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Favorite Summer Toy: Six Water Play Tools for Fine Motor Skills

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A group of therapist bloggers have gotten together to share what our favorite summer toys or activities are.  This post is about my favorite summer toy, which is playing with water via squirt guns and other water tools.  In order to see all of the other favorite summer toys, you have to go to each of the other therapist’s blogs.

Now here are my favorite summer toys and activities.

Summer is all about water to me, and I try to use it liberally in my summer activities. I love using squirt bottles to work fine motor skills such as hand strength, and bath squirt toys work great as well. You can also use a sponge to squeeze the water out of, which is great for working on hand strength. Another fine motor water dispenser is an eye dropper, which can really target the tip pinch if it is a small dropper. There are large droppers too that have more of a bulb on the end for a fuller hand squeeze.  Squirt guns work on finger strength, and a turkey baster targets whole hand strengthening.

water-play-tools

My go-to water play tools:

  1. squirt bottle
  2. bath/pool squirt toys
  3. sponge
  4. Eye Droppers
  5. squirt guns
  6. turkey baster

When playing with the water tools, you need to create motivation, although sometimes just the act of watching the water squeeze out is motivation enough. A good task that uses water is washing away chalk. I used chalk in a chalk “fire” activity where we drew “fire” with the chalk onto pillars and then squeezed water over them with sponges in order to wash it away. You could squirt at the chalk with a squirt bottle too, ar use a turkey baster.

chalk fire 3web

car wash 2web

Aside from chalk, you could use foam paint on an outside glass door and squirt the paint off. Also, washable markers on a glass door can be squirted off.

One of my favorite activities to do with squirt guns is to squirt at balls. You can aim at balls to make them roll across the ground, or you can shoot at balls that are balanced on golf tees to knock them off.

Some favorite water play activities:

  1. Chalk fire
  2. sidewalk chalk and squirt guns
  3. propel a ball with squirt gun
  4. car wash
  5. salt painting with eye droppers
  6. squirting foam paint off a glass door or shower wall

What water squirting activity do you like to do?

Materials:

  • Water
  • Water dispenser (spray bottle, water gun, squirter, eye dropper, turkey baster, etc.)
  • Chalk, foam paint, washable marker on glass

Skills:

  • Fine motor
  • Hand strength
  • Visual motor

Now go visit the other therapy blogs and see what their favorite summer toy is.

The Inspired Treehouse  –  OT Cafe  –  Golden Reflections Blog  –  Pink Oatmeal  –  Therapy Fun Zone  –  Your Therapy Source  –  Mama OT  –  Starfish Therapies  –  Playing With Words 365  –  Playapy

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Tonya is a pediatric Occupational Therapist, and loves creating things to work on skills and solve problems.

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39 replies
  1. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    Great outdoor activities! My kids are older, and we still enjoy these types of activities.

    Reply
  2. oona
    oona says:

    Great ideas. Another great “squeeze toy” is old shampoo bottles. My kiddo loves to squeeze all the shampoo, I mean water, out of them. 😉

    Reply
  3. Dana
    Dana says:

    Fun ideas and kids won’t even know they are “exercising” their hands and fingers.

    Reply
  4. Elyssa Donarski
    Elyssa Donarski says:

    Love the ideas. I can’t wait to use them next summer when my little one grows a bit.

    Reply
  5. Julie
    Julie says:

    I love your fire activity! I will have to try that this summer with my girls and then during the school year for community helpers theme! We love squirt bottle activities too. I love mixing paint with a small amount of water and spraying paint on the driveway or a large piece of paper!

    Reply
  6. Melissa D
    Melissa D says:

    Squirting the water at the ball looks like fun!

    (And for the record, I cannot get my comment to go through over at yourtherapysource. I’ve tried several times!)

    Reply
  7. Marlene
    Marlene says:

    I use squeeze bottles (ketchup, tartar sauce & my favorite- honey as they often have a stopper) plus soap pumps and spray misters to water my plants year round and especially as wee started our pumpkin patch, etc. with seeds inside this year!

    Reply
  8. Lori
    Lori says:

    I always appreciate low budget fine motor, hand strengthening, and visual motor activities. Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    My OT students love to draw on the sidewalk and then squirt it off with small squirt guns or small water bottles! They end up wanting to squirt and I draw, which is fine with me! They don’t know they’re doing the hard work!

    Reply
  10. Carrie
    Carrie says:

    These are great ideas. I look forward to trying some over the summer. I like the idea of using chalk to draw something and washing it away. And I have so many droppers in my silverware drawer…I should put them to some use. Never thought to use them in this way.

    Reply
  11. Jen K
    Jen K says:

    Cute ideas. I think it would be great for my children! I don’t have any droppers, but I think I’ll be getting some!

    Reply
  12. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    My little guy hated baths and water at firs but is starting to like them so I’m excited for summer and water play!

    Reply
  13. Laura J
    Laura J says:

    Oh the squirt gun and golf ball is such a neat idea!! So great for coordination! I am going to have to try that with Carter tomorrow! Fun!

    Reply
  14. Kristie
    Kristie says:

    This will be great for when my girl is older. I am liking all the new ideas that I can use during therapy to increase the fun and interest.

    Reply
  15. Anna H
    Anna H says:

    Love the fire idea! And what a great way to learn about community helpers, such as fire fighters!

    Reply
  16. Liz
    Liz says:

    I love to use squirt bottles to pop bubbles. It is very motivating for the children as well.

    Reply
  17. Anne Ypma
    Anne Ypma says:

    I tried the car wash activity using the squirt bottle, assembly line, etc. and my kids were bored in about 5 minutes 🙁

    Reply
  18. acey
    acey says:

    oh these are GREAT ideas! especially since we don’t have a fancy water table (yet) this will really turn our bucket and tub water time into more fun!

    Reply
  19. lily
    lily says:

    My little ones are still two small for the water guns, but I’ve never thought of playing with sponges, that’s a great and cheap idea for this summer 🙂

    Reply
  20. Kristin Gideon
    Kristin Gideon says:

    My oldest son would love some squirt guns! I definitely need to buy a few to use this summer. Great ideas here!

    Reply

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