What is it? Using dexterous/skilled finger movements, without evidence of fumbling, when manipulating/handling task objects (AOTA, 2014, p. S25).

Why is it important? In-hand manipulation is a skill necessary for occupations across the lifetime such as: 

  • Dressing (managing clothing fasteners) 
  • Toileting (managing clothing fasteners, using toileting supplies, toileting hygiene) 
  • Feeding (using a spoon/fork/knife)
  • Grooming (brushing teeth) 
  • Academic performance (writing, cutting, typing, computer use, etc.) 
  • Play activities 
  • Meal preparation (opening packages/containers) 
  • Opening medication containers 
  • Job performance 
  • Leisure activities 

5 activities to try at home:

  Dr Laura Mraz and In hand manipulation

1. Crumpling paper into balls using one hand and throwing into containers/at targets.  Tip: Try using old magazines or newspapers that are ready to be recycled!

  Dr Laura Mraz and In hand manipulation

2. Feeding the frog “food”.   Tip: Try putting coins into a piggybank if you do not have supplies for a frog. 

Dr Laura Mraz and in hand manipulation

3. Playing Mancala.  Tip: Can be played using marbles/small objects and an egg carton if you do not have the board game.

  Dr Laura Mraz and In hand manipulation

4. Making bird feeders.  Tip: String cheerios onto pipe cleaners.

Dr Laura Mraz and In hand manipulation

5. Making a bean mosaic.  Tip: Try with smalls seeds if you do not have dry beans. 

References  American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(Suppl. 1), S1-S48.

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