Activity:

Homemade Silly Putty

3.6 based on 19 ratings

What You Need:

  • Mixing bowl
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup water
  • Few drops food coloring

What You Do:

  1. Put the cornstarch into the bowl.
  2. Slowly add the water, mixing with your fingers until all the cornstarch is wet. Add a few drops of food coloring if you like.
  3. Invite your child to help you mix the whole batch thoroughly. If the mixture is too sticky, add some cornstarch; if it’s too dry, add a little water. You should have a putty-like, pliable mix that’s fun to squeeze and roll.
  4. When you've mixed it, give your child the ball and have him squeeze it repeatedly. This can be done while riding in a car, reading a bedtime story, or while watching a favorite program on television. Try to have him squeeze at least twice a day for a minimum of five minutes each time. 

Note: This “goofy putty” is not quite as resilient as the old standby of “silly putty,” but it has the advantage of being completely natural and easily biodegradable. Keep it in an egg shaped container or a plastic bag, and it should stay squeezy for a week.

What's Going On?

What’s the goal besides having fun? The goal of this activity is very simple: to strengthen your child’s hand muscles, particularly ones in his palm which are just starting to coordinate with his fingers. Squeezy toys and play dough are often used to improve hand strength and dexterity.

Occupational therapists often use this technique to help kids write, and you can, too. While your child is working with the squeezy ball, continue to have him practice his writing over the next few weeks. You should begin to see improvement in his handwriting as the muscles in his hand become stronger and stronger.

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