Theraputty- The Hand Workout



Theraputty has multiple uses and is a popular exercise putty used by Occupational Therapists (OT). It is similar to playdough however it is non oily, brightly colored, non-toxic, non-sticky putty which is fun to mold and stretch, hide coins or small toys and play hide and seek! It not only works on a variety of skills such as dexterity, improving grip strength, hand strengthening through finger, hand and wrist resistance exercises but it is also lots of fun!

Theraputty comes in its own plastic container and in various grades of firmness ranging from XX-soft to X-firm. It is recommended that you use the colour your therapist recommends or start softer until your kids builds up their hand strength and skills. The levels of resistance or firmness are colour coded as follows (this may vary depending on brand):

Theraputty takes the shape of whatever container it is in, a 'gravitational' material; leave it in the container when not in use as it can stick to clothing etc and can be difficult to remove. 

Why use Theraputty? 

There are many uses of theraputty including building hand and finger strength which helps kids develop their handwriting grip or grip for dressing skills e.g. closing or opening buttons.

Theraputty improves dexterity and fine motor skills often after hand injury. Theraputty is often used as a calming manipulative tool and as a distraction tool or fidget option.

Theraputty is also used during sensory play and can provide sensory tactile input, which can help to calm kids by allowing them to self-regulate. Carrying out the following hand activities prior to fine motor or drawing tasks helps the child’s hands prepare for activity. The exercises are aimed at increasing the tactile and proprioceptive sensory messages the child receives from their hands. By doing this the child will have an increased sensory awareness of what their hand muscles and joints are doing

Theraputty activities:

  1. Flatten theraputty with your fingers/palm to make a pancake
  2. Hide beads or coins in the theraputty then allow your child to seek them out (like a treasure hunt)
  3. Roll a sausage with one hand (benefits hand dominance)
  4. Roll a sausage with two hands (benefits bilateral coordination)
  5. Chop up the theraputty with a scissors and 'feed' the cubes of theraputty to an animal teddy!
  6. Pinch the theraputty between your index finger and thumb (pincer grip)
  7. Roll out the theraputty then contruct the letters of your name
  8. Put a ball of theraputty on your palm and squeeze the ball using thumb and fingers
  9. Did you read my blog post on pciky eating, well if you did you'd remember one of the major steps in overcoming picky eating is food play with a variety of textures, why not make a dinner with the theraputty? you could add toppings to the 'pancake' or make a pizza base then pinch bits of theraputty off and add them to the top of the pizza!