What works on hand strengthening, bilateral hand use, pincher grasp, finger strength, and finger translation and is still fun for a 3 yearold?
Feeding Mr. Tennis Ball
A tennis ball
A knife to make a slit
Something small to "feed" Mr. Ball (dry beans, pony beads, coins)
Markers to decorate
Cut a slit in the tennis ball (about 3 inches)
Draw a face on the ball with the slit being the mouth (I usually like to make mine a pirate so I can do fun voices.)
How to play:
When introducing Mr. (or Mrs.) ball to your child, squeeze the lips open and have him (her) say something like, "Feed me!". This way the get the idea of the game but also see how to open the mouth.
Then show the child how to feed him, by squeezing the mouth open and using the opposite hand to slip the "food" in. To have them work on finger translation, ask the child to pick up 2-3 items at one time (in the feeding hand) and "feed" the tennis ball one item at a time.
Opening Mr. Ball's mouth is hard and your child may need help at first. It is best to use hand-over-hand (your hand over their hand) to help them. This way you can gra