Thursday, May 23, 2013


Here's a fun activity for kids and adults.  Make slime!  It's easy, just one part glue to 3/4 part liquid starch.  You can use colored glitter glue to make fun looking slime.  Kids love to be able to play with it and it's a great sensory play idea!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hand Dominance

A question that I am asked frequently by parents and teachers is when should kids be forced to choose a dominant hand for writing.  It seems as soon as children pick up their first crayon to scribble, parents begin to wonder whether he/she will be a righty or a lefty.  The older that child gets, the more anxious parents get about forcing a hand dominance.  I tell parents to let your child switch hands if that's what they do.  Some children pick up a crayon and only use one hand from the start.  Others switch hands up until kindergarten, or beyond.  My rule of thumb is this:  let them switch, as long as both are functional, until they either use one hand approximately 75% of the time, or until first grade, at which point it is time to pick (very rarely do children go this long).  Parents and teachers will begin to see a child that switches become much more accurate and sure with one hand over the other.  This will be the sign of which hand will be his/her dominant hand.  When the child begins to use one hand more than the other, and you can clearly see the difference in performance, you can start to reposition the crayon/pencil into that hand.  No worries if your child is 4 and you still don't see this.  Hand dominance has it's way of naturally occuring.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Teaching Young Left-Hand Writers

As the mother of a left-hand writer, I am aware of the difficulty faced when teaching a left-hand child to write, so I wanted to again address these difficulties and offer solutions.  First, lets compare the writing of left-handers and right-handers. Right-hand writers use their elbows as a pivot point to allow for smooth movement across the paper.  The fingers control the pencil while the forearm moves in an arc away from the center of the body.  As letters are written, they are visible to a right-hand writer since the hand moves away from the letters while moving across the paper.    Not so for the left-hand writer if the paper is positioned as a right-hand writer positions his/her paper.  The left-hand writer is not able to use the elbow as a pivot because the paper is slanted the wrong direction.  The entire forearm moves the pencil.  This makes finger coordination difficult if the paper is positioned as a right-hand writer.  The left-hand writer is unable to see the letters since the hand moves on top of them. 
This is especially difficult for the young learner who needs visual prompts to remember what he/she has already written.  Left-hand children who try to write like right-hand children tend to develop awkward grasps on their pencils to allow them to see the writing.  These grasps make smooth writing difficult.
It is very important to teach paper positioning and good grasps to children from the start.  Perhaps group left-hand children together to allow them to see other children position their paper and to allow them to imitate similar peers.  Teach the children to position the paper, pencil and hand to allow them to see the words.  Allow the child to be a part of finding the best position for him/her.  Then, ensure that the child uses a good grasp on his writing tools to prevent awkward grasps that may impact his/her writing as he/she ages.  It is important to teach good writing habits from the beginning, as it can be nearly impossible to change these habits down the road.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ok, only a few short days until Mother's Day!  So, I thought I should give those last minute dads a quick, easy solution to the gift.  What mom doesn't like a hand made picture from their kids?  This one is easy to do, so get started.  All you need is paint and paper.  Have your child (or children) make hand print flowers, using their finger prints to make the stems.  Your child (children) can snip green paper to make grass.  Get started, you may want it to dry before handing it to mom.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Yoga balls in the classroom

Try this link for an actual trial of balls instead of chairs in one 4th grade classroom.  The physician/mom that recommended it is a parent in my son's cub scout pack and is one smart lady!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mother Day Craft

Mother's day is right around the corner, but there is still time to make her feel loved. Here's a cute mother's day craft.  Take some cute fabric and trace your child's hand.  Cut out the hand and place in a cute picture frame.  Use some more of the fabric to make a bow hanger.  An older child should trace and cut out their hand by themselves.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Marshmallow Shooters

Well I was in charge of activities for a portion of a Cub Scouting trip last weekend and this one was a hit!  For little kids and the ahem, grownups too.  I precut the PVC pipe with a PVC pipe cutter (a hacksaw also works well) so that the kids could follow the instruction sheet themselves, and one other tip, stale marshmallows worked a tad better the next morning than straight from the bag.  It needs to be mini marshmallows and half inch PVC pipe.  To give you an idea of cost, it was $42 at Lowes to make 15 of these.  And it worked better than the 'official' mini marshmallow shooter we have.

If you don't want an all out battle try shooting into a friend's mouth (from a safe distance, of course) or shoot targets in the yard, but even the littlest of the crew loved the hide, seek, and chase version of battling.  It works best to load the marshmallows right into the mouthpiece, but be sure to tell them NOT to suck in first.  It also works, but they don't travel as far, when you place the marshmallow near the tip of the other end.  I've included here the plan sheets I gave the kids...

Have Fun!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Paint with balls

Here is a fun, creative way to paint- use plastic balls.  You will need a tray, or cardboard box to contain the balls.  Put some paint in the box or on the tray.  Put a piece of paper in the box or tray.  Throw in some balls and have your child roll the balls back and forth over the paper to paint.  Great for bilateral hand use, eye-hand coordination, and upper extremity control.  Kids love this different way to paint.  Another way: use marbles instead of big balls.  Great way to make zebras or bumble bees (which is what is being made in these pictures).