the matching cup with the paint on the outside and stack it on top using pronation to turn the cup over again.

This works well seated on a scooter board as well:
– Place one cup of each color at one end of the room and the rest of the cups at the other end and have the child bring one cup at a time over to stack it on the matching pile.

Replace paint with markers, crayons, or stamps.

Yarn Painting

Draw a geometric shape or a picture on the paper and fold it in half (i.e. square, pumpkin, a person, butterfly, etc.). Let the child cut out the picture and open the paper.

Cut a piece of yarn (about 6-inch long). Put paint into the container and ask the child to dip one end of the yarn in the paint while holding on to the other end. Instruct the child to place the painted end of the yarn on one side of the paper, at the top. Fold the paper again and tell the child to pull the yarn out, from the bottom.

Open the folded paper, place the painted yarn at the top again, fold the paper, and pull the yarn out. Repeat these steps until the picture is painted.

You can use different colors and cut a piece of yarn for each color the child is using.

Ribbon Sorter

Tape some ribbon around each cup. Use different ribbon colors for each paper cup.

Cut a few pieces of each color of ribbon.

Put the ribbon pieces in the container.

Ask the child to sort the pieces of ribbon, using the first three digits (thumb, pointer, and middle finger) and put the ribbons into the right container.

For grading: ask the child to use tweezers for picking up the ribbons and dropping each to the right cup.

Spaghetti Stringing

Using a paper cup, a styrofoam plate, or a piece of play doh, instruct the child to place the spaghetti vertically.

Provide the child with cheerios or beads and have him string the small objects onto the spaghetti.

If using different color beads or cheerios, you can have the child either sort the items into the different color groups or work on patterns (e.g. yellow-red-yellow-red…)