Clay, therapy putty, Silly putty, play-doh, Sculpey, bread dough, modeling foam (Crayola Model Magic)
These are all excellent materials for squeezing, squishing, pushing, pulling and molding
Try hiding small objects (beads, pennies, beans) inside and then try pulling them out
Use a rolling pin to flatten it out, then use cookie cutters to make shapes
See Homemade Play for putty

Interlocking construction toys
Mega Blocks are large sized Legos and are best for preschool age children
Bristle (Krinkles) blocks are a good choice for preschool age
Legos, Tinkertoys and K'nex are best for older children
Pop beads: large size for preschool, small (play jewelry type) for older children
Linking chains

Water play with spray bottles, water guns, squirt toys, sponges
Spray bottles: help water plants or spray the windows to clean, play with it in the bathtub, play outdoors in warm weather, add food coloring to make spray bottle pictures in the snow.
Water guns and squirt toys: outdoor summer fun as well as in the bathtub.
Sponges: squeezing to wring out the water is great for strengthening hands and forearms. Help wash the car, wash toys and dolls in the sink or bathtub, squeeze sponges on your friends during water play outdoors, bring a bucket or cooler filled with water and sponges to cool off on a hot day when on picnics, soccers games and other outings.

Clothespin games:
Use the pads of the thumb and index finger to open the clothespin rather than pinching it open against the side of the index finger
When pinching open, try alternating each finger to squeeze opposite the thumb.
place clothespins along the top of a container and then on top of each other to construct a design.
Pick up small objects with the clothespin: cotton balls, pompoms,crumbled paper, beads, pegs, etc.
Attach several clothespins along the bottom hem of shirt and then pull them off.
Place clothespins around an index card
Hang up pictures or plush toys on a string, like a clothesline.

Hole puncher:
Punch holes along strips of paper (1 to 2 inches wide) or along the edges of a sheet of paper or paper plate.
Use hole punch clippings to make confetti or 'snow' to glue on paper for pictures
Grip style hole punchers (pictured at left) are easier for children to use, rather than the small punchers that require a strong pinch to operate.

Bubble Pack
Pop the bubbles on large or small bubble pack by pinching with thumb and index finger or by pushing down on bubbles when sheet is placed on a hard surface.

Squeeze toys and materials
Foam balls, animals and shapesTennis ball "Hungry Guy" (see instructions): When you squeeze the ball the mouth will open. Hide pennies, pegs, beads and other small things inside. Squeeze to open and shake out the contents, then feed the "hungry guy" by slipping in the "food". The wider 
the slit, the easier it will be to open the mouth wide. Start with a wide slit for young children.
Rubber "pinky" balls
Bulb syringe (usually in infant supply sections of stores) or turkey baster to squirt water, or have a race by squeezing them to blow cotton balls and pompoms across a finish line.
Craft activities that require using bottles to squeeze: glue, glitter glue, puffy paint, fabric paint, etc.

Pinch strengthening
Tongs, tweezers, connected chop sticks, strawberry hullers: use these to pick up small objects for sorting, such as beads, marbles, beans, pompoms and cotton balls.
Corn cob holders or large push pins (thumb tacks): Place a picture over a sheet of craft foam or cork board (or trivet). Then use the push pin or corn cob prongs to punch holes along the lines of a picture. Hold it up to let the light shine through.
Push a toothpick point into a styrofoam tray or plate, or in aluminum foil placed over craft foam or corkboard to make a picture.
Dress up dolls: requires a surprising amount of hand strength and endurance.


Finger Isolation games and activities
play pointing games, such as "I Spy"; position child's hand to point with index finger extended outside of a fisted hand use pointing finger while reading books and looking for objects in pictures
finger puppets shadow hand puppets using a flashlight to cast a shadow on a wall
counting on fingers one at a time use pointing finger to trace shapes, numbers, etc. in sand, shaving cream, on paper, and so forth pick up small, light items on dampened fingertips of each finger (e.g., hole puncher cut-outs, sequins, glitter, beans, small beads) place tape around each fingertip, sticky side out, to pick up small, light items listed above musical instruments: castanets (finger symbols), recorder, tin whistle, toy flute, trumpet, toy piano, etc.
play finger soccer: teach child how to "flick" the ball into the goal. Ball can be crumpled paper, ping pong ball, round bead, etc.
keypad gadgets: calculator, adding machine, telephone, toy cash register
finger games: Where is Thumbkin, Itsy Bitsy Spider,
teach finger signs such as "A-OK", V for Victory, thumbs up/thumbs down, Number 1, etc.
gel and gak baggies for finger drawing on (see Homemade Play)
finger painting (see Homemade Play)
finger paint brushes (available at some teacher stores)
Practice making the American Sign Language alphabet with your fingers

Pinch strengthening and control Be sure that the thumb and index finger (and middle finger if needed) are doing the holding and squeezing:
Tongs, tweezers, connected chop sticks, strawberry hullers: use these to pick up small objects for sorting, such as beads,
eye droppers: make colorful dribble art creations by placing drops of colored water on a paper towel or coffee filter
spinning tops pick-up sticks, Jenga, Don't Spill the Beans
wind up toys pegboard activities, Lite Brite, tiddly winks games, Ants in the Pants
tong games: Operation, Crocodile Dentist, Bedbugs
Ziplok bags: encourage using fingertips to press and seal
Buttoning, snapping, pop beads,peel stamps and stickers
crumple small bits of tissue paper using fingertips, dip in glue and paste onto a paper plate or paper to make a flower bouquet tear small pieces of paper with finger tips and paste them onto a sheet of paper to make a picture
when coloring, drawing and writing use short writing and drawing tools such as broken crayons, golf pencils, Pip Squeak markers, short colored pencils or small bits of chalk.

Clay, therapy putty, Silly putty, play-doh, Sculpey, bread dough, modeling foam, see Homemade Play for putty
break off small pieces, then try rolling the putty or clay between the pads of the thumb and index finger to make small balls.
flatten small balls by pinching them between the pads of the thumb and index finger
starting with a larger round ball of putty or clay, form the thumb and index finger into a large round "C" shape, place the ball between the fingertips and try to pinch the fingers together.

Water play with spray bottles, water guns, squirt toys
spray bottles: help water plants or spray the windows to clean, play with it in the bathtub, play outdoors in warm weather, add food coloring to make spray bottle pictures in the snow.
water guns: outdoor summer fun as well as in the bathtub.
small squirt toys, often look like fish or animals, encourage pinching with 1 or 2 fingers opposite the thumb

Clothespin games:
use the pads of the thumb and index finger to open the clothespin rather than pinching it open against the side of the index finger
When pinching clothespins open, try alternating each finger to squeeze opposite the thumb.
place clothespins along the top of a container and then on top of each other to construct a design.
Pick up small objects with the clothespin: cotton balls, pompoms,crumbled paper, beads, pegs, etc.
Attach several clothespins along the bottom hem of shirt and then pull them off.
Place clothespins around an index card or a paper plate
Hang up pictures or plush toys on a string, like a clothesline.

Bubble Pack
pop the bubbles on large or small bubble pack by pinching with thumb and index finger or by pushing down on bubbles when sheet is placed on a hard surface.

Squeeze toys and materials
foam balls, animals and shapes: alternate each finger pinching toward the thumb using the foam toy as resistance
tennis ball "hungry guy": make a slit in a tennis ball with a box cutter or exacto knife. Draw "lips" around the slit, draw eyes, 
hair, etc., with a permanent marker. When you squeeze the ball the mouth will open. Hide pennies, pegs, beads and other small 
things inside. Squeeze to open and shake out the contents, then feed the "hungry guy" by slipping in the "food". The wider the 
slit, the easier it will be to open the mouth wide. Start with a wide slit for young children.
rubber "pinky" balls
bulb syringe (usually in infant supply sections of stores) or turkey baster to squirt water, or have a race by squeezing them to 
blow cotton balls and pompoms across a finish line.
craft activities that require using bottles to squeeze: glue, glitter glue, puffy paint, fabric paint, etc.


Pick up a small object with fingers (bead, coin, M&M candy, popcorn, etc. ) and "hide" it in your hand. Then pick up another and another.  
Move one item from your palm to your fingertips and place it down on the table (or put it in your mouth if it's food)
Practice removing small objects from a change purse, baggie or container one at a time and hiding each within the palm. Then placing 
them back, one at a time.
Connect 4 game: hold several chips at a time within the palm while placing chips in the slots
Place coins in a Piggy Bank starting with several coins in the palm.
Place items in Hungry Guy's mouth (see instructions) while palming several items in your palm
Place items in slots (Bingo chips, coins, pegs) while holding several within the palm
String beads holding 2 or 3 beads within the palm
Pegboard games holding 2 or 3 pegs within the hand
Twist open or closed lids on small bottles or toothpaste tube held within the palm of the hand
Flip a coin from head to tail within the fingers of one hand
Cut with scissors and practice adjusting the grip on the paper with the helping hand
Practice buttoning, zipping and snapping snaps.
Turn dice within the fingertips to see different sides.
Hold a small cup filled with water. Practice turning it with the fingertips without spilling
Play with construction toys such as Duplos, Legos and K'nex
Pop beads: large size for preschool, small (play jewelry type) for older children
connect linking chains
Place clothespins around an index card or paper plate: encourage using only one hand to position/reposition the card or plate craft activities that require using bottles to squeeze: glue, glitter glue, puffy paint, fabric paint, etc.
Lacing boards, sewing cards

Pencil Games:
Hold the pencil in the fingertips, ready for writing, then "walk" the fingers to the eraser end of the pencil, then back to the tip.  Turn the pencil between the thumb and fingertips: try turning it like a windmill in one direction, then the other
Practice flipping the pencil from eraser end to tip end
Use a hand held pencil sharpener to sharpen your pencils.


Activities to Open the Web Space
squeeze foam balls, animals and shapes that are rounded 
See Homemade Play for instructions on how to make this.  Craft activities that require using bottles to squeeze: glue, glitter glue, puffy paint, fabric paint, etc.  Sponges: squeezing large sponges to wring out the water is great for opening and strengthening the hands. Help wash the car, wash toys and dolls in the sink or bathtub, squeeze sponges on your friends during water play outdoors, bring a bucket or cooler filled with water and sponges to cool off on a hot day when on picnics, soccers games and other outings.

Try to keep the ring and pinky fingers tucked into the palm so that the THUMB, INDEX and MIDDLE fingers do the work
Tongs, tweezers, connected chop sticks, strawberry hullers: use these to pick up small objects for sorting, such as beads, marbles, beans, pompoms and cotton balls.
corn cob holders, toothpicks or large push pins (thumb tacks): Place a picture over a sheet of craft foam or cork board (or trivet). Then use the push pin or corn cob prongs to punch holes along the lines of a picture. Hold it up to let the light shine through.  
Push a toothpick point into a styrofoam tray or plate, or in aluminum foil placed over craft foam or corkboard to make a picture.
place coins or bingo chips in narrow slots; a piggy bank is perfect, Connect Four game
eye droppers: make colorful dribble art creations by placing drops of colored water on a paper towel or coffee filter
spinning tops
geoboards: make shapes and letters using rubber bands on geoboards
pick-up sticks, Jenga, Don't Spill the Beans
wind up toys
pegboard activities, Lite Brite
tiddly winks games, Ants in the Pants
tong games: Operation, Crocodile Dentist, Bedbugs
Ziplock bags: encourage using fingertips to press and seal
Buttoning, snapping, 

Clay, therapy putty, Silly putty, play-doh, Sculpey, bread dough, modeling foam (Crayola Model Magic)
roll small pieces between the thumb and index finger to make little balls
these are all excellent materials for squeezing, squishing, pushing, pulling and molding
try hiding small objects (beads, pennies, beans) inside and then try pulling them out

Clothespin games:
use the pads of the thumb and index finger to open the clothespin rather than pinching it open against the side of the index finger
When pinching open, try alternating each finger to squeeze opposite the thumb.
place clothespins along the top of a container and then on top of each other to construct a design.
Pick up small objects with the clothespin: cotton balls, pompoms,crumbled paper, beads, pegs, etc.
Attach several clothespins along the bottom hem of shirt and then pull them off.
Place clothespins around an index card
Hang up pictures or plush toys on a string, like a clothesline.


Pinch strengthening and control
Tongs, tweezers, connected chop sticks, strawberry hullers: use these to pick up small objects for sorting, such as beads, marbles, beans, pompoms and cotton balls.
corn cob holders, toothpicks or large push pins (thumb tacks): Place a picture over a sheet of craft foam or cork board (or trivet). 
Then use the push pin or corn cob prongs to punch holes along the lines of a picture. Hold it up to let the light shine through.
place coins or bingo chips in narrow slots; a piggy bank is perfect, Connect Four game
eye droppers: make colorful dribble art creations by placing drops of colored water on a paper towel or coffee filter
spinning tops
geoboards: make shapes and letters using rubber bands on geoboards
pick-up sticks, Jenga, Don't Spill the Beanswind up toys
pegboard activities, Lite Brite
Tiddly winks games, Ants in the Pants
tong games: Operation, Crocodile Dentist, Bedbugs
Ziplok bags: encourage using fingertips to press and seal
Buttoning, snapping, pop beads, stringing beads, peel stamps and stickers.  Crumple small bits of tissue paper using fingertips, dip in glue and paste onto a paper plate or paper to make a flower bouquet tear small pieces of paper with finger tips and paste them onto a sheet of paper to make a picture.  Push a toothpick point into a styrofoam tray or plate, or in aluminum foil placed over craft foam or cork board to make a picture.
Dress up dolls: 
Requires a surprising amount of hand strength and endurance

Clothespin games:
use the pads of the thumb and index finger to open the clothespin rather than pinching it open against the side of the index finger.  When pinching clothespins open, try alternating each finger to squeeze opposite the thumb.
place clothespins along the top of a container and then on top of each other to construct a design.
Pick up small objects with the clothespin: cotton balls, pompoms,crumbled paper, beads, pegs, etc.
Attach several clothespins along the bottom hem of shirt and then pull them off.
Place clothespins around an index card or a paper plate
Hang up pictures or plush toys on a string, like a clothesline.

Clay, therapy putty, Silly putty, play-doh, Sculpey, bread dough, modeling foam (see Homemade Play for putty)
break off small pieces, then try rolling the putty or clay between the pads of the thumb and index finger to make small balls.
flatten small balls by pinching them between the pads of the thumb and index finger
starting with a larger round ball of putty or clay, form the thumb and index finger into a large round shape, place the ball between the fingertips and try to pinch the fingers together.

Interlocking construction toys
Mega Blocks are large sized Legos and are best for preschool age children
Bristle blocks are a good choice for preschool age
Legos and K'nex are best for older children
Pop beads: large size for preschool, small (play jewelry type) for older children
Linking chains, Cootie game

Water play with spray bottles, water guns, squirt toys
spray bottles: help water plants or spray the windows to clean, play with it in the bathtub, play outdoors in warm weather, add food coloring to make spray bottle pictures in the snow.
water guns: outdoor summer fun as well as in the bathtub.
small squirt toys, often look like fish or animals, encourage pinching with 1 or 2 fingers opposite the thumb

Bubble Pack
pop the bubbles on large or small bubble pack by pinching with thumb and index finger or by pushing down on bubbles when sheet is placed on a hard surface.

Squeeze toys and materials
foam balls, animals and shapes: alternate each finger pinching toward the thumb using the foam toy as resistance
tennis " Hungry Guy" (see instructions): When you squeeze the ball the mouth will open. Hide pennies, pegs, beads and other small things inside. Squeeze to open and shake out the contents, then feed the Hungry Guy by slipping in the food; The wider the slit, the easier it will be to open the mouth wide. Start with a wide slit for young children.
rubber pinky balls bulb syringe (usually in infant supply sections of stores) or turkey baster to squirt water, or have a race by squeezing them to blow cotton balls and pompoms across a finish line.
craft activities that require using bottles to squeeze: glue, glitter glue, puffy paint, fabric paint, etc.

NOTE: If the child is having difficulty pinching with just the index and middle fingers opposite the thumb, have him/her hold a small object (coin, pompom, marble) against the palm with the ring and pinky fingers of the hand.

When first starting out, many children will need to use the index and middle fingers together against the thumb for pinching. This is okay. As all of the hand muscles develop and strengthen, there will be less reliance on the middle finger.



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SKILLS AREA
My Little School House 
Main Office: 107-45 89th Street Ozone Park, NY 11417
Main Number: (347) 561-5522
Locations throughout Ozone Park and Richmond Hill
Now Caring for Ages: 6 months through 12 years