Use these jungle animal finger puppets to help kids develop fine motor skills through play! Finger puppets are a common tool in occupational therapy toolboxes and working on isolation skills is key to helping kids with dexterity. So, using these jungle animal finger puppets is a no-brainer when it comes to developing fine motor skills. Add these printable finger puppets to a jungle theme in therapy or learning.
As always, if the information on finger puppets and finger isolation helps you, or you create similar activities please link to this page and tag The OT Toolbox on social media.
Improve Finger Isolation with Finger Puppets
Today, I’m sharing jungle animal puppets designed to promote finger isolation and dexterity. Finger puppets are a great way to develop and refine the skill of finger isolation.
Finger isolation refers to the ability to move one finger at a time. Within the action of isolating a finger from the rest of the hand, there are precise motor actions. This dexterous movement allows the finger to move on it’s own, separate from the rest of the hand. This refined motor skill is needed for functional tasks like typing, pointing, holding up one finger, and many other functional tasks.
It can be difficult for children to develop finger isolation and use refined motor movements during functional tasks such as pencil grasp, typing, or shoe tying. In fact, when these tasks are difficult, we often times don’t see a combined motor effort including separation of the sides of the hand, refined arch development, or finger isolation.
That’s where these printable Finger Puppets come into play!
When children use finger puppets, they are incorporating many motor skill areas into one activity:
- Finger isolation (One finger moving in separation from the rest of the hand)
- Distal joint flexion (bending the DIP and PIP joints in isolation from the MP joint)
- Separation of the sides of the hand (Moving the thumb, pointer fingers while the middle, ring, and pinky fingers stabilize)
- Arch refinement (Development of the arches of the hand, which are strengthened by individual finger use and hand side separation)
- Eye-hand coordination (moving the fingers in coordination with visual input)
- Visual convergence (Moving the eyes as a team from a far point to a near point)
- Visual Tracking (Moving the eyes to follow a moving target)
Finger puppets help in so many ways that transfers not just to precise motor tasks, but the bigger picture, too: Reading, handwriting, learning, sports, tool manipulation (scissors, utensils, etc.) and much more!
I actually have created many versions of these finger puppets (you’ll see more here soon on the site), but they originated in our Fine Motor Kits, which work on many areas of fine motor development.
If you’ve grabbed one of our Fine Motor Kits, then you may have seen a version of these finger puppets in different themes. Check out the Fine Motor Kits to find tons of resources and activities to develop fine motor skills:
Other ways to work on finger isolation include with fingerprint activities like these finger isolation rings, or with fingerprint art and this clover craft. You’ll find more fun ways to work on this fine motor skill with these finger isolation activities.
Jungle Animal Finger Puppets
Today’s resource is a jungle themed activity. These jungle finger puppets go really well when using a jungle theme in preschool, kindergarten, or older grades. I love offering free occupational therapy resources, and these jungle animal finger puppets are just that!
You can grab these free finger puppet templates by entering your email address into the form below. They are print-and-go OT resources where each step builds skills:
- Color the small images on the animals. This is a great colored pencil activity that also builds skills. Talk about precision with pencil control!
- Cut out the jungle animal finger puppets. These finger puppets are designed to have simple shapes. You’ll find the squared shapes makes it a great scissor skills for little hands.
- Tape the finger puppets into a loop. Size the puppets to fit fingers of any size. If the loops are too large, just trim them with scissors.
- Slide the jungle animals onto fingers, and start playing! Get ready to build many different skills.
Ways to use these Jungle Animal Finger Puppets
There are several ways to use these jungle animal finger puppets. From fine motor mazes, to letter formation activities, to sensory play…the ways to improve finger isolation (and the other skill areas described above) are endless!
- Jungle Animal Fine Motor Maze– These printable finger puppets include two printable jungle themed fine motor mazes. Use the finger puppets to walk, crawl, creep, or fly through the jungle as fine motor skills are developed in finger isolation. Trace the line and work on eye-hand coordination, separation of the sides of the hand, and more.
- Make a Jungle Sensory Bin– Use the jungle finger puppet animals to trace and for letters or numbers in a sensory tray. Fill a low tray with salt, flour, rice, or sand. Use the finger puppets to form letters and numbers.
- Air Write Letters and Numbers– Put one of the jungle finger puppets on the pointer finger. Then, use big arm movements to “write” letters and numbers in the air.
- Add these finger puppets to a jungle theme in therapy! Use these Jungle Writing Prompts and Jungle Heavy Work Exercises to meet every goal area.
Free Jungle Animal Finger Puppets
Want to grab this free printable set? Enter your email address into the form below!
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.