In-hand manipulation is the ability to move objects around in your hand, and there are three components.
- Translation: The ability to move an object from the palm of the hand to the finger tips and back to the palm.
- Shift: The linear movement of an object between the fingers such as moving your fingers up and down the shaft of a pencil.
- Rotation: The movement of an object with the finger around one or more of it’s axis, such as when you spin a pencil around with your fingers.
Activities that work specifically on in-hand manipulation:
Here is a cute little activity that combines in hand manipulation with fine motor control to place objects in just the right place. I made some leaves, printed them on cardstock, and laminated them to give them more strength. Then I balanced the leaf on a little cube. It is like the leaf is floating […]
No therapy gym should be complete without some legos and duplos. They are the quintessential fine motor activity. If you follow a pattern or design, they are good for developing visual perceptual skills as well. Even without making something specific, it is fun to see how tall you can build before it gets wobbly. As […]
When working on buttoning skills, there is a progression of skill mastery. Pushing buttons or coins into a container is the first step. Putting coins into a piggy bank slot is the easiest, and then pushing buttons or coins into a recycled butter tub is the next. One reason using the butter container is good […]
Young pre-school kids love playing with cars. Follow the road. Find the ice-cream store. Let’s go to the lake. Following the roads on the car mat is a pre-cursor to tracing and writing letters. Looking for the right building and place on the mat develops visual-perceptual skills. Materials: Car mat Cars Skills: Pre-writing Arm movement/ […]
Mature and refined grasp patterns, as well as in hand manipulation, require use of the small finger muscles. Similar movements are used with chopsticks as are used in writing with a mature dynamic grasp. Many therapists recommend using tongs or tweezers to work on fine motor skills, and this is good if the person is […]
For this activity, we are incorporating very simple coloring and cutting of easy shapes. Then you can put those shapes together to make a pretty picture to take home. Two simple designs to choose from are a flower or a butterfly. With the flower, you have a circle for the center and ovals for the […]
I had heard years ago about using straws and connectors, and I think that someone had mentioned using regular straws and the connectors for drip tubing from home depot. Well I tried the drip tubing connectors, and they don’t work with regular straws. They are too small for regular straws, and they are very hard […]
When playing dominos in therapy, we don’t usually play the game of dominos . Instead we line them up to knock them over. Lining the dominos up on end requires fine motor precision in getting them to stay in place. It also takes eye hand coordination and visual perceptual skills to get the dominos lined […]
Here is a fun little Christmas activity of decorating a Christmas tree with felt ornaments. I got a styrofoam cone from the craft store and wrapped green felt around it. I then cut out some ornament shapes from different colored felt. You could glue the green felt onto the cone, but it actually stays well […]
I have been brainstorming to come up with fun activities that work on strengthening the fingers for fine pinch and tripod grasp. Using pinch clips with craft foam pieces was a natural direction to go as they worked well with the sentence copying activity. I started to cut ½ inch cubes of the thicker craft […]
Keep in mind that marbles are a choking hazard so you have to watch little ones around them. That said, little ones love watching the marbles go down the ramp. There are some ramps with larger balls that are safe for the younger set. There are multiple levels of therapeutic value with a Marble Maze. Starting […]
We made some men out of marshmallows and toothpicks, and they were delicious. We used multiple sizes of marshmallows for the different parts, and connected the parts with toothpicks. Some of these men were looking very funny, but they all tasted good in the end. This is a fun food play activity to combine food […]
I’m a married spud, I’m a married spud. Sorry, quote from Toy Story. Mr. Potato Head has many levels of therapy. It helps a child learn body parts. Visual Perception and motor control are worked on when trying to get the pieces into the holes. Strength in hands and arms are worked on when pulling his […]
I have officially named my tennis ball head Munchy Ball, and I guess he is like a frog because he likes to eat little bugs. I made a little game to incorporate visual motor skills, motor planning, fine motor strength, and writing. I duct taped four little plastic tubs together and put a number in […]
I like to work on many skills within the same activity, and these folded flowers definitely do that. I discovered these via pinterest, and they are originally on Whimsical World of Laura Bird. I often have kids that need to work on writing small enough to fit into a specified space, such as writing answers […]
With higher level kids, I look for activities that will challenge them mentally as well as physically. Paper folding can be challenging visual-perceptually as well as the difficulty with fine motor and manipulating the paper in the right way. A cute website that has different toy patterns to print, cut, and fold out of paper […]
This ribbon Christmas tree activity is the most awesome therapy activity ever. It incorporates practicing tying into a nice craft that looks beautiful when it is done. The kids all loved it, and they were all very proud of what they had accomplished. Most of the kids started the activity by saying that they didn’t […]
Cutting with scissors is a skill that works on bimanual skills, motor planning, fine motor, etc. I have created some templates to practice cutting, coloring, and then paste them together to create the picture. Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, here is a Turkey template to work on with your kids in therapy. You […]
Many people who benefit from therapy have trouble with stereognosis. Stereognosis is the ability to know what an object is just by feeling it. We do this on a daily basis, reaching into a backpack or purse and pulling out exactly what we had been trying to get, because we could feel it. Many people […]
The wheelbarrow walk is a great upper extremity strengthening activity. You can make it easier or harder depending on where you put your hands that are holding their legs. Holding at the hips is the easiest position for the client, and at the ankles is the hardest. You can then hold anywhere in between to […]
Many of the kids that I see for therapy have trouble with handwriting. Handwriting trouble stems from other problems such as fine motor problems, hand weakness, visual motor/visual perceptual problems, in-hand manipulation, and motor planning problems. One small thing that can help with handwriting is to get the hand in the right position to write […]