Are you wondering whether slime is as good for occupational therapy as it’s made out to be?
If so, you need to forget about the messy and gross implications of playing with slime and focus on the positives. That’s because despite how silly it might sound, slime is actually highly effective at helping children develop fine motor skills.
In today’s post, we will explain everything you need to know about using slime as a fine motor activity for occupational therapy – from the importance of fine motor skills for children to fun slime activities to an easy-to-follow recipe for making slime at home.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
The Importance of Fine Motor Skills for Children
Fine motor skills are our ability to make movements using the small muscles in our hands and wrists in synchronization with our eyes.
Without proper fine motor skills, children cannot perform essential day-to-day tasks, such as writing, drawing, grabbing toys, feeding themselves, buttoning and zipping clothes.
As we mentioned earlier, slime can help children develop fine motor skills. But what we didn’t mention was that different slime activities help develop different fine motor skills.
5 Fun and Highly Effective Slime Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills
1. Removing Beads With Tweezers
Start by pressing some beads into slime and then use a pair of tweezers to pull them back out. Using tweezers has the following three benefits:
- They help strengthen the wrists and hands.
- They help develop arches of the palm and the intrinsic strength of the hand.
- They help develop visual-motor skills that are required for functional tasks, such as drawing, writing, or using scissors.
One thing to note here is that a clear slime would work best for this purpose because it is less gluey and more rubbery than colored slime. However, if you already have some colored slime at home, you can use that too. Just don’t forget to get clear slime next time.
2. Pressing Bead Into Slime
Pressing beads into slime is a great way for your kid to work on his:
- Tripod grasp
- Arch development
- Opening of the thumb web space
- Separation of the two sides of the hand
Slime is recommended for this activity because it is good for proprioceptive input – which helps regulate mood and emotions.
3. Peeling Slime
Start by placing a couple of pencils in a thin layer of slime, and then instead of pulling the pencils from the slime, pull the slime from the pencils.
When children pull slime off pencils, they get to strengthen their hand muscles.
Although any object can be used for this activity, we recommend using pencils because (thanks to their unique shape) they promote:
- Tripod grasp
- Intrinsic hand strength
- Separation of the sides of the hand
4. Poking Holes in Slime
This is a 3-step activity:
- Go to a table and put some slime on it.
- Create a circle by patting the slime between both hands.
- Press the index finger into the slime until you touch the table surface.
Using your fingers to poke holes in slime placed on a table is an excellent way to work on finger isolation as well as strength of the hands.
Finger isolation helps your child develop the muscles required to use a pencil for writing or drawing.
5. Cutting Slime With Scissors
Start by rolling slime out into the shape of a snake, and then use scissors to cut the slime into chunks. Occupational therapists commonly use this activity to help children develop fine motor skills.
Although clay or dough is commonly used for this activity, we recommend using slime because it promotes bilateral coordination.
The best part is that you can make your own slime home that is easy to make and easier yet to clean.