Sugar Aunts: Intrinsic Muscle Strengthening Play Dough Mat

Intrinsic Muscle Strengthening Play Dough Mat

I share a lot of play dough activities.  A lot.  There are all of the recipes.  And then there are all of the fine motor activities that go along with the play dough.  A blogging friend suggested I do something with 365 days of play dough. I've got enough ideas that I could share one a day with you and still not be done!

Play dough is awesome.

It's awesome for building intrinsic muscle strength.  It's awesome for working gross motor muscle strength.  It's awesome for proprioception to the hands.  It's awesome for working on handwriting, scissor skills, and pencil grasp.  It's a great treatment tool in Occupational Therapy clinics and it's a great manipulative in learning activities.

Do you (and your kids) love play dough as much as we do?

I've got a creative way to build the intrinsic muscles of the hands using play dough and a play dough mat.  This play mat is designed to work on the muscles needed for a functional pencil grasp and endurance in maintaining that grasp.  It's designed to work on the dexterity needed for coloring without fatigue.  And it's designed to be fun for little ones who need to work on these areas.

Hand strengthening intrinsic muscle strengthening with play dough and a free re-usable play dough mat.


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Intrinsic Muscle Strengthening Play Dough Mat

The intrinsic muscles are the ones within the hands.  I wrote a little about them here and here.  Oh, and here too!  Rolling balls of play dough works on the intrinsic muscles and builds the development of a tripod grasp, improves arch development of the palm, and encourages use of the skilled side of the hand


Play Dough Mat for Building Hand Strength

To use this play dough mat, you'll first laminate the paper or slip it into a sheet protector sleeve.  Then, show your child how to fill the circles with play dough by rolling small balls of play dough with the thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger.  There are different sizes of circles on the mat, requiring the child to roll small or large play dough balls.  This encourages more reined intrinsic muscle use.  

You can use the mat in several ways:

  • Allow the child to fill the circles with play dough with random colors.
  • Assign different sized circles to different colors of play dough.  This provides a visual scanning component to the activity.
  • Write numbers or letters in the circles, providing a visual scanning and letter order cognitive component.


This play mat is available for FREE only for our Play Dough is Awesome newsletter group.  (This is a different email list than our regular subscribers.  If you're on our subscriber list, you'll still need to sign up for this one to receive the play dough freebies coming your way!)


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