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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Tennis 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.
- 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