From Our Occupational Therapist (Nov. 2015)

From Our Occupational Therapist
Posted on 11/09/2015
My name is Christine Parks. I am one of the Occupational Therapists here at the Peabody School. Occupational Therapists, work with children on a variety of foundation skills needed to do well in school. One area we address is the development of fine motor skills, including the strength and coordination to hold and manipulate objects effectively. We also work with children on the development of eye-hand coordination, used in activities such as cutting accurately, and prewriting and printing skills. Your child uses these skills in a variety of school activities, and the skills continue to be solidified and refined as they move up into the higher grades.

There are many fun activities that you and your child can do at home to develop these skills. Below you will find some suggestions you might want to try. We hope you will find these suggested activities helpful and enjoyable!
  1. Resistive items such as playdough (make your own – see recipe below!), clay, putty, squeeze toys (squeezable balls, squirt guns, spray bottles with water inside, etc.), and Legos all build hand strength, as does popping plastic bubble paper!
  2. Drawing, painting, and other activities done on a vertical surface such as an easel or on the wall encourages a mature grasp. This position encourages the wrist to bend back slightly, and helps the child to use only the thumb and first two fingers to grasp the object being held. (The work should be at or above eye level.)
  3. Use tweezers, clothespins, tongs or strawberry hullers to pick up small items such as cheerios, beads, small pom poms or toothpicks. Encourage your child to use only the thumb and first two fingers to hold and squeeze the tool.
  4. Activities that encourage eye-hand coordination include target games with balls or beanbags, throwing and catching a ball with a partner, sewing cards, stencils, and activity books with dot-to-dots, mazes, and color-by-numbers. Cutting activities are also good. Have your child cut pictures from magazines and catalogues to make a collage. Cut a fringe around index cards or heavy construction paper. Cut coupons from the newspaper.
Most Important - Have Fun!!!

Make Your Own PLAYDOUGH!

2 cups flour 

2 cups warm water 

1 cup salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

1 tablespoon cream of tartar 

food coloring


1. Mix everything together in saucepan.

2. Cook over low heat

3. Keep stirring until thickens & clumps.

4. Let cool enough to handle

5. Knead and divide into 4 balls. 

6. Add food coloring and knead it into the balls until you get your desired color.

7. Play with it and store in an airtight container

Playdough Activities:
-Roll into balls and snakes.

-Flatten between fingers.

-Cut snakes into pieces with dull plastic knife or blunt scissors.

-Flatten with hands or rolling pin and cut with cookie cutters.
-Hide small objects such as pegs, coins or buttons in dough and have child pinch and squeeze dough to find them.

-Hold a straw like a pencil. Push it into the playdough to make circle designs.