How to Make Therapy Putty (Theraputty) at Home
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Learn how to make therapy putty (theraputty) at home.  Theraputty is similar to slime, but it has a thicker consistency.  It's used in occupational therapy and other therapies for hand strength.


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.


Another advantage to making therapy putty DIY 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.  


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 this therapy putty DIY will help other people too.


How to Make Therapy Putty (Theraputty)


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.


What is Theraputty Used For?


Theraputty should be used by a professional occupational therapist or physical therapist.  If your child's therapist uses theraputty during therapy, ask the therapist how you can use it at home and if you can make therapy putty DIY.


Once you learn how to make therapy putty, you can use it several ways at home.


how to make theraputty


GRIP STRENGTHENING


One way to use theraputty after you learn how to make theraputty is to strengthen grip.  The therapist may have the patient put the putty in the center of their palm.  


Then they would bend their fingers over the putty.  The resistance of the putty helps strengthen grip.


To strengthen a hook fist like for carrying something with a handle, hold the putty and bend just the knuckles over the putty while keeping the bottom half of the fingers straight.


THUMB STRENGTHENING


To strengthen the thumb, pinch the therapy putty DIY between your index finger and thumb.  This can help increase skills for buttoning clothes or zipping clothes.  


You can also strengthen the thumb by pushing down on the putty while holding it in your hand.


FINGER STRENGTHENING


To strengthen fingers, squeeze the putty together and pull it apart.


FINE MOTOR SKILLS


Press beads, buttons, or other small objects into the putty and have the child use their fingers and thumbs to press and pull the putty to find the objects.





THERAPUTTY GAMES AND ACTIVITIES


After you learn how to make therapy putty, try these fun games and activities to help your child have fun while strengthening hands.


  • Roll out the theraputty like a snake.  Then make shapes with the long strands of putty.  You can basic shapes for the child to use as a template to learn shapes or even letters.
  • Practice learning letters or spelling by using letter stamps to stamp in the putty.  It provides resistance for proprioceptive input.
  • Put the putty inside a lid and use your hands to smooth it.  It acts as a fidget and can provide sensory input.
  • Make "confetti" by tearing off small pieces of theraputty.  Then pick up the confetti with the rest of the theraputty and roll it into a ball.


For kids who don't like to work with theraputty, they can make doll clothes or accessories for their toys.
Push the putty into an ice cube tray or other mold to make shapes.  Then pull it out and use to make a scene or play with other toys.


How Do You Make Theraputty?


Learning how to make therapy putty is similar to making slime.  You'll need white glue, water, borax, and food coloring.  


What is Theraputty Made Of?


Real theraputty is made from a silicone polymer, so this therapy putty DIY is not an exact dupe.  However, talk to your child's OT.  The consistency is similar to the real thing, so ours did not mind us using it at home.


How to Get Therapy Putty Out of Clothes


As amazing as this therapy putty DIY is, it can still make a mess!  Learning how to make therapy putting is just half of the battle.  You also need to learn how to get theraputty out of clothes and carpet.


You can get your theraputty recipe out of clothes by letting it dry and scrape off as much as you can.


Then use an ice cube to freeze it.  Once it's frozen, scrape off more.  Then pretreat with liquid laundry detergent and let sit for 10 minutes.  Scrub and rinse until the stain disappears.



Theraputty Ingredients


Theraputty Directions


Step #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.





Step #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.  


Slowly pour the borax mixture in to the glue mixture.





Step #3


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 therapy putty DIY.


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 after you learn how to make therapy putty.


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.


And now you know how to make Therapy putty!  I hope your kids love it as much as mine do.


autism, ot, occupational therapy, autism
Yield: 1
Author: Cari @ Everything Pretty
Estimated cost: $1

How to Make Therapy Putty DIY (Theraputty

prep time: 5 Mperform time: 10 Mtotal time: 15 M
How to make Theraputty at home.

materials:

  • 8 ounces white glue
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon borax
  • food coloring

tools:

  • Bowl
  • Spoon

steps:

  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.  Slowly pour the borax mixture in to the glue mixture.
Created using Craft Card Maker

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Cari Dunn
Cari Dunn

Cari lives on a small farm with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, and a goat. She loves coffee, Gilmore Girls, her chihuahua, and her kids, but not in that order.