Hand strength is one of the most common areas of concern we see with our kids in our school-based therapy practice. Decreased hand strength can contribute to kids having difficulty with writing, using eating utensils, and other fine motor activities.
More and more kids are also struggling with attention and focus in the classroom and beyond and for many kids, using hand fidgets and other sensory strategies can go a long way toward promoting engagement and participation.
This fun and simple activity is great because they can be involved in the process of creating them, which is a great way to build a feeling of ownership and accountability. And, as they’re creating this hand fidget, kids will also get the benefit of building hand strength and coordination by squeezing and manipulating marbles into a balloon!
This is an easy one, kids simply use one hand to stabilize the balloon while the other hand works hard to get the marbles through the small opening.
It’s a tight squeeze to get the marbles through that narrow opening and little hands will really have to squeeze and manipulate the balloon and marbles to work them down inside the balloon.
And, as the balloon starts to fill up, it gets even harder to squeeze the marbles inside! How many marbles can kids fit into their balloons? The more they fit inside, the cooler their fidget tool will feel in their hands.
Once they’re finished with the process, help kids tie the end of their balloon to secure it. Then, use it in the classroom, during homework time, or other times of day when a hand fidget is needed to keep hands busy.
Don’t want to use it as a fidget? This is still a fun fine motor activity for kids! As an added challenge, see if they can reverse the process when they’re done to get all the marbles back out of their balloons!