Since our little guy came home in April, we’ve had several medical appointments. We wanted to make sure he was thoroughly evaluated and, besides a positive TB screen, which sent our local health department into a tizzy and resulted in 9 months of antibiotics, he’s doing really well.
One thing that was recommended, and that we were hoping to pursue, was Occupational Therapy. His fine motor skills weren’t as far along as they should have been for his age. He has made great strides though, thanks to the hard work and helpful recommendations from our therapist.
Two things we’ve focused on with T are bilateral hand use – he needed a little push to get that left hand engaged and he had an immature grasp – wanted to pick things up and hold crayons with his whole hand or all fingers instead of using a pincer grasp with thumb and forefinger.
I’ve put together this list of activities and toys we have used in his therapy (and continue at home) in hopes of helping other parents out there with children who could use a boost in the fine motor department. The beauty of this therapy is that it’s almost always fun – it’s mostly play.
Bilateral Hand Use
Threading and lacing are two big things our OT works on with our little guy. We have a bag of wooden beads, spools and buttons he plays with at home. Similar to this set from Amazon.
One of the first toys our OT pulled out was a pop toob. Our little guy loves playing with his which is great because he needs to use both hands to manipulate it. They are fairly inexpensive, but we couldn’t find them locally and ended up ordering a few from Amazon.
There are several other activities she uses to help with bilateral hand use. For one, you cut a hole in the middle of several small squares of fabric and thread them onto a crazy straw. Your child can then thread the fabric pieces from one end of the straw to the other. You can also cut regular straws into lengths just short of a Q-tip’s length. Your child can then practice putting the Q-tips inside the straw pieces, again requiring the use of both hands.
Working on Pincer Grasp
Our therapist uses this game to help work on pincer grasp. We ended up getting one for the house and T loves using the tweezers to pick up the little pieces of fruit. This is also good for counting and learning colors.
There are many, many ways to incorporate those tweezers into play to keep working on that grasp. We use them to pick up plastic bugs and put them into a jar or pick up and stack small blocks or pick little objects or beads out of silly putty. You can get a cute set of tweezers for just a few dollars. Of course, crayons are a great way to help with your child’s grasp. Our therapist recommends triangular crayons, like these.One other game we have that helps with pincer grasp as well as colors and matching is this cute little turtle.
Another easy and practical way is to practice working zippers. I made this quick little zipper lap board one morning with some cardboard, a couple spare zippers and some hot glue. Surprisingly, it has held up really well.
There are other activities our therapist has him do, but these are the activities our son enjoys the most and ends up doing more than others. I’m glad some of these were easy to recreate at home at little to no cost. We have spent a little money on a few toys and activities, but his development is one investment we’re happy to make.
I hope you find these helpful and I hope you’ll try a few on your little one. Please remember that I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am just a Mom relaying information I’ve gathered as my child has been receiving therapy.
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