15 August 2016

How to Make Theraputty

I haven't talked much about autism on this blog, but I've decided to share the DIY autism and therapy tools that we use since I know some of my readers are also autism parents.  My son, who is 10, is currently receiving ABA therapy and occupational therapy.

I prefer to make most of our therapy tools because it's cheaper, which allows us to have tools in our toolbox.  Having a child with autism can create financial strain on the family, so maybe these will help other people too.

Another advantage to making my own is that I don't have to wait for shipping.  We start homeschool tomorrow, and there were a few things that I forgot to purchase for our sensory nook.  Oops!

I learned how to make theraputty with things we had on hand, so we can work into our school day tomorrow instead of waiting.  

What Is Theraputty?

My son's OT uses theraputty at every session.  It's a stiff putty that really gets his finger muscles working before he starts working on handwriting.

Theraputty helps build strength in the hands, which helps build fine motor skills and handwriting skills.  As a bonus, it provides sensory input that he craves, so it can even help him calm down.

Sometimes I let him play with the putty freely, but I usually hide objects in it.  I hide buttons, beans, or even coins in the putty for him to dig out.

Since the putty is so large, he really has to push and pull it to get to the hidden objects.  Once he finds them, I have him put them back in, pushing them deep in the putty.  

How to Make Theraputty

You'll need:

1.  Mix white glue and 1 cup water in a medium sized bowl.  

Don't mix in the warm water just yet; you'll need it in the next step.  Use a plastic spoon to stir it, but don't worry if it doesn't mix completely.  If you want your DIY theraputty to have a color, add your food coloring now.

2.  Mix 1/2 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon borax in a separate bowl.  

Mix this with a plastic spoon until the borax is dissolved.  Ours didn't dissolve completely, but we were able to work it in during the next step.  

3.  Slowly pour the borax mixture in to the glue mixture.

We stirred with the plastic spoon as we poured, but we soon realized that it's best to just get messy.  My son didn't really mind mixing it by himself; in fact he loved it!  We didn't have all of the borax mixed with the water, but it didn't matter.  It quickly incorporated and made putty.

how to make theraputty

If you need more resistance, use less water during either step.  

Learning how to make theraputty means that now we can have two or more containers in different colors without a big investment.

Theraputty costs a little less than $2 per ounce if you buy it premade, but this recipe cost me just $1 for the glue since it's on sale for back to school.

Theraputty is fun on its own, but I like to hide things in it so he has to dig for them.  Our favorites are beads, charms, and buttons.  He also likes to stamp in the putty, which is a great way to practice spelling words.  Obviously, only do this with adult supervision.

If your child loves noises too, this doubles as a noise maker.  When you press it down it to the container, it makes a noise that most little boys find to be quite humorous.

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If you are interested in autism therapy tools and DIY recipes, feel free to leave a comment.  I have several that I can post if there's some interest in them.

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Cari Dunn
Cari Dunn

Cari lives on a small farm in Ohio with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, five goats, several chickens, and homing pigeons. She loves Gilmore Girls, coffee, and her kids. Not in that order.