Kids require a lot of skills to write with a pencil, button a coat, zipper a shirt, and manage a handful of coins. Today we’re sharing ideas to help your child with in-hand manipulation. This skill is important for moving that pencil, erasing mistakes, and fine motor tasks like managing buttons and zippers, coins, small items that fit in the hand, and pretty much a ton of functional tasks. SO what is in-hand manipulation and what can you do to improve all of these skills in kids? Here are a few ideas for you! This fun and easy activity is part of our 31 Day series of Occupational Therapy series where each post this month are functional and creative activities that can be done in Occupational Therapy treatment or in activities for kids who might need to work on certain skills through play. All materials are free or items that might be found in your home.
In-hand manipulation activity for kids learning letters
a similar puzzle here. Simply grab a pile of whatever you’ve got on hand to fill the letters. We used beads, but you could use dry beans, corn kernals, dry split peas, or any other small item.
Letter Recognition Activity for Preschool
To practice letter recognition, I called out a letter and my preschooler filled that letter with beads. It was a great way for her to work on letter identification. We also did a little phonetic awareness and I named a letter’s sound. She then filled the letter that makes that sound. She enjoyed testing me, too. “I’m filling a letter that sounds like this: /mmmmm/. What letter is that, Mom?”
- Roll play dough into small balls using only the fingertips.
- Tear newspaper into strips, crumble it, and stuff an art project.
- Use tweezers to pick up small items. This works on the intrinsic muscles of the hands.
- Lacing activities.
- Eye Droppers to drop water into recycled lids.
- Coin or button matching, sorting, and stacking. We loved playing with coins for fine motor fun.
- Small pegboards, tucking extra pegs into the palm of the hand. You can use cut up straws and play dough, too.
- Dropping small items into bottles with a small opening like we did here.
- Pick up beads from the floor and drop into ice cube trays.
- Push coins into a piggy bank.
- Press buttons into a slit cut in the lid of a plastic tub.
- Pick-up sticks.
- Games with small chips.
- Twisting lids on/off water bottles.
In-Hand Manipulation Toys and Tools for Fine Motor Skills
is a classic art creating activity that works on fine motor skills, and especially in-hand manipulation. Prop the board up on a on angle and you’re getting excellent wrist extension which helps with translation from fingers to palm and vice versa.
Lacing & Tracing Dinosaurs can help kids with lacing, managing strings, threading, bilateral hand coordination, and strength. It’s a great activity to work on in-hand manipulation. Try these Lacing & Tracing Sea Life cards, too.
HABA Color Peg is a fun creating activity to work on in-hand manipulation to translate the small pegs into the slots.
This Peg Board with 1000 Pegs
was one of my absolute favorite treatment tools in pediatric Occupational Therapy. I love the small size of the pegs that allow children to manipulate and manage the tools within their hands. The key to working on in-hand manipulation is to use items that are smaller than the child’s hand and these colorful pegs work on so many other skills besides the vital in-hand manipulation.
Manipulating coins is such a great way to work on in-hand manipulation. This Coinasaurus Bank
is a fun bank to practice with!
Spinning tops is a nice way to work on rotation. These Standard Tops
The game, Ker Plunk Game
is an in-hand manipulation powerhouse. Handle the marbles to work on translation, and rotate the sticks with the thumb and the pointer finger. This is a game that will work on so many fine motor skills.
Check out these posts for more ideas: