OT Activity of the Day
Tennis Ball Man
Targeted Age Range: 5 and up, though try with your 4 year old if you'd like!
I took a tennis ball that I bought from Target, a very sharp knife (like a box cutter or something similar), some glue, eyes and made myself a tennis ball man. There's no trick to cutting the ball, just a straight line somewhere in the middle will do. The longer the line the easier it is to squeeze open, on the flip side the shorter the line, the harder it is to open.
In this activity, the child can dig a bead out of the therapy putty (or play doh) and then "feed" the tennis ball man. This activity is targeting hand strength through the therapy putty and squeezing the tennis ball open, bilateral coordination when using both hands in a coordinated fashion to "feed" the man, and then fine motor manipulation with the small beads.
We want those little hands to be strong so they can support the school work that needs to be done in the years ahead. The stronger the hand, the more legible and controlled the writing tends be! If you feel like your child is struggling with handwriting, this is a great activity to start introducing. Generally speaking, handwriting issues tend to stem from a lack of strength/endurance in the hand, though in some cases it can be more than just hand strength. An OT could help you pin point the exact problem.
As with all activities, if you would like to deviate and add your own flare, please do!