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

Make a Puzzle

Hand the child a xeroxed page of a holiday design (with multiple items to color) or draw a picture on the paper/construction paper.

Use the ruler to draw horizontal and vertical lines for the child to cut (number of pieces depends on the child’s age and skills).

You can also draw curved or wiggly lines depending on your child’s cutting abilities.

Have the child follow directions based on skill level.

Start with simple directions and progress to harder instructions if appropriate.

Once all items are colored, have the child cut across the lines.

Once cut, the child should reassemble the puzzle.

Place the pieces in a ziplock bag to take home if desired.

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.

Stamp it up

Ask the child to hold the stamp with his/her thumb, index finger, and middle finger.

You may want to set the stamp pad on the opposite side to the hand holding the stamp so that it encourages the child to reach over his/her midline.

To promote the development of visual motor skills have the child stamp between two vertical lines, horizontal lines, or around a circle.

To encourage wrist extension and stabilization place the stamping paper on an inclined surface.

Thumb Opposition with Finger Paint

Paint

For this activity, you will work on thumb opposition and provide sensory input by using finger paint.

You should use 5 different colors of finger paint.

Pour the different finger paint colors into the paper plate.

Ask the child to dip each finger in each one of the colors. Provide help as needed.

Draw a pattern on the construction paper. For example draw a pattern like a blue dot, a green dot, a red dot, a blue dot, a green dot, a red dot, etc.

Ask the child to follow your pattern using the paint on his/her fingers.

You can also have the child mix the colors and create new colors by touching his/her thumb with any other finger (i.e. thumb to the pointer, thumb to the middle finger, and so on) to work on and promote thumb opposition.

Colored Ice Cubes

In a small and shallow container mix a few drops of food color with water.

Have the child squeeze the eyedropper to collect some colored water from the shallow container and then squeeze it again into the sections of the ice cube tray.

Once all the ice cube tray sections are filled, place the tray in the freezer.

 

PickUp Straws Game

Straws game

Hold all the straws or pipe-cleaners together in your palm or have the child hold them this way and let go of all of them at once.

Once they are spread, ask the child to pick up one straw at a time, without moving the other straws.

Take turns picking up the straws.

If you or the child moves other straws when picking up a straw, the game is over. The winner is the one who has the most straws.

Another version of the game could be to ask the child to pick up a certain color of straws:

Start by holding all the straws together and let all of them go at once. Once they are spread, ask the child to first pick up all the blue straws, then all the green straws, and so on (for this version of the game, it’s OK if the other straws are moving).

For young children or those with poor grasp, use wider straws.

Running Water

Place two containers or buckets on opposite sides of the room or the area you play at.

Fill up one of the containers with water.

You may add food coloring if you wish.

Have the child transfer the water from one container to the other using a squeeze bottle or an eyedropper.

Straw Necklaces

Cut the plastic straws into about 1-inch pieces.

Lace the small straw pieces into the string or yarn to create a straw necklace.

You can use different color plastic straws and create matching patterns for the straw necklaces.