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Ways to use theraputty and play dough

Theraputty and play dough are a great resource to use to improve a child’s hand and finger strength and manipulation skills. This blog gives you examples of things you can make with theraputty and play dough.


  • Roll into a sausage shape – ensure the movement comes from the elbow and wrist when rolling rather than utilising the whole upper body, the child may find this difficult depending on their core strength and ability to isolate movement of the upper limb.


  • Pinch along the back of the “snake” using a pincer grip – this will strengthen the intrinsic muscles in the fingers required for a developed pincer grip/pencil grip.



  • You can also make the theraputty into a snail – First roll into a snake/long sausage.


  • Using the index finger and thumb of one hand, roll one end of the theraputty up towards the other to create the snail’s shell.



Monster Hand

  • Roll the theraputty into a ball in both hands
  • Flatten the ball into a pancake using thumb and index fingers only


  • Collect all fingers to the thumb- ensure they all touch the thumb


  • Place the pancake over the thumb and fingers


  • Use the muscles in fingers to spread them away from the thumb creating a monster hand!


Hiding and finding objects

  • Hiding small objects in the theraputty and then asking the child to find them – objects such as small beads, dry pasta, small pegs etc. can help with finger isolation, finger strength and pincer grip development.C:\Users\olivia.james\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Outlook\2LYITKJK\IMG_4177.JPG



Article written by Olivia

I am a trained occupational therapist and to me, being a part of the CIMT programmes with children is about assisting the child to try and regain functional movement in the affected arm using fun and engaging activities that are meaningful and purposeful to the child involved. It involves grading and adapting typical activities/play to incorporate the movement required but to ensure that the child is fully engaged and enjoys the sessions.

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