Cotton Ball Race and Other Ideas
by Jan Gervais
The occupational therapist at the elementary school where I work taught me these activities. (Sadly for us, she retired to take care of her new granddaughters...)
1. Cotton Ball Race: Give the children clothespins and cotton balls. Set a "sand" timer (the type included with games like Boggle). Children try to move as many cotton balls as they can to a box by grasping them with their clothespin. Whoever has the most cotton balls in their box when the timer runs out wins the round.
2. Give kids SMALL pieces of colored chalk and have them draw or write on an upright chalkboard. The chalk on the board offers some "drag", which is good for motor memory. Also, having a small piece of chalk forces the child to use the tripod grasp. I've also had kids use small pieces of colored chalk on black construction paper.
3. Twist...twist...twist using a pincer grasp. You could use pipe cleaners, small twist ties, or (most engaging) candy wrappers with twisted ends!