10 Fun Ways To Develop Hand Strength Using Theraputty

This semester Synchrony OT has been lucky enough to be involved with the final year OT student projects through the University of Queensland.  Our students were able to put together some great exercises that you can use at home to develop your child’s hand strength.

Why is hand strength important?

Hand strength is an important area of child development. Children are constantly using their hands throughout the day and require strength for tasks such as:

  • Getting dressed
  • Brushing their teeth
  • Tying shoe laces
  • Using a knife and fork
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Climbing
  • Doing up buttons
  • Drawing
  • Handwriting

It is important for your child to strengthen their hand and finger muscles so that they can complete these tasks effectively. Just like exercises and fitness, hand strength takes time and practice to develop. It is recommended that the following exercises are incorporated into your child’s daily routine to assist in developing their hand strength.theraputty

Theraputty is a resistant material that can be purchased from www.sensorytools.net 

Theraputty Exercises: Click on the links to see corresponding videos of how to complete each activity.

  1. Hide & Seek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR3z4VOUqJY
    • Hide small items/marbles/coins inside the theraputty.
    • Challenge your child to find them as fast as they can using both hands.
  2. Spider Web: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ03dDq58F8
    • Have your child begin by putting all 5 fingers together.
    • Place the theraputty on the tip of the fingers.
    • Have your child spread their fingers out, like making a ‘spider web’.
    • Bring fingers close together and repeat.
  3. Pinch The Snake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D-5gX71k3I
    • Being with the theraputty in a long flat piece.
    • Using their thumb and index finger, ask them to pinch the ‘snake’ as they work their way upwards.  Make sure finger dents are visible on the theraputty.
  4. Fingerprint: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_600Mg8C6w
    • Have your child roll the theraputty into a ball
    • Have them place the theraputty in their palm of their hand.
    • Direct them to squeeze it as hard as they can, with all 5 fingers at once, to leave ‘fingerprints’ in the theraputty.
    • Repeat the process.
  5. Pinch and Pull: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC4fMF2VdGk
    • Have your child roll the theraputty into a ball
    • By using all 5 fingers, have you child pinch and pull apart the theraputty.
  6. Twist itt Like Liquorice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qemuk7Wt31c
    • Have your child grab each end of the theraputty using all 5 fingers.
    • While pulling the theraputty, have your child twist each end of the theraputty in opposite directions, resembling liquorice.
  7. Finger Walking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXvW4yn6Tec
    • Have your child roll the theraputty into a snake.
    • Have your child place their fingers on the theraputty and walk along the putty (using 2-3 fingers) digging the fingers deep into the putty.
  8. Crack The Egg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muA_1VVOmn8
    • Have your child roll the theraputty into an egg.
    • Have them place the egg between the fingers and ask them to squeeze the egg using only those two fingers as hard as they can to ‘crack the egg’.
    • Repeat the activity for the other fingers.
  9. Make Your Own Marbles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoQk5JEO5CM
    • Have your child pinch and pull a marble sized piece of theraputty using their thumb, index and middle finger.
    • Using only those 3 fingers, have your child roll the theraputty into a small ball using a rotation movement of the fingers until the theraputty resembles a marble.
    • Continue steps 1 and 2 until all of the theraputty marbles have been completed.
  10. Spiky Caterpillars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvDJsbib5S4
    • Have your child being by rolling the theraputty into a snake and flattening it with either their palm/fingers.
    • Have your child pick up the sticks/popsicle sticks/pipe cleaners using 2-3 fingers and push in into the top of the theraputty.

-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapistkate headshot

Please feel free to ask questions or give me your feedback.  I am always more than happy to answer any emails personally.

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