Register Now for Summer Therapy

For families interested in summer therapy . . .

  • Call Hilda today at (920) 339-0700 if you are considering summer therapy.
  • The deadline to submit paperwork is Friday, May 11.
  • Summer therapy starts on Monday, June 11.

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Pincer Grasp Activities

A pincer grasp enables a child to pick up small items using their thumb and index finger. A strong pincer grasp allows children to be successful with handwriting, dressing, and many other life skills. The following are some fun ways to help develop a pincer grasp using items you can find around your home.

Incorporating these types of fine-motor activities into a child’s day can help develop strong finger and hand muscles. 

  • Coloring
    • Color with broken crayons; your child should only be able to use their fingertips.
    • Coloring while laying on their tummy so they can only use their fingers to color.
  • Play-Doh—pinch it, roll it into small balls, make long snakes.
  • Pick-up Party—pick up small objects with a tweezer or tongs, and place them in a container.
  • Laundry time—use clothespins, and encourage children to clip clothes. The resistance from the spring will help build finger strength.
  • Beading—use the pincer grip to slide beads onto pipe cleaners. As the child progresses the pipe cleaner can be replaced with a string.
  • Shaker making—place beads, dry noodles, or other small objects into an empty water bottle to make a fun musical instrument.
  • Pay day—place coins into a piggy bank.
  • Stickers—peeling stickers from a sticker book and placing them on themselves or onto paper to create a fun piece of artwork.
  • Snacking—place your child’s snack in an ice cube tray or small dish. This will only allow them to pick up their snack with their fingertips.
  • Bubble wrap
    • Pop large or small packing bubbles by pinching with thumb and index finger.
    • Place the bubble wrap on a hard surface, and pop the bubbles by pushing down on them.

 Amy McMahon, OT


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Fun Activities with Hula Hoops

Physical therapy activities to help encourage jumping skills, motor planning, body awareness, balance and strength are lots of fun with the use of hoola hoops.


Start by placing the hoola hoops (tape, Velcro, jump ropes, or sidewalk chalk can also be used) on the floor for a visual cue for your child, and enjoy the following activities:

  • Hop from one hoop to another.
  • Jump forward into the hoop, then jump backwards out of it.
  • Jump sideways into and out of the hoops.
  • Jump on one foot in and out of each hoop.
  • Bounce pass a ball to a friend using each hoop as a bounce target.
  • Toss a bean bag into the requested hoop.
  • Do animal walks into and out of one hoop to the next—such as bear crawl, crab walk, duck, frog, etc.
  • Take giant steps from one hoop to another.
  • Make a hopscotch pattern with multiple hoops.

These activities can be performed at several different levels of skill depending on the age of your child and their type of disability. To make the tasks more challenging, you can ask your child to perform two– or three-step directions to also build sequencing and memory skills. In addition, these activities can be played in combination with other games such as Captain, May I? and Simon Says.

Jill French-Graebner, PT


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Cutting Activities

Cutting Activities

Cutting up paint swatches

Children love to cut along the white lines of the paint chip cards and then you can give them a glue stick and a blank sheet of paper to create a picture or mosaic.


Colorful plastic drinking straws

Straws are fun and fairly easy for young children to cut through. This is a lot of fun because the straws make a snap when they’re cut, and they fly into the air causing lots of laughter. Once your straws are all cut up, you can string some yarn through the pieces to make a necklace.


Styrofoam meat trays

These are another fun thing to practice scissors skills on. Like the drinking straws, there’s a neat sound that comes along with cutting through the Styrofoam. Scissors slice through the Styrofoam easily, and the pieces can be used for crafting. Remember to wash your meat trays before playing with them.

Play Doh

Play dough is easy to cut through so it provides a great medium for little ones to get started with, and it is fun. You can give your child regular safety scissors for this activity, or you can use plastic scissors designed for cutting dough.


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Great Gift Ideas

When purchasing gifts for kids of all abilities this holiday season, consider “unplugged ” gifts that can help develop fine motor, visual motor, and gross motor skills while having fun at the same time!

• Silly putty, Play-Doh
• Balloons
• Coloring books, crayons, colored pencils
• Puzzles
• Books
• Pick-up sticks
• Board games
• Cards
• Hop scotch
• Toss across
• Balls of all kinds (Nerf, squeeze balls, textured balls)
• Lightweight scarves for dancing
• Beads and laces

Click below to share this list with family, friends, and anyone looking for great gift ideas. For more resources, contact Country Kids Pediatric Therapy.

— Amy Stirk, OT

Country Kids


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Six Transition Tactics

1. Give advance warning. You can’t expect kids to stop what they’re doing on a dime. And time is a blurry concept to toddlers, so “We have to leave in ten minutes” is not meaningful. If your child is engrossed in his play, but you need to take him with you, start preparing him in advance. Set a timer to ring five minutes before you want your child to get ready. Tell him that when the bell rings, it’ll be time to go. And while you’re waiting, say something like, “When you hear the bell ring, I’ll help you put on your shoes and put the puzzle away, and then we’ll get into the car and go.” When the bell goes off, reiterate that it’s time to get ready to go. If a timer isn’t an option (you’re at the playground, for example), use references relevant to your child: “I’ll push you on the swing ten times, and then we have to go.”

2. Develop rituals. To make transitions that involve separation, such as being cared for by someone else, the predictability of a set routine gives a child a sense of control and order. When dropping your child off at day care, you might give her three kisses and then ask for three in return, or read your child two books before walking out the door—whatever works to help your child predict what’s going to happen next.

3. Keep your language simple. Making your words brief can short-circuit power struggles. Rather than explaining why your toddler needs to come to the dinner table, try kneeling down right in front of her and whispering a one-word description of what she’ll be eating. All a child needs to hear is “soup” or “spaghetti,” and she’ll probably be happy to put the toys aside and move on to her next activity—mealtime.toddler parent sillouhette

4. Offer choices. Presenting your child with options gives him lots of room to cooperate. But don’t give too many, and make sure that the choices are not whether to comply, but how to comply. For example, don’t say, “Do you want to put on your shoes?” if “No” isn’t an option. Instead, you might say, “Do you want to wear shoes or sandals?”

5. Avoid making threats. Counting down (“If you’re not on your feet by the time I count to ten . . . “) or threatening a time-out doesn’t work because both back a child into a corner, putting him in a position of losing face. Either he has to back down, or lose your love and approval, which is a big thing to ask of a young child.

First, tell him in a calm voice that it’s time to go, using short, simple sentences. Put your hand on your child’s shoulder, or take his hand gently and guide him to where you want him to go. If you’ve given it your best shot and your child is still balking at stopping his play, try saying, “I can see that you don’t want to come along. I’m going to help you now. I’m going to pick you up and carry you.”

6. Get down to your child’s level. It tends to be very effective when you veer away from arguing and simply change your tone of voice. Rather than running after your child holding the shirt you want him to put on and telling him to be still, get down on one knee and lower your voice to a whisper. Tell him very softly what you would like him to do.

Helping your toddler learn to make transitions smoothly will pay off in the long run. It’s doubtful that he’ll ever grin broadly as he drops his toys into the sandbox and hops into his stroller to go home for a nap. But with patience and diplomacy, you can help him take a few steps forward.

Adapted from


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