Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Paint with Q-tips

Kids love to paint.  So, switch it up a bit and give them Q-tips to paint with.  It is fun and works on their fine motor control.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pancake fun

My good friend, and fellow OT, Tamara, shared this creative idea with me.  Add food coloring to pancake batter and have fun!  Make smiley faces, make circles or other shapes.  Have your kids be creative!  Put the batter in squirt bottles and let your kids squeeze out the designs- they will love it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Upper extremity weight bearing

To have good fine motor skills, including hand writing, it's important for children to have stability in the should girdle. As the saying goes, "proximal stability for distal mobility". So, it's important for children to do upper body strengthening (although not with weights).  Weight bearing through the upper extremity is good to improve shoulder strength and stability.  Young children should not lift weights as their joints are not yet able to handle the stress.  If you have access to an exercise ball, have your child lay on his stomach and roll forward so that his/her hands touch the floor.  He/she can then rock back and forth by using his hands.  (This is also good for core strength and stability). 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Movement to increase brain function

We are going to continue to talk about ways to increase the attention and focus of children in school.  One thing that we advocate is movement.  Aerobic exercise is shown to stimulate the brain for optimal learning.  One elementary school near us has all the students, and teachers, walk around the perimeter of the school prior to school each day.  Another has 15 minutes of exercise before begining their day.  Children, especially elementary and preschool children, function best after movement.  Many teachers use taking away recess as punishment for bad behavior.  This only makes it harder for the child to learn, as he/she did not get the necessary gross motor play.  In essence, this teacher has punished herself/himself as the children will have even more difficulty focusing for the rest of the day.  The younger the child, the more movement breaks they need.  Have the children crawl to circle. Have them hop to their desks or to the bathroom.  15-20 minutes/day of aerobic activity is recommended for optimal learning.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fidgety kids

Have a child that has difficulty paying attention and focusing?  One that is constantly slouching or needing redirection?  Or, a child that has difficulty sitting still to complete his/her homework?  Try having the child sit on an exercise ball.  Studies have shown improved attention and focus when a child sits on a ball.  Students have reported a difference in their ability to concentrate.  And, sitting on an exercise ball works on core strength.  It is best if the child's feet touch the floor and it is important to remind the child that there is no bouncing or rolling the ball.  Most children like using the ball, so taking the ball away when the child bounces or rolls is usually a good way to reinforce the rule.  We don't recommend using the ball for more than 15-20 minute sessions so as not to incur back aches or poor posture.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

All about me

Preschools typically have an "all about me" theme to get the children to become aware of themselves.  Body parts are identified and families are discussed.  Here is an art project for the children to complete.  Have your child use different color yarn to make hair depending on the color of their hair.  If their hair is blond- yellow yarn, brown hair- brown yarn.  Have your child pick out his/her own yarn, "what color is your hair?".  Glue the yarn on the head.  Have your child color the person to match what they are wearing.  Then, either glue eyes on the face, or have your child draw the entire face. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bubble wrap

Don't throw away the bubble wrap that comes in boxes!  It's not only fun for the kids to pop, it's a great fine motor activity!  It takes finger dexterity and strength to pop the bubbles.  Lay it on a hard, flat surface and have the kids use one finger to try to pop it or have him/her hold it in one hand to pop.  Have him/her slap his/her hand onto the wrap to see how many bubbles he/she can pop at one time.  Lay it on the ground and have your child jump on it.  There are lots of fun ways to enjoy bubble wrap!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Let's go fishing

Make an aquarium in your child's room.  Take a paper plate, cut out a triangle for the tail and have your child color, or paint, his fish!  The older child should do his/her own cutting and gluing, including opening/closing the glue.  The younger child can do the gluing, and attempt to do the cutting, with close supervision.  Glue the fish on a blue piece of paper, add some "seaweed" and you have an aquarium.  Add as many fish as your child wants.