Thursday, March 28, 2013

Scooter Board Train

And yet another fun way to work out your kids' muscles on a scooter board... take two large cardboard boxes, paint them up and zip tie one scooter board to the middle bottom of one.  Then cut out half the bottom of the front one and zip tie another scooter board to the rear (what's left) of the bottom of the box.  Tie the two boxes together with some rope laced through the scooter boards and you have one fun train!  We used some styrofoam packing scraps to make a headlight and tail end.  Get as creative as you want... we tend to keep adding things as we play with it.  Load up the back train car with another kid, stuffed animals, or cargo and have your child sit in the front one and use his feet to scoot around.  If you cut windows in the engine, they can reach through and hold into the scooter board handles for assistance.  Great for trunk stability and extremity strengthening!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Scooter Fun

Kids love scooter boards!  And, they are great for upper body strengthening and coordination!  Have your child lay on the board and pull the board with his/her hands, or have your child sit on the board and pull it using his/her feet.  If you have access to a few scooters, have races.  Or, if you only have one scooter, time how long it takes the child to get to a certain point, and have them try to beat other children's times.  Or, just let your child ride the scooter.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Here is a simple, yet great, fine motor activity.  Stickers!  Have your kids peal the stickers and put them onto a paper.  Here, we are putting "paw" stickers on the letter "P".  It's sometimes difficult to get the stickers off of the paper, but don't jump in to help too quickly.  Let your child use his problem solving skills to try to figure out a way to get the sticker off.  This is so great for pincer grasp and hand coordination.  Small stickers tend to be more difficult to peel.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Benefits of Skating for Sensory Seekers

OK, so I've been recommending this a lot lately...  skating, whether it be ice or roller.  There are many benefits to trying this activity.  Great heavy work (got a high energy or sensory seeking kid?), balance, and self-esteem boost to name a few.  Your child will sleep well that night!  The trick is to find a place that will let you and your child approach the challenging task in your own way so as not to frustrate your child with too great a demand.

  • Roller rinks will tighten the wheels so they roll less... try tightening them down so your child can walk on the wheels at first, then slowly loosen them.  It might take a session or two to get to gliding, but this way they can advance at their own speed.
  • Although they may seem harder, some kids respond better to rollerblades type wheels all in a row vs. the traditional roller skate two wheels in front two in the back.  Try both kinds to see which one your child can move better.
  • Ice rinks often use metal frames or even big orange cones for the kids to hang onto while they're learning to skate.  It is harder than roller for sure, but if you're up for the challenge or a hockey or figure skating fan it's worth a try.
  • If your child is pretty much skating, but still nervous, try holding a wooden spoon between the two of you... when you and he feel he's ready, you let go of the spoon.  Sometimes they'll keep right on skating holding onto that spoon, watching them realize they're doing it alone is great!

Challenging himself on the ice!
Resting on the boards... skating is hard work!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

In like a lion, out like a lamb

Here's a cute craft for March.  Make Lions and Lambs out of paper plates!  All you need are paper plates, glue and construction paper.  Have the children that can snip the plate to make a lion's mane.  Older children can even cut out the lamb's legs and face. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Here is a creative idea for a St. Patrick's day craft.  Use a pepper to make green shamrocks.  Simply cut a pepper and dip it in paint.  Then place the pepper on a piece of paper to make a shamrocks.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pencil Pressure

Strategies to reduce pressure when writing:

Have a child who uses too much pressure when writing or coloring?  Here are some strategies to try which should help to reduce the pressure used.  Keep in mind, these are not "once and done" cures for this.  You may need to consistently utilize these strategies for a few times/weeks to improve a child's pressure.
1-Place the child's paper on top of a soft mouse pad or towel.  If he/she uses too much pressure, the pencil tip will poke through the paper (try not to use construction paper as it will take more pressure to poke through). Discuss with the child why the pencil poked through.
2-Have the child use a mechanical pencil.  Too much pressure will cause the tip to break. Discuss with the child why the tip broke.
3-Have the child color a picture using a pencil.  Have him/her color part of the picture dark grey, part of it medium grey and part of the picture light grey.  Discuss the different pressures need to produce these colors.  Show him/her the "right" pressure he/she should be using and practice making the medium grey color.

Monday, March 11, 2013

For those children who just don't have the finger strength to open scissors, try self-release scissors.  Here is one example of this type of scissors.  The idea is that the child squeezes the scissors to snip, and the scissors pop back open so the child does not have to open the scissors.  He can then continue squeezing to cut, thereby learning the other aspects of cutting, such as scissor progression and hand placement. There are many different types of these scissors and some are not very expensive (I have seen them at the Dollar Store).  After strengthening the child's fingers, transition to regular children's scissors (if able).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ok, I had to share this since it is such an awesome idea!  We all have kids who are just too little for their feet to touch the ground, even in a kid-size chair.  Using a stool works, until the child moves his feet, thereby repositioning the stool.  This idea uses a box, with the front legs of the chair through it to keep the box positioned correctly.  It's a cheap, practical solution to a common problem!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Snowman door

I know it's March, but it's still winter, and we have a snow storm coming this week, so I thought I provide a cute door decoration.  Make a door snowman.  Line the door (or window, or wall) with white paper.  If your child is able, have him/her draw circles for the eyes, mouth and buttons and cut them out.  Have him/her draw and cut out rectangles for the scarf, and a triangle for the nose. A rectangle and a square make up the hat.  Once the shapes are all cut out, have your child glue them into place to make a cute snowman.