Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Top 10 OT Fine Motor Tools Under 1$

photo-30

Here is a list of my Top 10 Fine Motor Tools along with activities you can do with your little ones.

1. Clothes Pins

IMG_2932

Therapeutic Benefit: Strengthens muscles used for a pincer grasp which is a precursor to a tripod grasp on writing utensils (the most efficient type of pencil grasp).

2. Stickers

IMG_1900

Therapeutic Benefit: Stickers are small and delicate. They require children to use a neat pincer grasp with the tip of their fingers and to be gentle so as not to crumple the sticker (graded finger control)

  • Check my post on 8 ways to use stickers

3. Scissors

DSCF0485

Therapeutic Benefit: the open and close motion of the hand against a resistive medium helps strengthen the same muscles of the hand that are used for handwriting. Cutting is also an excellent bilateral coordination activity because as one hand cuts with the scissors the other holds and moves the paper (active assist). Furthermore, cutting takes motor planning skills as to plan how to cut out a figure.

  • Cut straws to make a necklace
  • Make long playdoh hot dogs and snip
  • Cut along a maze or a road (great motor coordination activity)

4. Playdoh

IMG_3056

 

Therapeutic Benefit: Great resistive  medium to strengthen little fingers.

  • Hide items in the dough and have children find them
  • Make a hot dog and cut it with a plastic knife or scissors
  • Stick golf tees and balance marbles
  • Stick dry spaghetti or skewers and string beads on them (you can do a pattern)
  • Roll out dough and used cookie cutters, rolling pins and cutting wheel
  • Make little balls with fingers and squeeze

5. Shoelaces

Therapeutic Benefit: These can be used to work on various fine motor skills. When holding the tip of the lace, children work on improving neat pincer grasp. This is an important part of dexterity.

  • Teach your child to tie shoelaces using 2 DIFFERENT colored laces
  • Make holes on card stock paper and use to teach lacing
  • Use for beading to make a necklace

6. Beads

DSC03025

Therapeutic Benefit: The small size of beads provides the opportunity to work on many fine motor skills that require neat pincer grasp. They can also be used for in-hand manipulation skills such as nesting and retrieving.

7. Push Pins

IMG_2226

Therapeutic Benefits: These can help strengthen neat pincer grasp which in turn is a precursor to a tripod grasp with writing utensils.

  • Use push pins to poke around a shape
  • Use similar colors to match answers on a cork board
  • Poke on playdoh to practice making letters

8. Wikki Stix

IMG_6038

Therapeutic Benefits: So many ways to meet therapeutic goals using wiki stic. Check out my post 10 Ways to Use Wikki Stix.

9. Tweezers

Therapeutic Benefits: This is another great way to strengthen muscles involved in neat pincers grasp which are also used to hold a pencil correctly during handwriting.

  • Pick up small items to sort
  • Pull out items from playdoh
  • Use during counting games to pick up items
  • Incorporate in an obstacle course ex: pick up item with tweezers, walk across a balance beam without dropping items.

10. Hole Puncher

IMG_4285

Therapeutic Benefit: This is a good tool to strengthen muscles of the hand and also a great activity when teaching cutting skills because the hole puncher mimics the open/close motion of scissors.

  • Teach cutting complex figures by hole punching along the shape and cut through the holes.
  • Punch out holes from different colored construction paper and use the “confetti” to create a picture or write your name or then use a shoelace for “sewing”

 

 

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Miss Mancy’s Favorite Toy List

The parents I work with always ask me for a list of suggested toys for Hanukah or Christmas so this year I put together a little list for different age groups:

photo-98

3 to 5 Years Old:

1- Dino Popper is a great way to strengthen little hands. I like the Dino more than the other animals because it fits better in small children’s’ hands.

poppers-dino-angles

2- Snap and Learn Lady Bugs: This toy works on so many wonderful skills. Not only can you build number concepts and color concepts but the resistance allows to strengthen little hands and also works on constructional skills like a puzzle.

snap and learn bugs

3- Alex Toys ABC Beading: This is a versatile toy that not only helps children work on bilateral coordination skills through beading but it can be used to create words and learn letters.

abc string

4-Mr Potato Head: The classic Mr Potato Head is a great toy for little ones. They work on body part identification as well as strengthen little hands.

mrpotatohead

5- Smart Snack Cupcakes: Kids love this toy! They match the top and bottom of the cupcakes depending on the shape. I like to have older children try to put these together by placing the cupcake behind their backs so as to occlude vision.

Cupcakes

5 to 7 Years Old:

1- Magneatos: Get ready for your child to be busy for hours! These balls and sticks are large magnets that can be used to create really cool structures.

magneatos

2- Magnetiles: This is also a great toy! These magnetic shapes are flat and are used to create wonderful structures.

magnetiles

3- Design and Drill: This is another fabulous toy! Children can copy designs by screwing colored screws with an electric drill! Kids really love this! They can also create their own design. This is great for hand strength and to shape the arches of the hand.

educational-insights-design-and-drill-activity-center

4- Suigz: Love this toy for strengthening little fingers. By squeezing the squigz, children build structures that attach to one another with suction. Don’t forget to have children break apart the structures; another opportunity to strengthen hands/fingers.

squigz

5- Edu-shape Magic Symmetry: Here is a fun way for children to create mirror images. This is a wonderful visual perceptual activity that requires problem solving and visual motor skills.

edushape-magic-symmetry-multicolor_0700

7 Years and Up: 

1- Spot it: Excellent visual perceptual game. Children race to find 2 matching shapes, letters or numbers on the card.

spot it

2- PathWords Jr: LOOOOOOVVVVVEEE this game. Such a smart toy! Children have to find the required words using different length/colored sticks. They must therefore use visual perceptual skills along with spelling skills. This is one of my favorite games for older children.

pathwordsjr

3- Chocolate Fix: Here is another very cool game that works on visual perceptual skills as well as motor planning and problem solving. By process of elimination they try to figure out where the different chocolates go on the tray.

chocolatefix

4-Poppin’ Puzzlers: I grew up on this game and loved the thrill of finding the shapes before the tray popped! Now ypou can play against an opponent!

poppin puzzlers

5-Curious George Discovery Beach Day: Kids really really like this game. I like that it works on visual perceptual skills and visual memory. Children try to remember where they found the item from the card they picked.

discovery beach day

 

You can purchase any of these items on Miss Mancy’s AMAZON store. CLICK HERE for link

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Great Fine Motor Tools to Incorporate in Your Classroom

Here are some of my favorite fine motor tools that all teachers should consider incorporating in their classrooms when creating stations. These tools work on finger strength, pincer grasp, pincer strength, hand arches and/or in-hand manipulation skills. The importance of these skills is that their mastery actually helps improve pencil grasp and promotes dexterity.

1- Chopsticks: Using adaptive chopsticks to sort pompoms, mini erasers, figurines, buttons and other small items encourages children to use a pincer grasp and therefore strengthens the fingers used to grasp a pencil correctly. Furthermore, these chopsticks must be used with the correct amount of strength i.e it works on graded finger control (using the “just right” amount of force)

 IMG_4927

2-Play dough: The versatility of play dough is endless. This resistive material helps strengthen little fingers during play. You can use it with cookie cutters, to make small balls or little snakes, hide small items to be found or to make letters of the alphabet.

IMG_1699

3-Clothespins: I love to use clothespins during sorting activities. Any time you can use clothespins to pick up small items (rather than the child’s fingers) try to incorporate that. It will strengthen little fingers used for pencil grasp. Get creative!

photo-41

4-Easel: This is by far one of the best tools to have for children in the classroom. It helps place the wrist in the correct extended position which in turn assists fingers to grasp the pencil more easily. I love when teachers use easels for writing assignments or for art projects. Check out my post on easels.

portable easel

5- Tweezers: Tweezers can be used to pick up small items. You can use regular tweezers or plastic ones. Just like clothespins and adaptive chopsticks they utilize and strengthen the fingers that children need to use for proper pencil grasp.

6- Stickers: Children love stickers and there are endless ways to use them. Check out my post on stickers.

IMG_1900

7- Mini erasers, coins or buttons: Manipulatives are really wonderful for counting, sorting, in-hand manipulation skills and for use with tweezers or chopsticks. You can also hide them in play dough, rice or shaving cream and ask children to find them.

IMG_5001

8- Beading: Different sized beads are a great way to work on bilateral coordination skills with little ones while working on neat pincer. You can bead on a pipe cleaner or on a string depending on the child’s skill level. You can also ask them to copy a pattern or make their own.

DSC03039

9- Lacing: This is another important bilateral coordination skill that we teach young children. Lacing cards are great and you can create your own!

IMG_4291

10- ABC insert puzzle or foam letters: I love Alphabet puzzles and foam letters because they can be used in sooooo many ways. You can play word games, copy the letter, ask children to spell words, or pick out the letter with a specific sound. You can hide them in shaving cream or make them a part of a scavenger hunt. The possibilities are endless!!!

IMG_6249

11- Plastic Sleeve and Dry erase markers: This is a great way to re-use worksheets with more than one child. Place the worksheet in the plastic sleeve. Once your child completes it, they can erase it and it can be used by another student! Check out my post on plastic sleeves.

IMG_2375

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Froggy

image

Activity 1:

Use the small pompoms and adaptive chopsticks to feed the frog some flies!

This works on pincer grasp which is needed to promote a good pencil grasp. Make sure your child uses his thumb and 1-2 fingers.

Activity 2:

Use the playdoh to make small balls using only the thumb and first 2 fingers. Then squish them onto the circles on the frog. This activity helps with finger isolation as well as finger strength.

Activity 3:

Use a dry erase marker (not included) to color in each circle. Make sure your child colors in a circular pattern. This type of coloring will help with finger isolation rather than whole arm/hand movements when coloring.

You can purchase this activity as a part of MissMancy’s Summer Days Kit

Note:

You can also have your child cut out the frog using scissors and cut out the mouth so it makes it more real when they feed the frog!

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Butterfly Lacing Cards

You Will Need From Your Kit:

photo-39

  • Butterfly cut out
  • hole puncher
  • Ribbon (make sure to cut 10 inches for the door hanger activity in your kit)
  • Stickers

You can purchase this activity as a part of MissMancy’s Summer Days Kit

Step 1: Use hole puncher to make holes over each dot on the butterfly

image

Step 2: Place clear tape on both ends of the ribbon to make it easier lace

image

Step 3: Begin at the bottom of the butterfly and lace ribbon under the 2 bottom holes. Even out the 2 ends of the ribbon

photo-49

Step 4: Begin lacing through each hole (use one ribbon for each wing)

photo-50

Step 5: Lace the other wing and make a bow in the middle where both ribbons meet.

photo-48

Step 6: Peel stickers and decorate your butterfly

photo-46

Skills Addressed:

The use of a hole puncher helps children work on grip strength. It also mimics the open and closing movement of scissors which is a good activity for children who have difficulty with cutting skills.

Lacing is an important bilateral coordination skill. It can be challenging for little ones.

Peeling stickers works on neat pincer which is important for accomplishing many fine motor tasks.

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Sailboats

You Will Need From Your Kit:

image

  • Thick stock paper
  • sticker
  • mini plastic container
  • playdoh
  • dowel
  • hole puncher

You can purchase this activity as part of Miss Mancy’s Summer Days Activity Kit!

Step 1: Use puzzle included in this kit to measure the size of a square on card stock paper.

image

Step 2: Cut out the square and then cut it in half to create 2 triangles

image

Step 3: Use the hole puncher to make 3 holes on the short edge of the triangle

image

Step 4: Use stickers to decorate the triangle on both sides and weave the dowel in the holes to create a sail

image

Step 5: Make a small ball with some playdoh

image

Step 6: Mold the dough at the top of the small container to create a small “mountain” . Make sure it sticks well

image

Step 7: Create your sailboat by sticking the dowel into the dough!

image

Skills Addressed:

This activity incorporates many fine motor skills that children use at school.

Cutting works on bilateral coordination skills while using the hole puncher mimics the opening and closing motion of scissors. This helps children that have difficulty with cutting skills. The resistance of the hole puncher also helps strengthen little hands.

The rolling the playdoh helps with finger isolation and peeling stickers works on creating a neat pincer. These fine motor skills help children with dexterity.

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Summer Bug Bead

You will Need From Your Kit:

  • Pipe cleaners body and head
  • Beads
  • Wing drawings on thick stock paper

image

You can purchase this activity as a part of MissMancy’s Summer Days Kit

The Activity:

This is a great activity you can do with little ones to teach beading skills. Many little ones have a hard time beading on a string so use pipe cleaners that are more stiff than a string to facilitate beading. Beading is an important task for little ones to learn since in works on bilateral coordination.

You can ask children to be creative and bead as they wish OR you can ask them to follow a certain pattern in order to work on visual perceptual skills.

You can ask children to be creative and bead as they wish OR you can ask them to follow a certain pattern in order to work on visual perceptual skills.

Cut out wings to create either a butterfly or a dragonfly! OR leave as is for caterpillars!

Skills Addressed:

An important bilateral skill that young children have to learn is beading. This teaches them to use both hands simultaneously! Also picking up small beads helps improve a neat pincer grasp needed for good fine motor skills.

This activity also incorporates simple cutting skills which once again works on bilateral coordination.

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Sunshine Door Hanger

You Will Need from your Kit:

photo-42

  • Linen Flower cut out
  • 10 clothespins
  • Yellow and orange paint
  • Paintbrush
  • 10 inch piece of ribbon
  • 2 wiggle eyes
  • “The Sun has Set” printout
  • Scissors (not included)
  • Glue (not included)
  • Black Marker (not included)

You can purchase this activity as part of Miss Mancy’s Summer Days Activity Kit!

STEP 1: Paint 5 clothespins yellow and 5 clothespins orange. Make sure to paint bot sides and you may need a double coat.

photo-41

Step 2: Paint the front and back of the linen flower (optional) yellow or orange or both…I painted mine pink.

photo-53

Step 3: Cut out the ” The Sun Has Set” and stick it at the back of the flower

photo-45

Step 4: Stick the 2 wiggle eyes and use a black marker do draw a mouth on the other side of the flower (on the linen side)

photo-44

Step 5: Add a piece of ribbon through the hole at the top of your flower and make a knot

Step 6: Once the clothespins are dry, pin them on the flower to create a sunshine!

photo-54

You can use the sunshine as a door hanger!

photo-40

Skills Addressed:

Painting is a great way to work on grasp so it can be carried over to a pencil grasp. Make the paint surface vertical (like placing the flower to be painted on an easel or wall) and it will work on wrist strength and shoulder strength.

Cutting a circle is an important Kindergarten bilateral coordination skill that children learn. Make several colored copies of the sign  in case they need practice.

I love using clothespins to strengthen little fingers. Make sure they use only a neat pincer grasp (i.e. thumb and first finger). Strengthening these muscles improves pencil grasp and overall hand dexterity for other fine motor activities. Use the final product several ways: as part of an obstacle course, patterning, on a scooter, over a therapy balls etc… there are endless ways to use it!

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

10 Great Ways to Use Wax Strings

Here are 10 Great Ways that I like to use Wikki Stix

1-Place it around the top end of crayons to give children a visual and tactile cue as to where to place their fingers

IMG_1894
2-Teach how to color in the lines by outlining a shape with the string.

DSCF0122

3- Teach how to trace by placing string outlining the shape (it becomes like a stencil) then have children trace either on the inside or outside border of the string.

IMG_6038
4- Use over and over for word match games

IMG_6054
5- Draw a design and have children fill it in with wax string or make figurines as it was designed to play.

IMG_1938

6- Practice letter formation by writing words on paper and having children use precut pieces of string to form letters.

IMG_6031
7- Form letters using foam letters

IMG_6025
8-Teach cutting by having children cut along the wiki stick border

IMG_6045
9- Play wall tic tac toe. The vertical surface is great for strengthening wrist flexors.

IMG_6052

10- Work on motor coordination by creating a path with string and have your child draw a line by staying in the path. I also like using a wiggle pen for added hand control.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Category Pick Up

Something that has been coming up lately during sessions with my kids is the importance of Categories. When
Children begin acquiring language they first learn to label and name things in their environment. With time they learn to organize the many words they learn into more and more sophisticated categories ex: an apple can be categorized as food, fruit, perishable etc…
As OTs we don’t work explicitly on language but I love funding ways to invitoitdtr speech therapy goals during OT sessions.
Here is a little activity I created that works on teaching categories (SLP goal) while working on pincer grasp and strength (OT goals)

You Will Need:

  • Miniature items such as erasers and small toys. (I have transportation and foods)
  • Create labels with a visual for each category (in this case transportation and food)
  • Adaptive chopsticks

This activity is also available here at Miss Mancy’s SHOP

The Activity:

Place all mini items in front of your child. Have them use the adaptive chopsticks to pick up one item at a time, name it and place it on the label for the correct category!

IMG_5926

OT Corner:

I love using adaptive chopsticks to teach children the proper way to isolate the correct fingers and strengthen the correct muscles that they need for a proper pincer grasp.

Just make sure that they hold the chopsticks with their thumb and 2 first fingers and all other fingers are tucked in the hand. If the chopsticks are to heavy for little hands to hold, I allow them to use all other fingers however they MUST keep an open web space (i.e. the space between the thumb and index finger that forms a nice open circle when this tool is held correctly)

Working on these muscles is a great way to help children strengthen the muscles used for an efficient grasp on pencils!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Pick up Chicks

I love finding different ways to use adaptive chopsticks. They are such a great addition to many of the fine motor games that we play with children in OT. This is one great tool!

Therapy Corner: 

I love using adaptive chopsticks to teach children the proper way to isolate the correct fingers and strengthen the correct muscles that they need for a proper pincer grasp.

Just make sure that they hold the chopsticks with their thumb and 2 first fingers and all other fingers are tucked in the hand. If the chopsticks are to heavy for little hands to hold, I allow them to use all other fingers however they MUST keep an open web space (i.e. the space between the thumb and index finger that forms a nice open circle when this tool is held correctly)

Working on these muscles is a great way to help children strengthen the muscles used for an efficient grasp on pencils!

What you Need:

  • Construction paper cut out in the shape of a flower or a nest
  • Adaptive Chopsticks
  • Mini Chicks

 

The Activity:

Write the alphabet in disorder on one side of the flower. Ask your child to circle the letters of the alphabet in order. Making small circles helps children work on finger movements to ensure a dynamic grasp (rather than a static whole arm movement grasp).

IMG_4932

For every letter that your child circles in the correct order, they get one second for each letter. They then turn over the flower and get to place that many chicks using the chopsticks.

IMG_4927

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

10 Ways to use Easter Eggs with Kids

1- Vowel Search: Write a vowel and hide it in an egg, once your child finds an egg with a letter they must name the 2 sounds this letter makes and/or write a word for each of the sounds made by that vowel.

IMG_5400

2- Use a grabber to pick up eggs to work on grip strength or finger strength depending on the grabber used.

IMG_5396

3- Match cards to eggs. This is a great activity for visual perceptual skills and graded finger control (children learn to be gentle with fingers) Check out this activity at Make and Takes

Easter-Eggs-1

4-Draw dots on one half of the egg and a number on the other half  ex: 3 dots for number 3. Ask children to find the match (Make sure to use different colored halves so that children are not relying on matching color) Check it out at Room Mom 101

egg1

5-Use a scooter  board to find matches on either side of the room.

6- Walk across a balance beam holding an egg on a spoon or with 2 spoons.

7-Match uppercase and lowercase letters on either half of the eggs.

8- Bunny and friends: Hide the name of animal in each egg and as children find them, they must imitate the animal walk

IMG_5404

9-Math match: Write numbers on both halves of the eggs. Ask children to match top and bottom by same color. They must then add both numbers and put that amount of beads in it. ex: 3 + 4= 7 (put 7 beads in that egg)

10-Hide foam letter stickers in the eggs, when children find an egg, they peel the sticker, place it on paper and write a word that starts with that letter or have them find the letters of their name and then copy it.

DSCF0734

Categories
Fine Motor Activities Visual Perceptual Activities

Easter Finger Work TIC-TAC-TOE

I love going to the Dollar Store and finding great (inexpensive) tools that I can use to create purposeful activities.

Therapy Corner:

When working on fine motor skills it is important that your child learn how to use both sides of his hand simultaneously and in a coordinated manner. In a nutshell, you want the first 2-3 fingers of the hand (which includes the thumb aka the radial side of the hand) to do the work/movement while the last 2-3 digits of the hand work as stabilizers (aka. ulnar side of the hand). This is an important pre-cursor to a good pencil grasp. Think about it, the first few digits of the hand hold the pencil and move during handwriting activities while the ulnar side of the hand pushes down into the table to stabilize the paper.

With that said, we work on:

Nesting Skills (i.e. picking up small items with fingers and placing them in the palm of the hand)

Retrieving Skills (i.e transferring small items from the palm of the hand to the tip of the fingers)

Pincer Grasp Strength (i.e. using the thumb and one or 2 other fingers to pick up items. This is a precursor to a functional tripod grasp for writing)

What I also love about Tic-Tac-Toe is that it’s a great visual perceptual and  problem solving game!

You will need:

  • Tic Tac Toe board from dollar store
  • Putty

The Activity:

Ask you child to place putty behind the board game (this will provide resistance to strengthen little fingers and helps keep the pegs upr

IMG_4935
The goal is to work on nesting and retrieving skills therefore,
Place all the pegs in your child’s hand and have them use the same hand to wiggle one peg at a time out of their palm (retrieving)

IMG_4949
When one round is done, ask your child to pick up one peg at a time and keep them in the palm of their hand (nesting)

IMG_4960
Pincer grasp: when pushing a peg into the board, make sure your child uses only their thumb and index finger.

For children with more advanced finger skills, I like to give them one peg at a time from the bottom and have them flip it using their fingers to hold it from the head of the bunny before pushing it into the peg board.

IMG_4944

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Spray Those Hats

Therapy Corner:

As OTs we are always looking for activities to improve hand strength and grasp but at the same time, we want children to have the awareness of how much force  to use with their hands depending on the task. This is known as graded control. This activity provides the opportunity to work on both!

You Will Need:

  • 6 mini plastic St-Patty’s hats (I got these at the dollar store)
  • Spray bottle

The Activity:

Do this activity outside…It’s gonna get wet!! Ask children to form a pyramid using all 6 hats. This will require them to be gentle while placing the hats because they fall easily.

IMG_5013

Then, using a spray bottle filled with water, have children spray the hats until they break the pyramid! This will work on hand strength! Kids love this outdoor water-fun activity!

DSCF0750.JPG

Categories
Gross Motor Activities

Magnetic Coin Rainbow Pick-up

Here is another wonderful activity that I like to do with a magnetic wand and bingo chips. Kids love the magical effect of the magnet 🙂 it never gets old!

Therapy corner (skills addressed):

Core strength/Coordination: The use of a scooter board is great to work on skills such as bilateral coordination. The reciprocal movement that children do with their feet in sitting or with their hands in prone (on the tummy) to maneuver the scooter works on bilateral coordination of the upper and lower extremities. Furthermore, using a scooter board helps strengthen core muscles. In prone, children work on strengthening their lower back muscles and neck extension muscles. While in sitting, the abdominal muscles are being used (especially when I asked children to hold their arms above their head).

When working on fine motor skills it is important that your child learn how to use both sides of his hand simultaneously and in a coordinated manner. In a nutshell, you want the first 2-3 fingers of the hand (which includes the thumb aka the radial side of the hand) to do the work/movement while the last 2-3 digits of the hand work as stabilizers (aka. ulnar side of the hand).

This activity also works on:

Nesting Skills (i.e. picking up small items with fingers and placing them in the palm of the hand)

Retrieving Retrieving (i.e transferring small items from the palm of the hand to the tip of the fingers)

Graded finger movements: I noticed that with children who are a bit “rough” with their fingers, it  is challenging to place the coins gently on the page without disturbing the other coins. This is what we call graded control. In other words, how much force to be used for different tasks. For ex: opening up a drawer filled with rocks does not require the same amount of force as opening a drawer of feathers 🙂

You will need:

  • Scooter board
  • Magnetic wand (available at MissMancy’s SHOP)
  • Different colored bingo chips (available at MissMancy’s SHOP)
  • Print out of rainbow (I got this one on line at: Making Learning Fun)

The Activity:

Spread out all bingo coins across the room.
Ask your child to lay on his tummy over the scooter and place the wand next to them on the scooter board so that both hands can be used. Note: you can also do this activity with your child sitting on the scooter board to work on other muscles (refer t

Name a color and ask the child to pick up all coins of that color using the wand.

IMG_5258

They then come back to the table and place the coins on the rainbow .

I like to use this part of the activity to work on in hand manipulation skills. This can be done by asking your child to hold all the coins in one hand and place them one by one on the rainbow    By  using fingers from the same hand to ” wiggle” the coin out. (Retrieving skills)
Continue until all coins are found and  placed on the rainbow.

IMG_5263

During cleanup get your child to work on nesting skills by picking up one coin at a time with the same hand and putting the coins away after every 8-10 coins they’ve picked up.

IMG_5178
I usually like to go the fun way and have them clean up the rainbow with the magnetic wand!!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Find the Four Leaf Clover

Therapy Corner:

I love using adaptive chopsticks to teach children the proper way to isolate the correct fingers and strengthen the correct muscles that they need for a proper pincer grasp.

Just make sure that they hold the chopsticks with their thumb and 2 first fingers and all other fingers are tucked in the hand. If the chopsticks are to heavy for little hands to hold, I allow them to use all other fingers however they MUST keep an open web space (i.e. the space between the thumb and index finger that forms a nice open circle when this tool is held correctly)

Working on these muscles is a great way to help children strengthen the muscles used for an efficient grasp on pencils!

You Will Need:

  • Adaptive Chopsticks (can be purchased here at MissMancy’s SHOP)
  • 12 Three-leaf clovers and 1 Four-leaf clover. I purchased these foam ones but you can make them out of cardboard paper
  • 13 green beads
  • Hot glue gun

The Activity:

Begin by cutting out clovers from cardboard paper or use ready-made foam clovers. I simply cut one out and added a fourth leaf to it.

IMG_5239

You can then glue on beads in the center of the clover.

Spread all clovers on the table or on the floor for a fun obstacle course and ask children to pick up the clovers by the bead using the chopsticks!

IMG_5245

Whoever finds the four-leaf clover wins!!!!!

IMG_5248

Other Ways to Play:

  • You can hide the clovers and play a treasure hunt game
  • Place them along a balance beam and have children pick them up and hold on to them to place them in a pot at the end of the beam. They must hold using the chopsticks at all times.
  • Make different colored clovers and as children pick them up they can sort them by color
  • Spread them out in the room and children pick them up while laying or sitting on a scooter
Categories
Fine Motor Activities

St-Patty’s Putty

Therapy Corner:

Putty is one of the best tools to use to improve finger and hand strength. The putty comes in different colors for different resistance however I like to use the medium resistance with my kids.
When a child digs to find items it helps him improve finger strength. At the same time, using their hands and fingers to feel for hidden items helps them work on tactile discrimination. This translates into activities such as closing their own buttons on pants or shirts without visually monitoring their fingers but instead using tactile discrimination to feel their way through the task.

You Will Need:

  • St-Patrick’s themed eraser
  • Putty (You can purchase here at MissMancy’s SHOP)
  • Containers
  • Graphing printout

The Activity:

I like to use small themed erasers that I hide in the putty and ask children to look for them.

Ask your child to find items on the putty by digging, pulling and kneading.

IMG_5008
As they find an item, they mark it on the graph and drop it into a container.

IMG_5001
Keep similar items together so they can double check their answers to the markings on the graph to make sure the amounts match!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Beaded Hearts <3 <3 <3

You Will Need:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Beads

The Activity:

Here is a nice simple beading activity for Valentines.

Begin by asking children to bead different colored beads unto a pipe cleaner. For younger children, I allow them to bead clors as they wish however for older children I make patterns that they need to copy.

Once children string beads on the entire pipe cleaner , twist both ends together.

IMG_4680

Then ask children to add one more bead at the tip and wrap the ends of the pipe cleaner around the last bead.

IMG_4693

This will create a raindrop shape. Shape the final product into a heart.

IMG_4697

Create all sorts of beautiful hearts and hang them around your home!

IMG_4675

Categories
Fine Motor Activities Sensory Activities

Penguin fish feed:

You will need:

  • An empty Tissue box
  • Black, white and Orange Construction paper
  • Straws
  • OR Adaptive chopsticks (You can purchase here at MissMancy’s SHOP)
  • Tissue paper

The Activity:

This is a nice way to work on oral motor skills and awareness of breath.

I created a penguin using a square Kleenex box.

I cut out fish from tissue paper and write letters of the alphabet using a pencil.

I then play as follows:

1-    Race between 2 children: Put 6 fish in front of each child and see who can be the first to put all the fish in the penguins mouth.

2-    Ask you child to spell different words by picking up the fish with the straw (inhale from the mouth) and placing them in the penguins mouth.

3-    Ask children to pick up specific letters or to pick up the one that sounds like or to pick up the first letter of the word etc…

If children have difficulty using the straw and controlling their breaths or even motor planning the sustained inhale, I make little balls out of tissue paper and have them use adaptive chopsticks to pick up the letters and feed the penguin.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Beading the Icicles

You will need:

  • 10 Pipe cleaners
  • White and blue beads
  • Foam stickers

The Activity:

This is a great way to work on fine motor skills and bilateral coordination with little children that have difficulty beading, while working on numbers concept.

I place a foam sticker at the top of every pipe cleaner and write the numbers 1 to 10.

Children then have to place the correct number of beads on each pipe cleaner to create icicles. (beading on bilateral coordination and neat pincer grasp). For children with more advanced fine motor skills, I ask them to pick up the correct number of beads by nesting and hold them in the same hand while beading. They retrieve beads one at a time with the same hand to work on retrieving skills.

I then secure the beads and ask children to line up the icicles in the ascending order of length without referring to the numbers at the top.

Once they line up the icicles, they can check their answers by flipping over the icicle to look at the numbers.

Therapy Corner

Nesting and retrieving  are important in hand manipulation skills as they affect the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the hand. Furthermore, holding beads in the ulnar side of the hand while the radial side of the hand is still beading, separating both sides of the hand, an important part of hand dexterity, so that one side acts as a stabilizer as the other does the work.

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Snowflake Letters:

You Will Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Markers
  • Winter themed hole puncher

The Activity:

This is a great activity for little ones to work on grip strength while learning their letters.

Ask children to Use a hole puncher to make snowflakes.  The squeezing will strengthen little hands while mimicking movement they will require for cutting skills.

Ask children to write the first letter of their name on construction paper.

Have them stick the snowflakes along the letter. Picking up the little snowflakes will work on pincer grasp.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Lacing Winter Hats

You will need:

  • Construction paper
  • Hole puncher
  • String/yarn/shoelaces/ribbon with a piece of tape wrapped on one end
  • Markers, stickers, stamps
  • Hole stickers

The Activity:

I love this activity because it’s pretty simple but works on so many wonderful skills.

Fold the construction paper width wise in half and ask children to cut a triangle.  Don’t cut the bottom edge yet!

Place 2 different colored round circle stickers on both sides of the edge of the triangle ½ inch apart from each other. This will reinforce the holes and provide a visual cue for hole punching and for lacing.

Ask children to make a hole at each dot using a hole puncher

Place both triangles on top of eachother and tie a piece of yarn or string to the first hole. (Note make sure the string is long enough but not too long as it can be difficult to manipulate. Also I like string or ribbon better than yarn) Using the end of the string that has tape around it, ask children to begin lacing using a running stitch.

I like to cue them by saying “one pink, one yellow, one pink, one yellow…”

Once the stictching is completes, tie a knot and have children to cut the bottom edge of the triangle….

Tada, there you have it, a nice winter hat!

They can use stamps, marker, stickers etc, to decorate!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Cutting Snow Shapes

You Will Need:

  • Winter Stamps
  • Construction Paper
  • Markers and Scissors
  • Textured (foam) stickers

The Activity:

Here’s another great way to teach little ones how to cut. I use white construction paper and draw basic shapes such as square, triangle etc…

I like cutting along the shape when im teaching cutting as it helps children cut on the lines more easily. i.e I drew a blue square and before asking my child to cut it out, I cut around it in the shape of a square.

I then ask children to peel and stick foam snowflake stickers on each corner. (This is a great way to work on pincer strength and fine motor skills)

Children then use winter themed stamps (i used snowflakes) and stamp along the line.

I then cue the children as follows:

“Cut across the snowflake” and “Turn when you get to a sticker”.

Here, we cut out a square and kept the scraps. We then used the shapes that we cut out, along with the scraps to form a person by sticking pieces on construction paper.

I draw a box at the top of the page and ask children to name their figure. (Little added handwriting practice)

They then use snowflake stamps to make a snowing scene.

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Miss Mancy’s Favorite FINE MOTOR Holiday Gifts

Parents ask me all the time to recommend toys for the Holidays. So here is a little list of some of my favorite games that work on a fine motor component. You can purchase all these items directly on MissMancy’s website either on my SHOP page or on my AMAZON SHOP! Enjoy!

#1 Cranium Cariboo: This is hands down children’s favorite game! It appeals to children of all ages. Children ask me for this game allll the time! They never get enough of it!!! I like it because it teaches little ones letter, number, shape and color concepts in a fun way AND I can adapt it easily by making cards to switch out depending the concepts i’m working on. The original Cranium Cariboo is discontinued (you can find it on ebay or Amazon at a very high price) HOWEVER, Cranium came up with a new version called Cranium ISLAND Cariboo. Kids love it too but I have to admit the original is wayyyyyy more appealing!

#2 Easel: This is my favorite product out on the market. I recommend this for allllll children! Trust me, your children will love coloring, writing activities with this travel easel. I have tried dozens of easels but this one draws children in!!! (It’s my secret writing weapon)

#3 Lite Brite: I loved this game as a child and still love it today. I like the travel version of Lite Brite. Most children don’t have the patience to complete the larger Lite Brite. I use it to work on finger strength and visual perceptual skills.

#4 Candy Land Castle Game: Little ones really like pulling the handle and searching for shapes and colors. It’s a wonderful sweet game!

#5 Kid K’NEX: Love all the different types of Kid K’nex games. This is a wonderful way to work on finger strength and constructional skills. Easily makes cool constructions and it has the just right resistance on fingers. Don’t forget that for kids with poor finger strength who need help building structures, there is great value in having them break apart the structure.

#6 Sound Puzzle with Braille Pieces Pets: Great puzzle! Makes animal sounds. The genius of this puzzle are the Braille writing on each animal piece!

#7Pop the pig: Many kids I work with love this game. It’s great for hand strength and counting skills.

#8 Drill set: Very appealing to boys…the girls not so much 🙂

#9 Button Art Alex: Easy peg game for little ones. This is great for finger strength and arch formation.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Beaded Tree Ornaments

You Will Need:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Colored beads
  • Ribbon

The Activity:

This is a great activity you can do with little ones to teach beading skills. Many little ones have a hard time beading on a string so use pipe cleaners that are more stiff than a string to facilitate beading. Beading is an important task for little ones to learn since in works on bilateral coordination.

Candy Cane: Have your child bead alternating red and white beads on a pipe cleaner. Secure both ends by rolling the ends of the pipe cleaner. Curve the top and add a little bow!

Wreath: Have your child alternate 2 green beads, 1 red bead. Fasten the pipe cleaner into a circle and add a bow.

These 2 activities are not only great for bilateral coordination but following a pattern takes organization and  visual perceptual skills! This is a wonderful craft to make with kids to give out as holiday gifts.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

The Snow Blower

You will Need:

  • Holiday straws
  • blue or white tissue paper
  • Painters tape

The Activity:

This is a great oral-motor activity. I like using this activity to improve children’s awareness of their breath.

Start by giving children large to medium sized-pieces of tissue paper and ask children to tear by using their fingers. This is wonderful bilateral coordination practice. Have children create little snowballs by pressing the tissue into circles using fingers only. Ask them to make tight balls (great way to work on finger isolation and finger strength)

You can play this game as a race between 2 children. I line up 3 to 5 “snowballs” and have children blow them across (and off) the table. Whoever blows all snowballs off the table first wins!

In order to teach children to control their breaths, create a curved road using tape on the table top and ask children to blow the snowball delicately along the road without losing control of the snowball!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Holiday Tags

You Will Need:

  • White card stock paper
  • Holiday foam stickers
  • Hole puncher
  • Ribbon

The Activity:

This is a wonderful way to work on several fine motor and visual-perceptual skills all in one! The kids looooved this activity not only because it’s fun but they get to create tags they can use!

Start by creating postcard size cards and draw a line to divide the card in half. Then place stickers on one side of the card.

Place a card in front of your child along with extra foam stickers. Ask your child to reproduce the figure on the card by choosing matching stickers. (This works on important visual discrimination skills)

Ask your child to peel the stickers and copy what they see on one side of the card. (great for pincer strength and finger skills)

Once your child copies the figure as shown, ask him to cut along the line to create 2 tags and have him write “From: NAME” at the back of each tag.(This works on simple cutting skills and handwriting)

Have your child use the hole puncher to make a hole at the top of the card (strengthens little hands) and slip a piece of ribbon through it!

Tada! Adorable tags.

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Santa needs a Beard

You Will Need:

  • Printout or drawing of Santa Clause with a big beard
  • Round Stick-on Magnetic
  • Cotton Balls
  • Alphabet Stickers
  • Adaptive Chopsticks

The Activity:

You can create your own Santa like I did by laminating a picture I found on line and adding a really large beard.

I stuck magnets on cotton balls

and also placed magnets on Santa’s beard.

I placed a letter sticker over the magnets on the cotton ball. I also covered the magnets on the beard with white paper circles that i cut out and stuck with glue.

I then laminated the entire santa so that I can use dry erase markers on it and use it in several ways when adapting to different skill levels and working on different concepts.

Alphabet Upper and Lower case letters: Ask your child to use adaptive chopsticks to pick up cotton balls. This will help your child work on important pincer grasp skills and match the upper case letter to the lower case letter on Santa’s beard.The magnets will help hold the cotton ball in place!

Math concepts: I also use this cute Santa to teach math concepts and learn how to write numbers. I use a dry erase marker to write down several math problems on Santa’s beard. Some of the cotton balls have number stickers on them. Children use the chopsticks to place the  cotton ball with the correct number on top of the math equation.

My focus as an OT is a child’s pincer strength so I love finding different ways to use chopsticks to work on these little muscles but at the same time turn it into a learning opportunity.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Triangle Holiday Tree

You will need

  • 2 different colored green construction paper
  • Colored ompoms
  • Foam stickers, glitter
  • White glue

The Activity

This is a great way to work on cutting triangles.

Draw different size triangles on the paper. You will need two of each shade.

Ask your child to cut all 4 triangles and stick them together in the shape of a Christmas tree.


Use stickers, pompon and other peel and stick items to decorate the tree. Stickers are a wonderful way for your children to work on pincer strength!


This is a great activity for many skill levels!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Frosty the Snowman

You will need:

  • White paper (card stock is best)
  • Hole puncher (i used one in the shape of a snowflake)
  • markers
  • Glue

The Activity:

This is a great cutting activity for children that have difficulty cutting circles and I like that it can be done quickly and easily so it’s a great craft to use in clinic as well when we have so many other things to work on in our sessions.

Start by asking your child (or you) to draw 3 different sized circles. Then use the hole puncher to make snowflakes all along the circle. This resistance activity is great for strengthening little hands and mimics the open and close concept of scissors (a great way to work on motor planning of opening and closing tools for children with difficulty maneuvering scissors)

Ask your child to cut the circles by cutting across each snowflake! The beauty of this activity is that by cutting across each snowflake, your child will naturally cut and turn, cut and turn, cut and turn (the bilateral coordination aspect of cutting which can be very challenging for little ones)

Once your child cuts out all 3 circles, stick them one on top of the other and color in facial features! In clinic when we are usually pressed for time and my goal is the cutting, I stop here, but you can take the time to add stickers and other really cool stick on foam accessories like a a broom, a hat etc…

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

I’m always looking for different resistive pins to help strengthen little fingers. These are a great adjunct to other therapy activities since they can be done over a therapy ball or scooter to improve shoulder and back strength OR in sitting on a therapy ball while reaching backwards (like a sit-up to work on abdominal strength) to pick up the clips!

You will need:

  • Bird clips (Got these at Target)
  • Thin wooden dowel
  • Wooden Flower cutout
  • Green felt

The Activity:

I painted a wooden dowel green for the stem and glued on a wooden flower cut out. I then cut out felt leaves and added them to the stem.

 

Ask your child to push on the wings of the bird to clip them onto the stem!

Scooter board:

I also do this activity with the child laying on their tummy (in prone) on a scooter board, using their hands only to propel the scooter across the room. I place all the pins on one side and the flower on the other so that they go back and forth. This allows them to work on core strength as well as hand/shoulder strength while practicing bilateral coordination during the reciprocal arm movements to move the scooter.

Therapy Ball:

You can do this activity in prone over a therapy ball. You hold the flower while your child picks up one bird at a time to squeeze it open onto the stem of the flower. Make sure your child’s stabilizing hand is FLAT on the floor and facing forward to strengthen the wrist muscles. You can also do this with your child sitting on the therapy ball and while holding them by the hip, have hem do a sit-up to pick up one bird at at time and come back up to sitting position to the clip it onto the stem.

Balance board:

I place the pins on the floor around a balance board and ask the child to squat down to pick up a pin while maintaining their balance.

Net swing:

I use a net swing in clinic and place the child on their tummy (in prone), I then spread out the pins around them on a mat and ask them to propel the swing with their arms in order to pick up the pins one at a time and place them on the flower. I also clip the pins on a rope and ask the child to pull their bodies up on the rope with their hands to retrieve a pin and then place it on the flower.

 

Categories
Autism Advice BLOG Fine Motor Activities

Spider Pick Up

I love using chopsticks to teach children the proper way to isolate the correct fingers and strengthen the correct muscles that they need for a proper grasp.

Just make sure that they hold the chopsticks with their thumb and 2 first fingers and allotter fingers are tucked in the hand. If the chopsticks are to heavy for little hands to hold, I allow them to use all other fingers however they MUST keep an open web space (i.e. the space between the thumb and index finger that forms a nice open circle when this tool is held correctly)

You can play this game several different ways:

Start by lacing Uppercase letter Stickers on the foam spider web (you can draw a web on a piece of paper)

You can play this game several different ways:

  • Ask your child to use the chopsticks to pick up spiders and place them only on the letters of their name!!!
  • You can also place lower case letter stickers on the plastic spiders and ask you child to match an upper case to its lower case letter.
  • Call out a spelling word and ask children to place spiders on the letters that spell that word.
  • Say things like: What letter does Spider start with? and ask children to put a spider on it.

This is a great Fine motor Halloween activity!

 

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

The Versatility of Stickers!!!

Sticker Fun:

Comes included in MissMancy’s Handwriting Starter Kit. Available for purchase on this site.

Cutting on sticker: place stickers on circular shape and instruct your child to cut through each sticker when cutting. This will teach him to turn and cut.


To move hand when  cutting: to teach hand placement /movement when cutting. Space out stickers along the edge of a paper and instruct to cut and move non dominant hand to one sticker at a time from bottom to top.


Where to start letter: For little ones as a reminder where to start their letters.


Dot to dot for letters: place small stickers as dots that children have to connect to make letters.

Spacing: great to teach kids spacing between words. Each sticker accumulated can be worth a point or a min on the Ipad.


Placement on crayon: for kids who can hold a pencil with a tripod grasp I use tiny stickers as a visual reminder as to where fingers go.

Place a sticker and write the word: I like finding out what a child likes ex:sea creatures …I buy cute stickers of the theme they love, I have then stick a few on paper and ask then to write the name of this animal in the box.

Neat pincer with art work: removing small stickers is a great way to work on neat pincer.

And of course let’s not forget that stickers are a great reward!

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Number Pin Cards

You will need:

The Activity:

For younger children, lay out the cards and the corresponding pins under each card. With older children, you can mix all the pins in a jar and just lay out the cards in front of them.

While working on number/counting concepts, this activity also works on works pincer strength (just make sure your child uses his thumb and index finger with all other fingers tucked in the palm of his hand.

Since the pins are small, you can also work on important in hand manipulation skills by having your child pick up pins one at a time (nesting) and them wiggling their fingers to get the pin out of the palm one at a time without using the opposite hand (retrieving skills) grasp and retrieving out of their palm) while working on number/counting concepts!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Letter Pop

You Will Need:

  • Large Bubble Wrap
  • Uppercase and Lowercase Alphabet stickers
Available for purchase exclusively on MissMancy’s Shop

The Activity:

I remember growing up I would love when my parents got something in the mail covered in bubble wrap. My sister and I would spend hours popping them. It’s addictive! So last week when I received a shipment of toys wrapped with large amounts of bubble wrap I didn’t have the heart to throw it away….so of course, I transformed it into a therapeutic activity!!

The benefit of popping bubble wrap is that it allows children to work on thumb strength, pincer strength and creating that O shape (open webspace between the thumb and index finger) that we try so hard to attain in OT so that children can then hold their pencils correctly during handwriting tasks and also to achieve improved dexterity!

I cut out a 1ft x 1ft piece of bubble wrap and placed Alphabet stickers all over it. Make sure you put ONE uppercase and ONE lowercase of each letter. You can also ask your child to help at this stage to prepare the activity. Peeling and sticking stickers is a GREAT fine motor activity!

Then give your child the bubble wrap and let them find a matching upper and lower case letter and pop them. You can ask your child to complete this task in the order of the alphabet or in any order.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Sea Creatures Clips

You will need:

  • Construction paper
  • Wiggly eyes
  • mini clothespins
This activity is available for purchase exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop

The Activity:

This is a great way to work on pincer strength. Just make sure that your child uses only his thumb and first finger to open the pins. Since the pins are small, you can work on in-hand manipulation by asking your child to hold 2-3 pins in his hand and wiggle them out from the palm to the tip of the fingers (without the help of the opposite hand).

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

10 Fun Activities to do with Pop Tubes

You Will Need:

  • Many pop tubes
Available for purchase at MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop

The Activities:

1-Pull open pop tubes at shoulder level or overhead and then spinning it around in a circle like a lasso (makes a cool sound and is great for shoulder strength)

2-Race: Who can close all the pop tubes as fast as possible (keep pop tube at shoulder level)

3-Five minutes on the clock: Who can write down on a piece of paper as many shapes you can make with pop tubes. Then show each other how to make the shape. (ex. Telescope, periscope, elephant trunk, tail, necklace, crown, letter 0, letter S etc…)

4-Make interlocking rings with pop tubes

5-Play tug of war

6-Play “I spy” by using pop tube as a telescope

7-Kids can make a long chain out of pop tubes, then wiggle it on the floor while children have to jump over it

8-Relay race, who can make the longest chain of pop tubes in 2 minutes

9- For little ones, place pop tubes in the sand box or bean/rice box or bath, they love to see how things go in one way and come out the other.

10- Play broken telephone using pop tubes (talking in a pop tube can get loud!!)

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Spikey the Stegosaurus

I really wanted to share this activity!!!

It was made by a very creative mom (thanks Leslie 🙂 who was inspired by the clothespin activities on the blog! I loooove it!

Please feel free to email me any activities you have tried as well as feedback at MISSMANCY@gmail.com. I will post and share!

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Sticker Constellation

You Will Need:

  • Black construction paper
  • Silver colored Sharpie Marker
  • Star stickers

The Activity:

I love sticker activities! It’s a simple and fun way for children of ALL skill levels to create something beautiful and experience SUCCESS! You can’t go wrong with stickers.

I saw this activity posted at one of the schools I visit. I think this is a fabulous way to teach children about constellations while working on pincer grasp.

On a fine motor level, it is important that children use their thumb and index finger to peel stickers. Also make sure that all other fingers are tucked into the palm of the hand. (you can ask your child to hold a penny or broken crayon in the same hand so that it ensures that they use the correct fingers)

Provide your child with construction paper and a silver marker. Ask him to draw a simple shape that they would love to see formed in the sky by stars. You can even ask your child to name the constellation 🙂

Ask your child to peel star stickers with the correct pincer grasp explained above and place it along their silver drawing!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Bead the Little Caterpillar

You will Need:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Craft pompoms
  • Wiggle eyes
  • Ribbon
  • Beads
  • Hot glue gun
You can purchase this activity exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop

The Activity:

This is a great activity you can do with little ones to teach beading skills. Many little ones have a hard time beading on a string so use pipe cleaners that are more stiff than a string to facilitate beading. Beading is an important task for little ones to learn since in works on bilateral coordination.

I made these attaching a pipe cleaner to a pompom and adding eyes as well as pipe cleaner antennas using a hot glue gun. I then took a little ribbon and tied it around the base of the caterpillar’s neck.

You can ask children to be creative and bead as they wish OR you can ask them to follow a certain pattern in order to work on visual perceptual skills.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Alien Invasion

You Will Need:

  • Drawing or printout of an alien face laminated
  • clothespins painted green (you can add feet, hands and antenna)
You can purchase this activity exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop

The activity:

Many activities that OTs do to improve pincer strength includes clothespins and resistive pins. I like making fun figures that children can clip body parts to. Make sure that your child is using their thumb and index finger with all other fingers tucked in the palm of their hands. This is a great activity to improve finger strength and will help children hold pencils more efficiently.

Start by laying out all the pieces in front of your child.

Then ask them to clip arms, legs and the antenna.

This is also a great activity to do on a scooter board. Your child can get on the scooter on their tummy and retrieve one piece at a time to then clip it on the alien head at the other end on the room.

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities Gross Motor Activities

Hanging them up to Dry

You will need:

  • A 3ft long ribbon
  • mini clothing pins
  • 5-6 items of Doll or Barbie Doll clothing
  • Balance Disc (Available for purchase at MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop)
You can purchase ribbon and mini clothespins exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop

The Activity:

This activity allows you to work on your child’s static standing balance while also working on bilateral coordination and finger strength.

I first place a balance disc on the floor however you can also use a balance board or Bosu ball. Then place 5-6 items of clothing on the floor around the disc and one mini clothing pin in front of each piece of clothing.

 

Ask your child to squat down and pick up one article of  clothing and one mini pin.

As you child stands up, hold the ribbon taut at their shoulder level and ask them to pinch the pin with 2 fingers to attach the clothing on the ribbon.

And this is how we hang them up to dry!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Push Pin Match Up

You will need:

  • Large Push Pins
  • Cork board
  • Rubber bands
  • MATCHING Worksheet
You can purchase this activity exclusively on MissMancy’s Shop

The Activity:

This is a wonderful way to work on different concepts while working on fingers/thumb strength and arch formation of the hand.

I created a worksheet to match the picture to the first letter of the word however, you can use any type of matching worksheets from a workbook or make your own.

I place the worksheet on a thick cork board (here I used 3 thin ones), and I give the child one pin at a time so that I can watch that they remain safe. They must use 2 matching colored push pin to match the correct answers to each other. The large push pins allows little hands to gain finger/hand strength while the cupping position of the hand at the top of the push pin allows for formation of the arches of the hand.

Make sure that when holding the pin, your child forms an O with his thumb and index finger over the pin and does NOT COLLAPSE the thumb into hyperextension (as pictured below).

Once the child has matched all answers to each other using the pins, I give them a rubber band that they must hold with thumbs only and pull from one matching colored pin to the other. This pulling motion with the thumb works on important thumb strength and position (required for many fine motor skills and promotes correct grasp on pencils).

I do also have the children undo the board however when removing pins I hold on to their wrist so that they don’t hurt themselves if they pull too hard.

Another fun way to complete worksheets with children while working on important hand skills!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Easter Egg Hunt

You will need:

  • Plastic eggs and basket
  • Grabber
  • Letter stickers
  • Paper and markers

The Activity:

This is a great Easter activity that I do every year with the kids. It can be adapted many ways but there’s something about Egg Hunts that keep the children motivated forever!

I use this activity to teach children the letters in their names while working on fine motor skills. Begin having your child place one sticker letter per egg. (opening and closing eggs allows them to work on fine motor skills as well as graded hand control)

For younger children, I write their name in large block letters on a piece of paper and for older children I draw boxes on paper corresponding to the number of letters in their name.

I hide the eggs around the house and the egg hunt begins.

Get your child to find all the eggs and place them in their basket by using the grabber (works on hand strength).

Then have your child open one egg at a time and peel the sticker that they find (fine motor skills).

I ask the children to stick the letter on the corresponding letter or box and then copy the letters of their name.

For older children who have to work on handwriting skills, I ask them to write a word for each letter of their name.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Scoop Up the Rainbow

You will need: 

  • Sheets of felt including brown and 6 different colors
  • 1 large button
  • 15 inch long gingham ribbon
You can purchase this activity exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop

Preparing the Activity:

Cut one piece of brown felt into the shape of a triangle for the cone. Cut out 6 different colored ice cream scoops. Sew a button to one end of the ribbon and the brown felt triangle to other end of the ribbon.

The Activity:

This is a really fun way to teach your child how to open and close buttons; an important fine motor/self-care skill. I like to lay out the ice cream scoops on a table and play a sequencing game to test their auditory memory. For example, I say: “Place blue, green then yellow…Go!”.

You can also draw an ice cream cone on paper with a specific order of colored scoops and ask your child to create an identical replica. This works on matching and sequencing skills.

Once all the ice cream scoops are inserted, line them up and enjoy your ice cream!!!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Itsy Bitsy Spider Lost Her Legs

You will need:

  • Spider Cut out made from Foam paper and wiggly eyes
  • Clothespins or Bag Clips
You can purchase this activity exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop (note that colors may vary from the picture)

The Activity:

This is a great way to strengthen your child’s fingers. The stronger your child gets, the more resistive clips you can use. You may want to start with clothespins that are easier to squeeze open and then bag clips that can be harder to open.

I use this activity in therapy in many many ways. I usually begin with a story that my little spider lost her legs and we are on a mission to find them. You can sit down with your child and just have them squeeze the pins on the spider or hide the pins to turn it into a hunt.

Scooter board:

I also do this activity with the child laying on their tummy (in prone) on a scooter board, using their hands only to propel the scooter across the room. I place all the pins on one side and the spider on the other so that they go back and forth. This allows them to work on core strength as well as hand/shoulder strength while practicing bilateral coordination during the reciprocal arm movements to move the scooter.

Balance board:

I place the pins on the floor around a balance board and ask the child to squat down to pick up a pin while maintaining their balance.

Net swing:

I use a net swing in clinic and place the child on their tummy (in prone), I then spread out the pins around them on a mat and ask them to propel the swing with their arms in order to pick up the pins one at a time and place them on the spider. I also clip the pins on a rope and ask the child to pull their bodies up on the rope with their hands to retrieve a pin and then place it on the spider.

With young children, we usually finish this activity by singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” Song!!!!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Tennis Ball Chomper

You will need:

  • Tennis ball with a 2 inch slit (and wiggly eyes glued on using a hot glue gun)
  • 12 Small coins
  • Textured inflatable disc (Available for purchase at MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop)
You can purchase the this tennis call and coins activity exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop

The activity:

Prepare this activity by cutting a 2 inch slit across a tennis ball using a sharp blade (be careful). Then stick two wiggly eyes using a hot glue gun. You’ve created a tennis ball chomper! Feel free to decorate your ball with as much as you’d like!

Place the textured disc on the floor and put 12 small coins all around it. Have you child stand on the disc while holding the tennis ball in one hand.

Get your child to squat down to pick up one coin at a time and place it in the tennis ball’s mouth by squeezing the ball open with one hand and inserting the coin with another.

After 6 coins have your child switch hands. This will help you child strengthen his hand by squeezing the ball and improve bilateral coordination by inserting coins with the opposite hand.

Furthermore, the use of the disc will allow your child to work on static standing balance while strengthening his ankles.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Twist and Turn

You will need:

  • Stackable Pill Box
  • Colored beads
You can purchase this activity exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop

Therapy Corner:

When working on fine motor skills it is important that your child learn how to use both sides of his hand simultaneously and in a coordinated manner. In a nutshell, you want the first 2-3 fingers of the hand (which includes the thumb aka the radial side of the hand) to do the work/movement while the last 2-3 digits of the hand work as stabilizers (aka. ulnar side of the hand).

With that said, we work on:

Nesting Skills (i.e. picking up small items with fingers and placing them in the palm of the hand)

Retrieving Retrieving (i.e transferring small items from the palm of the hand to the tip of the fingers)

 The one-hand twisting activity allows your child to develop the arches of their hand, while the two-hand twisting part of this activity works on strengthening your child’s wrists and improving bilateral coordination.

The Activity:

Place colored beads in a dish in front of your child along with the Stackable pill box. Mark each colored container with a number.
Ask your child to hold the pill box with two hands and twist. This will work on strengthening the wrists while practicing bilateral coordination.
Get your child to then pick up by nesting (i.e. picking up small items with fingers and placing them in the palm of the hand) the corresponding colored beads to the opened container.
Ask your child to drop them in one at a time to practice retrieving skills (i.e transferring small items from the palm of the hand to the tip of the fingers).

Once the beads are placed in the container, get your child to use one hand to twist it closed from the top of the stackable pill box. This will help develop the arches of the hand.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities Gross Motor Activities

Happy Pin Pick up

What you need:

The Activity:

I learned this great game from Roni, a wonderful OT that I work with. Clip different colored smiley face clips to your child’s clothing. Have the child stand on the wobble board. Then ask your child to get 1 clip, 1 specific color then 2 clips, 2 different colors in the order that you name them then 3 clips then 4 etc…The more clips your child retrieves correctly, the greater number of colors you request (you can also request the same color more than once ex: red, blue, red, pink). If your child gets the clips incorrectly, put them back on his clothing and ask for a new sequence of colors with the same number of clips. Only increase to a longer sequence if your child gets the presented one correctly.

Make sure that your child squeezes the clips using the thumb and two other fingers.

Therapy Corner:

This activity works on several important skills. When standing on a wobble board, your child works on static standing balance as well as proprioception. Your child has to constantly be aware of his body when he completes this on a wobble board and readjust his body not to fall off.

Also, the use of clips allows your child to strengthen his pincer grasp and the color sequencing game gives your child the opportunity to work on auditory memory.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Paper Clip Counting Cards

You will need:

  • Colored jumbo paper clips
  • Cue cards cut in half (or 3 X 3 inch square piece of construction paper)
You can purchase this activity exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop

How to make number cue cards:

Cut cue cards in half and write numbers you are teaching on the cards (one number per card). Use a hole puncher to make a hole on one corner of each card. Draw the number of dots on each number with the corresponding color of the paper clip. For example: 1 has one purple dot for 1 purple clip, 2 has 2 red dots on the number 2 for the 2 red clips etc…

The Activity:

For younger children, lay out the cards and the corresponding paper clips under each card. With older children, you can mix all the paper clips in a jar and just lay out the cards in front of them.

Have you child attach one clip to the next to make a chain. This works on fine motor/in-hand manipulation skills while working on number/counting concepts!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Hungry hungry Fish

You will need:

  • Paper cut out of a worm
  • Fish Clips
You can purchase this activity exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop

The Activity:

Use heavy stock paper to cut out the shape of a large worm. You might want to plastify it so you can re-use it often.

Place the fish around the table or on the floor and have your child pretend that they are trying to catch the worm. Make sure that they pinch open the clips using only the thumb and 2 other fingers. The last 2 fingers should be tucked in the palm of the hand. Make them squeeze clips open to attach unto the worm. This will work on pincer strength.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Trash Day!

You will need:

  • Garbage Truck print out (I will make this available on line as soon as I figure out how to post it 🙂
  • Newspaper
  • White glue

The Activity:

This is a fun way for young children to work on bilateral coordination skills through tearing paper and finger strength when crumpling paper.

Place a Garbage Truck Print out in front of your child. provide him with a page from a news paper. Ask him to cut strips by tearing. It is often easier to ask you child to hold the paper at the top and you begin the tearing so that they can learn the correct motion (otherwise many young children just pull off pieces from the news paper).

Ask your child to make small, tight balls with the strips of newspaper to make “trash”. This helps strengthen the fingers and works on manipulation skills.

Get your child to stick the  “trash” onto the garbage truck by using white glue!

Categories
Handwriting

Wiggle Pen Tracing

You will need:

The Activity:

This is a great way to strengthen your child’s grasp on a writing utensil and to teach children to put more pressure on paper when they write/draw. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t looove wiggle pens!!!

Write your child’s name, letters, numbers or shapes that you are trying to teach on a piece of paper and ask your him to trace over these letters by staying on the lines as much as possible. It’s a challenge cuz the wiggle pen wiggles itself out of their hands if they don’t hold on tight enough or if they don’t push down into the paper!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

The Ladybug Who Lost Her Spots

You will need:

  • Print out or drawing of a ladybug with spots
  • Playdoh
This activity is available fro purchase exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop

Therapy Corner:

When working on fine motor skills and in-hand manipulation, one of the skills we teach is PRECISION ROTATION WITH DISTAL FINGER TIPS. This helps shape the grasp by developing the arches of the hand.

This is the new version of my lady bug who lost her spots!!! So much cuter!

The Activity:

I printed out this ladybug on Microsoft Word Images however if you are artistic you can draw a ladybug with several spots. I also laminated mine so that I can re-use it several times however you can just slip it into a plastic protective pocket.

Ask your child to pinch off a little piece of play doh and roll it between his fingers (first 3 fingers including the thumb) to make a small well-shaped little ball.

He then places the little ball on one of the ladybug’s spots and pushes down with one finger. This helps strengthen little fingers so you can have your child push each ball with a different finger.

Continue until the ladybug finds all her spots!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Birthday Candle Twist and Turn

You will need:

  • Play-doh
  • Birthday candles
  • Plastic play knife, spatula and plates (optional)
You can purchase all this entire activity right here exclusively at MissMancy’s Shop 

Therapy Corner:

When working on fine motor skills it is important that your child learn how to use both sides of his hand simultaneously and in a coordinated manner. In a nutshell, you want the first 2-3 fingers of the hand (which includes the thumb aka the radial side of the hand) to do the work/movement while the last 2-3 digits of the hand work as stabilizers (aka. ulnar side of the hand).

With that said, we work on:

Nesting Skills (i.e. picking up small items with fingers and placing them in the palm of the hand)

Retrieving Retrieving (i.e transferring small items from the palm of the hand to the tip of the fingers)

Precision Rotation (i.e. rotating an object positioned within the finer tips)

 This activity will work on all these skills as well as self-feeding skills.

The Activity:

Give your child a large piece of play doh and have them roll it into a big ball and flatten it with there hand.
Give your child 2 small candles at a time in one hand and have them wiggle their fingers to bring the candle to the tip of his fingers (retrieving) and stick it into the cake UPSIDEDOWN.
Once all the candles are on the cake, have your child pick up one candle at a time and twist it in the SAME hand to rotate the candle so that he can now stick it into the cake correctly (precise rotation).
You can then sing Happy Birthday and blow out the candles (this is a fun activity when it’s really the child’s birthday). You then ask your child to get the candles out of the cake by picking them up gently one at a time with the SAME hand (nesting).
You can now use a plastic play knife to teach your child to cut pieces of cake and serve all his friends.

Categories
Gross Motor Activities

Pop the Piggy on my Tummy

You will need:

Therapy Corner:

Many of the children that OTs work with have weak core muscles. This includes abdominal muscles and back muscles. It is very important to work on core first as it is the center of ones body. A strong core means stability and we always strive for stability before mobility. In other words, before working on movement such as coordination, balance etc…, we must make sure that we work on building a stable/solid core so that the child doesn’t compensate during movements but instead completes activities with proper form.

Core work is also important for children with handwriting issues. A child with a weak core will use his arms to prop himself on the table as to support his trunk instead of freely using his hands to write. You can now understand how important it is to work on core strength (and why us OTs are always on the search for activities to work on these muscles in a fun way of course! 🙂

When working in prone (on the tummy) not only does your child work on back and neck muscles but he also works on shoulder/scapular strength and wrist strength. Once again, by making the arms strong and stable we are able to ensure more success in the correct mobility/utility of the hand during fine motor activities.

The Activity:

Lay out Pop the Pig Game on the floor.

Place the exercise ball on in front of the game and have your child lay on her tummy on the ball.

Make sure that her arms are extended and that her wrists are flat on the floor and facing forward.

Roll the die and pick the corresponding color to feed the pig by placing the burger in his mouth and pushing at the top of his head to feed him. Continue till his belly pops!

Make sure to give your child plenty of rest breaks and always provide as much support as needed so that correct form is used.

Categories
Gross Motor Activities

Cutting Long Legs

You will need:

  • Scissors (I like Fiskars best..available for purchase at MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop)
  • Heavy stock paper or construction paper
  • Markers or crayons

The Activity:

Here is a really fun way to get ANY child to enjoy cutting. First I draw the face of their favorite character at the top of an 8×3 inch piece of construction paper. I then draw 2 long legs and color the middle yellow.

I then ask the child to cut by staying on yellow so as to create 2 legs for their favorite character! Tada! Simple but fun way to teach early cutting skills.

Note: If you are not artistically inclined, find small characters in coloring books to complete this activity.

 

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Squiggly Worms

What you need:

Therapy Corner:

When working on fine motor skills it is important that your child learn how to use both sides of his hand simultaneously and in a coordinated manner. In a nutshell, you want the first 2-3 fingers of the hand (which includes the thumb aka the radial side of the hand) to do the work/movement while the last 2-3 digits of the hand work as stabilizers (aka. ulnar side of the hand).

With that said, we work on:

Nesting Skills (i.e. picking up small items with fingers and placing them in the palm of the hand)

Retrieving Retrieving (i.e transferring small items from the palm of the hand to the tip of the fingers)

The Activity:

Ready to play?!! 🙂 This activity is an excellent way to work on these important  in-hand manipulation skills. Your child will be working on nesting/retrieving skills during the set up and clean up of this game. First, place the empty apple on the table and provide your child with a minimum of 2 worms in one hand. If possible place as many worms that fit in the palm of his hand. (I recommend 4 in palm and 1 in his fingertips).

Retrieving: Have your child place one worm at a time in the apple by wiggling his fingers so that he can transfer the worm from his palm to the tip of his fingers. Make sure his palm is facing downwards. You will notice that your child will most likely try to use his other hand to help or use his body. In that case, I give the child something to hold with his other hand or I ask him to put the “working” hand up in the air when trying to retrieve the worms.

This can be very frustrating at first especially when the child has a hard time figuring out how to move his little fingers to transfer the items from the palm to the tip of his fingers. I usually cue them verbally by saying: “Wiggle wiggle…wiggle wiggle…to the tippy tip” (it helps :))

Pincer: Once all the worms are in the apple, use the adaptive chopsticks to pick up the worms. You can do it as a race if your child is good at it or you can play the game as it’s meant to be played where you get only the worms that match your color card.

Keep in mind that the chopsticks should be held with the thumb and first 2 fingers of the hand while the last 2 fingers of the hand stay in the palm.

Nesting: Use the clean up portion of this game to work on nesting skills. Have your child pick up 4-5 worms from the table with one hand only. He picks it up with his fingers and pushes it into the palm of his hand. Once he has 4-5 worms, let him replace them in the box.

Note: For younger children who have a hard time picking up moving worms from the apple with the chopsticks, I have them place the worms into the apple using the chopsticks. They then pick up the worms from the apple to nest them into their hand using their fingers. Once they have 4-5 worms they replace them into the box by retrieving them from the palm of the hand one at a time.

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Valentines Win Your Heart Letter Hunt

You will need:

  • Little heart containers (I purchased these at Target)
  • Different colored heart shaped plates
  • Grabber (I purchased these at Target)
  • Paper and Pencil

The Activity:

Children love themes. I always try to come up with an activity for the Holiday that we are celebrating. This becomes very motivating to children. For this activity, I purchased mostly all the supplies at Target. Look around their inexpensive items at the front of the store. It is always filled with Holiday gadgets!!

First, have your child write one letter on a small piece of paper for every heart that you have. Then place one letter per heart container. Then place 2 different colored heart shaped plates on either side of the room and spread out all the little heart containers around the room.

Have your child use the grabber to pick up one heart at a time and carry it over to the matching plate. Using the grabber is a great way to improve your child’s hand and finger strength. The open/closing movement of the grabber is a great prep activity for cutting skills!!

Once your child has picked up all the hearts, let him chose one colored plate with hearts and you then get the other one. He must WIN YOUR HEARTs by guessing the letter in each container!

Give him a clue for each letter. For example, letter E is the first letter for an animal that is big, heavy and has a long trunk…an Elelephant…letter E!

You can also have your child practice his handwriting by copying this word or letter on paper. Continue until your child has WON YOUR HEARTs <3

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Get a Grip on your ABCs

You will need: 

The Activity:

This is a fun way to teach letters and sounds while working on hand strength. Lay out 8 to 10 letters all over the room and ask your child to:

“Find the letter that sounds like….” or

“Find the first letter of the word…” or

Ask your child to pick up any letter and give him hints to find a word that begins with that letter. For instance if he picks up an “L” you can say: “I’m thinking of an animal who is the king of the jungle!”

Categories
Fine Motor Activities

Lite Brite Wonders

You will need:

  • Lite Brite (I like the smaller version; most children don’t have the patience to complete a large detailed picture…available here at MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop)
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors

The Activity:

I love this activity with kids of all ages because it works on so many fine motor skills at once! First cut a piece of construction paper about 5 X 5 inches wide. (for the mini version of the lite brite I use post it notes or I cut out a smaller square). Then draw a simple geometric shape and ask your child to take 5 pegs in his hand and wiggle them out one at a time without using his other hand or body (retrieving) and to poke pegs all around the drawing. (This also works on pincer/finger strength).

Once the figure is completed and that your child enjoys look at it glow in the dark, have him pick up pegs one at a time with one hand (nesting). Every time your child pick up 5 pegs with the same hand, he can then put those pegs away and pick up another 5 pegs!

Finally, have your child use the holes on the figure as a guide to cut it out. I cue my children that the scissor must cut through each and every hole. This is an easy way to teach cutting circles!

Categories
Fine Motor Activities Gross Motor Activities

Monkey See Monkey Do

You will need:

The Activity:

Ask any therapist, they will all tell you the same thing… Kids love to play with thera-putty. Putty comes in different strength depending on the color. I like the orange one best as it usually provides the “just right” resistance for most age groups. The only thing you want to watch out for with putty is to not let it get on clothing or carpets. It will never come off!!! Playing with putty should therefore always be supervised unless making a “permanent” mess is not an issue.

I love to hide all sorts of items in the putty and have the children find it. (I don’t suggest any metals such as coins as they become faded and dull.  So I’m always looking for small, fun items I can hide in the putty and have the kids look for them. My favorite things to hide are these tiny plastic monkeys that I found online and available on MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop. They all have different body positions and facial features.

Ask your child finds one of the monkeys, tell him to imitate what the monkey is doing! Kids absolutely love this game! You are not only working on finger strength but the added component of imitating the monkey helps your child develop motor planning skills. In other words I see what the monkey is doing, now how do I get my body to do the same thing!