Everyday Simple Idea #29 Spray bottles

I am sharing some of the simple, daily things I do at home as a Mom that come from my occupational therapy background.

Everyday, Simple Idea #29: Spray Bottlesspray bottle

Hand strength is one of the top areas of concern I find as a pediatric occupational therapist.  Children who struggle with motor tasks tend to avoid the tasks that are hard for them, and they miss out on hours of play that would be strengthening their hands.  Weakness in the hands is big area of concern as children get older, especially when it impacts handwriting skills in school or the ability to do daily tasks such as zippers, snaps, and buttons.

Playing with spray bottles is one of my favorite ways to help build hand and arm strength, as well as bilateral coordination skills (using 2 hands together for a motor task).


  • Ages 3 and up (maybe some stronger 2 year olds, but generally their hands are too small for most spray bottles)


  • Any spray bottle can work, but look for ones with a smaller grip for little hands.  Often the dollar store sells smaller spray bottles that are perfect!  If you are re-using a bottle, just make sure to wash it really clean first.
  • Fill with water.

What to do?  spray bottleVariety in play can be really important to keep children going at this task.  Children often want to stop as soon as their hands get tired, but to build hand strength they need encouragement and fun tasks to keep trying at.

  • Water play outside
  • Water sensory table
  • In the bath tub
  • To clean off a chalkboard or white board
  • Combine with sidewalk chalk outside
  • Help with cleaning tasks at home (wash windows, floors, tables)
  • Water plants inside and outside
  • Make a pretend “car wash” with toy cars
  • Use with sensory play, such as shaving cream
  • Spray colored water into the snow
  • Color on coffee filter with markers and spray to watch the colors spread
  • Spray on construction paper and watch the drips make art
  • Explore outside- spray bark, leaves, grass, dirt, cement and watch how the colors in nature change


Looking for other ideas to development arm and hand skills:

Paige Hays is an occupational therapist who provides in-home, pediatric occupational therapy services in the south metro area of the Twin Cities, MN. She is a mother of 2 girls, avid DIYer, and a highly skilled and experienced OT. She specializes in working in pediatrics, with diverse expertise ranging from cognition and sensory issues to working with children with neuromuscular disabilities or complex medical needs.  www.paigehays.net