Therapeutic benefit of household pegs
Pegs are an easily accessible home resource that can be used to assist in the development of fine motor skills, finger strength, appropriate pencil grasp and functional tasks such as dressing and eating.
How can pegs help?
- Hand and finger strength – opening a peg requires your child to apply a force against a resistance. For many children this can be a challenging task. Opening a peg helps to develop the intrinsic muscles of the finger and thumb.
- Hand endurance – similar to strength, endurance develops when sustaining a force against a resistance. Encouraging your child to open a peg for as long possible will help to build resistance, important for functional tasks such as handwriting.
- Pincer grasp – development of a functional pincer grasp is fundamental to success in tasks such as handwriting, feeding and dressing (buttons, zippers and shoe laces). Using pegs will help your child to develop accurate and automatic movements in their thumb and index finger.
- Hand preference – placing pegs in the midline, and encouraging your child to reach out will help to establish and strengthen hand dominance. This is important in for handwriting and fine motor tasks.
- Motor accuracy – placing a peg in a specific location requires motor accuracy. This can be further challenged by encouraging your child to place pegs in a certain position in a shorter time frame.
10 activities to do with pegs:
- Painting with pompoms: encourage your child to use their ‘pinching fingers’ on the peg to pick up a pom pom and use it as a paintbrush to paint. Your child could try to write his/her name with the pom pom, create patterns e.g. one blue dot and then two green dots, count the number of dots, or practice letter recognition by decorating a letter of the alphabet.
- Pretend play washing line: children love to pretend! They love pretending to be adults and imitating your actions. All that is needed is a rope, a basket with small clothes, two chairs to tie the rope between and pegs. Encourage your child to hang out the wet clothes by pegging them on the line.
- Matching colours: mix up a bag of coloured pegs and ask your child to separate the pegs into colours and peg them on a coloured shape. This will help to develop colour and shape recognition. You can purchase coloured pegs from a local art store or colour wooden pegs with paint or food dye.
- Peg-a-number: help your child with number recognition by encouraging them to attach the number of pegs to a laminated picture of the number. This task can be made more challenging by writing basic sums on the pegs for your child to figure out!
- Letter hide and seek: attach a letter to the peg and hide it around the house or outside. Encourage your child to find the pegs one at a time and correctly identify them by matching the letter on the peg to a letter in the alphabet.
- Guess who: attach pictures of characters to pegs and create a guess who board.
- Peg race: race your child to see who can put the most pegs on a rope in a period of time, or who can place the pegs on the fastest.
- Peg sensory play: use glue to attach items with different textures to pegs. Encourage your child to touch the pegs to explore the different textures and sensations. You could use items such as cotton balls, pom poms, sand paper, sponges, bubble wrap, rice, buttons and googly eyes.
- Pom pom transfer: using a peg encourage your child to transfer an object such as pom pom, cut up straws, cotton wool or hard pasta from one container to another. You could make this competitive by racing your child to see who can collect the most items using a peg.
- Peg-a-sponge: ask your child to match a coloured peg on the matching coloured sponge square. This activity can be used to practice counting for example how many blue sponges and how many green sponges.