Play Doh Connect Four is a fun activity that was created by Marie Logan, an Occupational Therapist with UAB Pediatric Neuromotor Clinic. This activity is a great way to combine the benefits of using play doh, and the fun of playing connect four while working on hand, wrist, and forearm skills. In order to play you need to have two different colors of play doh and a vertical surface to stick the play doh onto.
To start playing the game, you first need to make your play doh playing pieces, so you have to roll the play-doh into a log shape at the table. Keep your fingers straight and make sure only the arm is moving back and forth. Next, to make the individual pieces, use your pincer grasp to pinch small pieces off the play-doh log (i.e. 20). These will be the player’s game pieces. You may want to try rolling each play-doh game piece into a ball shape using thumb, pointer and middle finger for extra finger practice. Do the same thing with the next play doh color to make the other player pieces.
To work in some extra hand skills, you next have to transfer the two piles of game pieces to the playing area (i.e. window, refrigerator door, bathroom wall).
Some transfer ideas to target specific skills:
- Supination- practice turning your hand over to receive game pieces. (great opportunity to work on independent opening and release)
- Palm to Finger Translation- using your thumb and fingers, try working 1 game piece at a time from your grasp. Make sure your other fingers are still holding the remaining pieces in your palm.
- Wrist Extension- Carrying game pieces in a bucket while keeping wrist at neutral or higher.
If you want to, you can use tape to create columns and rows similar to the Connect Four board. Using your pointer finger to press the tape to the surface provides a wonderful opportunity to work on pointer extension. Now to play the game, you follow the Connect Four rules and take turns picking up and placing game pieces onto the surface. Playing on vertical surfaces encourages wrist extension and in hand manipulation skills from the players.
The first one to get 4 in a row wins!
- 2 Containers of Play-doh (different colors)
- Flat Vertical surface
- Tape *Optional
- Hand strength
- In Hand Manipulation
- Pincer grasp
- Wrist extension
You can also print out the play doh connect four as a pdf to have available as a reminder.