This Ice Cream Play Dough Mat is a free printable playdough mat that helps kids build hand strength and fine motor skills, all with an ice cream theme. This is such a fun play dough activity for fine motor skills that kids will love!
When kids show weakness in their hands, it can be hard to know where to begin. Luckily, there are benefits to using play dough as a fun tool to support hand weakness. Typically the child is frustrated by the very activities or tasks that strengthen hands. There’s a reason why: it hurts! Their hand is fatigued and tasks like coloring are HARD! What if I told you a fun activity that involved an ice cream theme and play dough could take care of the fine motor struggles? When kids use this ice cream play dough mat, hand strengthening is sure to follow!
Ice Cream Play Dough Mat
If you’ve been following The OT Toolbox over the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen a few play dough mats on the site. We’ve shared a couple of fun play dough mats that encourage intrinsic hand strength for a reason: Hand strengthening is SO important for our kids!
This free printable play dough mat is a fun one. Kids can create small balls of play dough that fit the various sizes on the ice cream images. all while working on the intrinsic hand strength and the fine motor skills that they need for tasks like pencil grasp, endurance in coloring or writing, accuracy with scissors, dexterity to manipulate very small items like coins, and coordination for tasks like buttoning or zippering.
Using a play dough mat like this one creates a fun opportunity for strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the hands.
You can use the play dough fine motor skills exercises we show in the video below along with the Ice Cream Play Dough Mat. It’s a great way to improve hand strength, using finger strength exercises, and grip strength exercises.
Intrinsic Hand Strength Activity
When kids use play dough in the tips of their fingers and thumb, they are really working the small muscles of the hand, or the intrinsic muscles. These are the ones that ensure arch development and contribute to separation of the sides of the hand, both which are SO important when it comes to fine motor skills and use in small motor tasks.
Get the kiddos busy with this ice cream play dough mat to work on that intrinsic hand strength with this free printable playdough mat. You’ll want to cover it with a durable surface so you can print it off once and use it over and over again. Remember to ask the child to use just one hand and only the tips of the fingers and the thumb to roll the play dough balls of various sizes to fit the circle forms on the ice cream playdough mat.
Free Ice Cream PlayDough Mat:
Looking for more play dough mats or play dough activities? Be sure to grab your Astronaut Play Dough Mat and your free Outer Space Play Dough Mat.
Here are more free play dough mats that you can print off and use to work on hand strength endurance, and fine motor skills:
Grab your free printable ice cream theme play dough mat here and start working on that intrinsic hand strength!
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.