Snaps: Fun and Effective Strategies to Develop Manipulation Skills



Challenges to open and close snaps greatly varies depending on the size and resistance of the snaps on a particular garment or other items with snaps. However, as with many fasteners, opening snaps may be easier than closing them and practice develops finger strength and motor control.

Practice with Pop-It-Beads

Toddlers typically love connecting and pulling apart and opening and closing. Pop-It-beads are a great way to teach these concepts as they pull one bead apart from another to place in a container. The client shown below enjoyed removing them while sitting on top of a horse!

Sock Bean Bags with Snaps

I collected cute children's sock to fill with sensory materials such as

  • sand
  • foam
  • pennies
  • marbles or
  • beans

These "sensory bean bags" can have the ends adapted with fasteners such as snaps to use in a variety of ways, such as

Recycle Old Clothing

I saved several pockets with snap closures from an old pair of pants. Older students or clients with developmental disabilities might enjoy opening these to remove an object such as Legos or clothespins that can be used in a different fine-motor activity. A different individual may enjoy filling the pockets. I love the versatility.

If you work in a setting with individuals who seek lots of sensory stimulation, consider the following options:

  • Place the pocket on the floor and items to place inside on a high shelf. The up and down movement provides vestibular stimulation.
  • Place the pocket on one side of the room, items to insert in another part of the room and the container to store them in in yet, another part of the room so that individuals engage in movement.
  • Make the items to place inside the pockets- heavy (perhaps a sock filled with bolts).
  • Use old pocketbooks with snap closures and heavy bags of sand to insert.

Of course, there are lots of commercial toys available that develop snapping skills. I share a few with the Amazon links.  (I earn a few pennies when you shop thru my links, so snap to it!)

More strategies to manipulate Fasteners




Tying Knots and Laces

Explore standing while manipulating fasteners.....

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