Friday, September 5, 2014

(Nearly) Free Fine Motor Saturday! Check out this easy and useful activity for occupational therapy!

I love shopping at the Dollar Tree for therapy items, the store where everything is just $1. With just a little creativity (and just a little money), I can make some creative therapy materials. One of my favorite items to make is a "puff ball bottle." The kids I work with love trying to figure out how to get the puff balls out of the bottle and then working on their skills to put them back in.


  • Dollar Tree Puff Balls
  • Coke Bottle (note: I have tried all different brands of soda bottles, and the Coke brand hold up best to the squeezing that many kids do) *drink the soda first!

Cost: $2.00 total!

Skills addressed:
Simply by working to get the puff balls out of the bottle, then putting them back in, the child can address many occupational therapy goals. Here are some goals I often target with this activity:

  • Pincer grasp (2 point or 3 point depending on the level when picking up the balls)
  • Pointer finger isolation (when poking the balls back in)
  • Gradation of force (not squeezing the bottle too hard)
  • Direction following (shake the balls to the neck, then squeeze)
  • Frustration tolerance

Additional skills addressed:

  • Sorting
  • Color identification
  • Counting
  • Verbal/gestural requests for help

I love how easy it can be to make a useful therapy material for just a few dollars. This activity is great for Occupational Therapy, but it also can be used by speech-language pathologists, teachers and parents. Get creative and find something different from Dollar Tree to put in the bottle. Or make an entirely new game or activity for just a few dollars. If you do, please share it with us!

Shelly wishes a schedule of kids would magically appear in her planner so she doesn't have to think about it!

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