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A Few Therapy Putty Exercises

What is therapy putty? Click here
A word of warning:  this stuff loves to make skinny little strings that float down to get imbedded in the carpet or furniture! Supervise use! Keep it on the table! Use scissors or a quick "snapping" apart movement to break bits off rather than stretching it slowly apart.

1. Hand balls:  Break therapy putty in half and place one segment in one hand to form a ball without use of the table, chest, or any other surface but hand! Ideally, you should see efficient finger separation, some fingers stabilizing while others are working, and good thumb opposition. Continue same exercise with the other half of putty in the other hand.

2. Rolling snakes:  Place each ball of putty on table and roll into a snake using one hand only. Take careful consideration to lifting and keeping the knuckes flexed ("make a hut" with hand) while rolling out each snake to promote effective arching through the hand and intrinsic muscles of hand. Thumb should remain at side of fingers. Continue with other hand.

3. Donut stretches:  Make each snake into a donut. Place all fingers into the donut, keeping it on the table surface. Stretch the donut bigger and bigger by pushing out equally with all fingers and thumb. Continue with other hand.

4. Fingertip balls:  now it gets a little tricky!! Pull of a small amount of putty (about the size of a peanut M&M), and roll it into a ball using only the fingers and thumb of one hand. No cheating by using the other hand, the table, or any other surface to help! Make at least 4 balls.

5. Pancakes: now squish each small ball into a pancake between the thumb and one finger (each finger can have a turn). It is VERY IMPORTANT to keep a round circle made up of your thumb and finger while doing this! The thumbtip and fingertip should touch right at their ends. That is thumb opposition and it is vital for many skilled fine motor tasks, including holding and using a pencil!

Finally, it is a lot of fun to cut the putty with scissors, and is a great way to practice scissor skills with young children before they can handle paper.