I love this stuff. Way back, us therapists had to order blah putty from rehab suppliers and although it worked, it was just, blah. Crazy Aaron has a variety of putty and kids love it. Adults love it. Other than being fun, and a tactile experience, what do therapists use it for?
Most of my kiddos I see at Learning Charms need hand and finger strengthening and tendon excursion. These things are necessary for proper fine motor skills (think handwriting and arts).
Often I use it initially for preschoolers who are not exhibiting a functional crayon grasp, such as in the picture here. In this picture, this little girl is using a whole hand grasp for drawing. She also has difficulty with buttoning, cutting and manipulating small items.
This putty has just enough resistance to work little fingers and hands. This is one example of how I use it. First, the rules: 1) no putting on your clothes or carpet and 2) no "strings". Strings are when the child pulls it so much that the putty stretches into skinny strings. This makes the putty too pliable and dimishes its supernatual hand strengthening power. Rules, aside, I usually hide age appropriate sized beads in the putty. Not big beads, but small beads. In this particular activity, I have brought out Mr. Squishy Frog (who was also hidden in the putty) who is VERY hungry for his colored feed pellets (aka "beads"). The child must find the beads without breaking the rules and then place on his tree.
My frog tree above is made with toothpicks that are placed in a ball of putty. When the child pull the bead out of the putty and puts onto the "tree" then they will be using lots of shoulder stability to hold that bead steadily in their hand while placing it on the tree. For older kids (say age 7 and up) you can try using a piece of broken spaghetti as the tree. Its even more challenging because ta moderate bump makes the spaghetti break!
Be sure to hide the putty when done. This part is super great for excursion of the finger muscle tendons. I always tell my children I work with to "hide it good so the next kid will have a great hunt!".
Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty has so many uses and all of the varieties lend itself to lots of creative play. Don't miss the glow in the dark varieties. Get a little flashlight and enjoy writing some glow in the dark letters!
You can't go wrong with this toy. Charlotte Peeps, buy it locally at Toys & Co.
About the blogger: Stephanie Wick is a pediatric occupational therapist that founded and is lead O.T. at Learning Charms.
Read past Blog here