One of every OT's most important skills is learning how to make almost anything therapeutic.
But how about STYROFOAM?
My favorite way to use it is with golf tees.
When a child pushes golf tees into the Styrofoam they use a pincer grasp. A strong pincer grasp (picking up items between thumb and pointer finger-see picture below) is important for good handwriting and fine motor skills in general. The denser the foam the better.
How to play with it:
- Get a hunk of Styrofoam and some tees and demonstrate to your child how to push them in using a correct grasp.
- Buy colored tees (or color them with sharpies) and then use the sharpie to color the Styrofoam and have the child sort and match the colors.
- Make a pattern using colored tees and have the child copy the pattern.
- Draw various small shapes and have the child insert certain colored tees into certain shapes (this is great for visual scanning and attention).
- Make a super fun "free" version of the Tee game a Cracker Barrel (pictured above).
- Get 26 golf tees and write the lower case letters on them. Then write the upper case letters on a piece of Styrofoam. Have them insert the tee just below its match.
- Just be creative! Make up any game to suite your child's needs.
A few pictures of pincer grasps: