refine coordination with chopsticks
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Mature and refined grasp patterns, as well as in hand manipulation, require use of the small finger muscles, and they use the two sides of the hands separately. It can be challenging learning how to coordinate the pinky finger side of the hand…
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In hand manipulation skills using broken crayons

In order to work on in-hand manipulation skills with some kids, I decided to use little pieces of broken off crayon.  I had them hold two crayons at the same time, one in their palm, and one in their fingers.  Then I had them draw a shape…
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Balancing Bugs on a Leaf for Fine Motor

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…
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Big mouth creature for feeding pom poms to

I saw this cute little creature on Pinterest, but it originally came from a blog called The Preschool Experiment.  He was so easy to make, and adds some fun to placing objects into a container. He is made out of a clean parmesan cheese…
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Using pom poms and cups for in hand manipulation

When working on in-hand manipulation, you need to hold small objects in your hand, so what better object to use than pom poms. In this activity I had two different colors of silicone muffin cups, and the same colors of pom poms.  Instead…
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Play Doh Cake With Candles for Fine Motor

Of course, playdoh is a great toy for strengthening, but if you add candles, it can be good for in hand manipulation too. Make a cake out of playdoh, model magic, or any clay of your choice. Put some candles in the cake. They can…
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Button Push Ins

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…
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Paper Toys Website

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. …
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Tissue Tree

Start with drawing a tree trunk and some bare branches.  You can do this beforehand, or you can have the client do this. You then need to have little squares of tissue paper cut.  We used green, but you could use fall colors, or be creative…
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Styrofoam and tissue paper flower

I found this craft kit at Joann’s, but it would be so easy to do it from just things you have around your house.  It is a piece of styrofoam with a picture of a flower drawn on it.  I am definitely going to keep styrofoam packaging…
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Connect 4

An Occupational Therapy clinic can not function without this game. That may be an over statement, but Connect 4 certainly does work on a lot of OT skills. You have to pick up the checker-like pieces and reach up and slide them into the slots…
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Build Me a Castle

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…
puzzle board
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Feature Friday: Puzzle Board

I really love the activities that they come up with at the adaptions 4 kidz blog.  Here is another one.  It is for a vertical puzzle board.  Basically, you put flannel over a piece of foam core, and small pieces of velcro on the back of puzzle…
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Marble Maze

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…
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Mr. Potato Head

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…
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Piggy Bank

Money money money money. MONEY. Sorry, got distracted by a song in my head. You don’t have to be limited by access to a piggy bank. Money is great for in-hand manipulation, and you can just reach into your pocket and use the coins that…

Quick Tip; handwriting

Good in-hand manipulation skills can be an indicator of how good handwriting will be.
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Where has this game been all my life.  Actually, I played this game as a kid, and I have played it as therapy in the past, but I just re-discovered it as a therapy activity.  It is a perfect game for in hand manipulation skills or for…
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Bouncy Ball Hand Skills

Bouncy balls. Gotta love em. They come in all sizes, and as their name suggests, boy are they bouncy. I love this activity because you can be so concrete with your directions. Hold the blue ball with your finger and thumb. Now put the blue…