So far we haven’t completed many activities that focus on developing my son’s hand muscles. He can find it difficult to squeeze the hand brakes on his bike or squeeze the water out of a sponge in the bath. For the second letter in our A to Z of Fine Motor Series, we created a Bead Balloon for Hand Strengthening.
I tipped water beads into a small bottle so they covered the bottom. I then poured in water to fill two-thirds of the bottle. I left the water beads soaking overnight.
The next morning the water beads had soaked up all the water and had expanded in size. With hindsight, I used too many water beads. When I opened up the bottle the water beads burst free from the container. As there was not enough space for the water beads to grow as big as they usually do.
However, this worked to our advantage too. As the water beads were smaller they were more firm and didn’t break as easily.
I placed a white balloon over the top of the bottles mouth. I tipped the bottle upside and squeezed. This motion transferred the water beads from the bottle into the balloon. Once the balloon was full of water beads I removed the balloon from the bottle and tied a knot. I repeated the same procedure with another balloon to create two water bead balloons. I then gave them to my son to explore.
He was fascinated by the bead balloons. As soon as he squeezed the balloon it would make the water beads pop out so their shape and colours were visible. He spent ages rolling, squishing, squeezing and even attempted to squash the balloons. He loved rolling the balloons underneath his feet too. It created a wonderful texture.
Despite lots of rough play the balloons retained their shape. My son certainly tried hard to break the balloon and didn’t succeed. It will be interesting to see what will happen to the balloons over time. Usually the water beads will dehydrate and shrink in size.
Our Bead Balloons certainly worked on strengthening my sons hand muscles and the exercise was a lot of fun.
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