Hand and Finger Strength – Activities with Playdoh

Squeezing, kneading and pulling playdoh or theraputty are useful to improve grip and finger strength. Theraputty are a stronger version of playdoh which comes in varying grades of resistance (e.g. medium or soft).

Playdoh or Theraputty activities:
Mould playdoh into pretend animals
  • Mould playdoh into pretend animals.
Make playdoh letters
  • Make playdoh letters.
Create pretend food
  • Create pretend food with playdoh (e.g. pizza, spaghetti and meatballs).
Hidden treasure
  • Hidden treasure. Use small items such as beads as ‘treasure’ and hide them into playdoh or theraputty. Encourage your child to use his/her fingers (index, middle and thumb) to find or hide the ‘treasures’.
Cut Playdoh sasages
  • Cut playdoh sausages with scissors.
Playdoh or Theraputty exercises*:


Make a mountain
  • Make a mountain: Shape dough into a cone and stick it on a flat surface. Place fingers and thumb over the top of the cone. Lightly pull up the cone with fingers and thumb together to make a tall mountain.
  • Squeeze: Place dough in the palm of hand. Curl up fingers to make a fist and squeeze the dough as hard as possible.
Make a snake
  • Make a snake: Roll playdoh into snakes or sausages.
Finger scissors
  • Finger scissors: Roll up a ball of dough. Place the dough between two fingers. Squeeze two fingers together. Try to keep the fingers as straight as possible.
Thumb and finger hide
  • Thumb and finger hide and seek: Shape the dough or putty into a large ball. Grasp it with your thumb pointing up, bend it, press it deeply into the dough/putty and pull it out. Repeat with the other remaining fingers.
Squash bugs
  • Squash bugs: Roll up a small piece of dough or putty. Squeeze it between each finger and the thumb.

*Images obtained from Developmental Occupational Therapy Western Australia (Handout: Playdoh Activities for Hand strength).

Download PDF Handout