Saturday, January 23, 2016

DIY Cat Toy: A Fun Craft for Kids!

This adorable "cat scratch toy" is a fun craft for kids.  It's fairly simple to make, and it requires fine motor skills and dexterity, which make it therapeutic!  Anyone who has a kitten or cat will be motivated to make this for their pet.

Materials Needed: Various buttons, Styrofoam mold (pictured: sphere), colorful pipe cleaners, and a hot glue gun.
  1. Begin wrapping pipe cleaners at the base of Styrofoam applying glue as you go. Use caution with the hot glue to prevent burns. Provide close supervision if a child is a assisting.
  2. You may wish to alternate colors.
  3. Thread several pipe cleaners through the holes of the buttons. 
  4. Once the ball is completely covered, take the pipe cleaners with the buttons and stick them into the foam.
  5. Twist the pipe cleaners into any shape or angle that you prefer.  Ta da…you’ve made a fun toy for your cat! 
Therapy project by Caroline Dickey: Posted with Permission

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tabletop Sensory Garden

This tabletop garden is full of sensory flowers/items that children will enjoy touching and exploring! As the child feels the different flowers, be sure to have her name the colors and explain how each one feels.  

Brightly colored flower vase
Plastic leis
Plastic straws
Plastic loofah
Styrofoam balls
Plastic scrubbing dish pads
Wire cutters
Squishy caterpillar toy
Foam dish scrubber
Butterfly clip
Twisty tie
1.     Place five plastic leis in the metal flower vase. Push the leis down firmly. Set aside.
2.     Cut q-tips in half using wire cutters. Firmly push cut q-tips into Styrofoam ball until the ball is covered to desired thickness to create a flower, leaving room for a stem at the bottom.  Push a plastic straw into the bottom of the Styrofoam ball to create a stem. Set aside.
3.     Push another plastic straw into the plastic scrubbing dish pads. Set aside.
4.     Wrap the loop at the end of the squishy caterpillar toy several times until it is secured onto another plastic straw to create another flower. Set aside.
5.     Pull the foam top piece out of the foam dish scrubber.  Wrap the foam piece around another straw and secure with a metal twisty tie to create another flower. Set aside.
6.     Cut the string handle off of the loofah.  Push another plastic straw into the middle of the loofah to create another flower. Set aside.
7.     Take all the flowers you have created and push them into the leis in the flower vase, arranging them how you choose.
8.     Clip butterfly clip to the side of the flower vase.
9.     Your sensory garden is ready!

Therapy project by Ashley Selsted-Sianez: Posted with Permission

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fun Holiday Craft for Kids!

This is a fun holiday craft for kids that is totally cute!  When a child is making this spool holiday wreath, she is working on all kinds of skills, including fine motor skills, bilateral skills, cutting, gluing, and eye hand coordination. This wreath will make a nice gift for Grandma or any other special person!
Follow these simple instructions to make this holiday craft!

Supplies Needed:
Fabric scraps
Empty spools (thread)
Sturdy craft wire (you can also use pipe cleaners, but they will need to be doubled and twisted so that they'll hold the circular shape of the wreath)
1. Cut the strips of fabric to fit the inside of the spools.
2. Wrap the fabric strips around the spools and glue them in place.

3. Thread the wire through the center holes in the spools and form the wire into a circular shape, and twist the ends of the wire together and tuck them into a spool. 
4. Tie a bow around the bottom or top of the wreath and use a thin strip of ribbon as a "hanger." 
- Hang the wreath on your tree or anywhere in the house as a festive decoration!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Evidence-Based Practice: A Pediatric Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy Study

Photo Credit: Prawny @
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the application of CIMT to children diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP-hemiparesis).

Methods. A randomized, controlled clinical trial was conducted.  Nine children received CIMT therapy and 9 received traditional therapy.

Results. The children who received CIMT demonstrated significant improvements with motor skills in the affected arm completed to the children in the traditional group. The benefits were still present after 6 months.

Conclusion. Pediatric CIMT resulted in significantly improved motor function in children diagnosed with CP.

Taub, E., Ramey, S. L., DeLuca, S., Echols, K. (2004). Efficacy of constraint-induced movement therapy for children with
     cerebral palsy with asymmetric motor impairment. Pediatrics, 113(2).

Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial of Pediatric 
Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy: 6-Month Follow-Up.

Purpose: The current study compared 6 hours per day with 3 hours per day of CIMT over a 21-day period to determine which client would demonstrate the most gains 6 months after the treatment was implemented.

Methods: This was a multisite randomized controlled trial.

Results: Both groups demonstrated significant upper extremity functional gains as a result of therapy.

Conclusion: The 6 hours per day and 3 hours per day treatments both resulted in gains.
Case-Smith, J., DeLuca, S.C., Ramey, S. L. (2012). Multicenter randomized controlled trial of pediatric constraint-induced  movement therapy: 6-month follow-up.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(1), 15-23.

Efficacy of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy on Involved Upper Extremity Use in Children with 
Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy

Purpose: This study investigated the effectiveness of a "child-friendly" constraint-induced movement therapy on the involved upper extremities of children diagnosed with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.

Methods: There were 20 children in the study ranging in age from 4 to 13 years, and the children were divided into an older group and a younger group.  Each participant wore a sling on the uninvolved arm for 6 hours daily over a period of 10 to 12 days.  Therapists who were blinded to the study details conducted assessments of motor skills at the points: after one week, one month, and six months.

Results: Both groups of children made significant motor skill improvements with their involved upper extremities.

Conclusion:  CIMT is an effective treatment for children (of various ages) diagnosed with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.

Gordon, A. M., Charles, J., & Wolf, S. L. (2006). Efficacy of constraint-induced movement therapy on involved upper 
     extremity use in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.  Pediatrics, 117(3), e363-373.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cute Christmas Craft for Kids

Cute Christmas Craft for Kids

Supplies needed:

Narrow strips of colorful fabric strips
One pipe cleaner
This is a fun and easy DIY Christmas ornament!  Just start by shaping the pipe cleaner into a circle and secure the ends tightly by twisting them.
Loop each piece of fabric around the pipe cleaner.  (See the video below.)
 Continue until the wreath is full of fabric strips.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Baby Activity Gym: DIY!!!

Baby Activity Gym
This DIY Baby Activity Gym is an easy inexpensive alternative to an expensive activity gym that you would purchase from a store.  Change out the toys to keep baby interested during play!

Materials needed:
-       Three small pool noodles
-       Scissors
-       Ribbon
-       Colorful infant toys
-       A permanent marker

1. Cut one pool noodle in half.
2. With one of the halves of the pool noodles, determine where halfway is and mark it using the permanent marker.
3. Using the end of the other half of the pool noodle, trace the end in order to draw a circle where halfway was marked.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the second half of the pool noodle.
5. Cut both circles that were traced on both halves of the pool noodle making sure to not cut all the way through the pool noodle but just on one side.
6. Cut the second pool noodle in half.
7. With one of the halves of the pool noodle, mark two inches below one of the ends.
8. Using the end of the other half of the pool noodle, trace the end in order to draw a circle where two inches below the end of the first pool noodle was marked.
9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 with the second half of the pool noodle.
10. Cut both circles that were traced on both halves of the pool noodle making sure to not cut all the way through the pool noodle but just on one side.
11. Using one half from the second pool noodle, insert the other end of the half that does not have a circle cut out of it into one of the halves of the first pool noodle where a circle was cut halfway.
12. Repeat step 11 using the second halves from the first and second pool noodle.
13. Cut the third pool noodle in half.
14. Insert one end of one of the halves of the third pool noodle into one half of the second pool noodle where the circle was cut out two inches from the end.
15. Insert the other end of the half of the third pool noodle into the second half of the second pool noodle where the circle was cut out two inches from the end.
16. Using the ribbons, attach infant toys to the top of the floor gym in order for them to hang.
Therapy project by Jennifer Hale: Posted with Permission

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fun DIY Activities for Visual Perceptual Skills

Sponges are one of my favorite "pediatric occupational therapy" items in my therapy bag!  There are so many therapeutic activities for basic kitchen sponges!  Simply cut the sponges into blocks or shapes of various sizes and watch any child enjoy making creations. Take a variety of brightly colored sponges, and create a stack in a particular sequence of colors/shape and then have the child re-create the stack. 
 Another fun activity that is great for visual perceptual skills is to make a variety of worksheets with different shapes that they child can place the sponges on top of to create a design.  This is basically an inexpensive tangram game that will challenge a child's visual perceptual skills.  The sheets can range from basic to more complex in order to increase the challenge based on the child's skill level!  So go to the dollar store and pick up a package of sponges and get ready to have some fun!

Therapy project by Meg Lawrence: Posted with Permission