OTFC’s Top 10 Resources- Part 2

OTFC’s Top 10 Resources- Part 2

Today’s resource is a wonderful sensory and fine motor resource. Like last week’s Hyperdash, its uses are only limited by your child’s imagination. It’s great for strengthening fingers and hands, for bilateral coordination and for promoting the pincer grip. It stretches when pulled apart slowly, snaps when pulled quickly and bounces when rolled into a ball. Do you know what I’m talking about yet?! Without scrolling down and looking at the picture, have a guess….








It’s THERAPUTTY!!! Available in different strengths, we currently stock the green putty (medium strength) for $18 a tub. Providing more resistance than play dough or plasticine, it’s fantastic for strengthening. So it’s great for keeping little hands busy, as well as promoting the development of fine motor skills. Want to know how? Here’s a few ideas:

Work on bilateral coordination by using two hands to roll a sausage. Hide small objects such as beads and counters in the putty. Get your child to use a pincer grip to pinch out the sausage and pull out the hidden treasures.

Use a pincer grip (index finger to thumb) to flatten a sausage- you can create snakes, dinosaurs or anything your imagination creates!

Work on strength by pulling off pieces of putty. Use bilateral coordination to roll the putty into a ball using your palms. Gradually pull off smaller and smaller pieces of putty, using just the fingertips to roll the balls, and eventually work down so that you’re using a pincer grip to pinch off a small piece of putty, and rolling a small ball between the index finger and thumb.

So there’s a few ideas to get you started. For further information, or to purchase some putty for yourself, contact Occupational Therapy For Children.

*Warning: putty is gravitational- as in, you leave it on a surface and it will gradually sink and spread out. Hard non-porous surfaces are fine, but you’ll be in all sorts of strife if you happen to get any on your clothing, carpet or material couches. I found out the hard way by sitting on a stringy bit that was on the floor. And then there’s the children who love it so much they sneak little bits of it in their pockets! Some suggested remedies include rubbing alcohol or WD-40!!

  • Emily Hewitson
    Posted at 06:49h, 15 September Reply

    Hi there,
    my name is Emily and am an Occupational Therapy student at flinders university. Myself and some peers are heading over to Malaysia in January to volunteering in a school (Bethany home for children) for children with disabilities and were hoping to take some different tools with us to enable the kids to experience things they may not usually have access to. Things such as the putty and kinetic sand would be great, I was wondering if you had any other simple ideas (that are easy to travel with) that may be of benefit to a wide range of children’s needs and easy to implement with a language barrier.
    Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated, looking forward to hearing from you.
    Kind regards,

    • otfc
      Posted at 07:08h, 22 September Reply

      Hi Emily, great to hear you are doing some volunteer work overseas, especially with children in great need! With regards to tools, sometimes simpler is better. It is great to have a few options such as putty and kinetic sand, as they are simple and easy for all ages. It may also be useful to take over some basic dolls, costumes and other pretend play tools. These can be graded to suit basic play skills and can provide children with an engaging way to interact with staff and peers. I would also recommend working with what you have there! Have a look through the place, and even basic things such as cloths and sticks can be used for something!
      Though you may not be able to bring it on a plane, shaving cream is an easy an very versatile tool. Food sensory play can also be very effective (e.g. rice, pasta, flour). I would also take over some decent pencils, textas and paper, as depending on each child’s skills, these can often be lacking in lots of schools and in developing countries. Pipe cleaners, beads, thread, and tweezers are great for basic fine motor skills and can easily be turned into a game.
      If you can get your hands on stretchy/Lycra material (e.g. stretchy tunnel, body sock), then you can use this to provide ‘whole body’ deep pressure for children who may seek or feel ‘calmer’ from this. Spotlight usually sell this kind of material.

      There are many things you can bring, but if you can make the most of what you have within the space you are working (and an imagination) then this goes a long way to ensure you can be flexible and children are engaged.

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