Saturday, January 4, 2020

Teach Buttoning using a DIY Button Board: Make it Fun!

Yes, teaching a child to button can be a fun experience! You might be wondering...how? First of all, don’t try to teach this skill when your little one is getting ready to leave the house in the morning., especially if you are in a hurry. That’s definitely not the time to work on buttoning and other fasteners. Instead, find a time when you can work on the skill using a fun and relaxed approach. You can also make it fun by using a button board.

Practicing on a button board will allow your child to learn and practice the skill away from their body, which makes it easier. Then once he’s learned how to manipulate the button and fabric to complete the buttoning task, he will feel more confident. That’s the time to switch over to practicing on clothing.

Skills needed for buttoning:
Able to pick up small objects using the thumb and index finger (pincer grasp)
Brings hands together at the middle of the body (midline)
Uses both hands together in a coordinated manner (bilateral skills)

Tips for teaching buttoning:

Start with large 1 to 1 ½-inch buttons, and progress to smaller ones. Initially, the fabric that the button goes through should have some stiffness to it. (You can add stiffness or body to fabric by attaching fusible or iron-on interfacing to it.)

Now that you know how to teach buttoning, it’s time to make a button board!

Supplies Needed:
Colorful large (1 to 1 ½-inch) buttons
                             
Felt fabric- (Let your child select the colors!)
                             
Fabric glue or hot glue
Fusible or Iron-on interfacing
Cardboard


1. Have your child select the “theme” for the board. (For example, see the giraffe and snowman.)
2. Cut a piece of cardboard into a rectangular shape (approximately 10-inches x 14-inches)
3. Cut out a piece of felt slightly larger than the cardboard. (12-inches x 16-inches)
4. Glue the felt onto the cardboard. Be sure to wrap the fabric around the edges of the cardboard so that it will look neat.
5. Using different color(s) of felt, cut out the shapes or forms needed for your theme, and glue those felt pieces in place on the board.
6. Iron the interfacing onto the back of the fabric or felt pieces that you plan to use for the button holes. Once the fabric has cooled, cut out the shapes or forms of your choice, then cut the appropriate sized button holes in each one.
7. You’ll need to use a sturdy needle to sew the buttons onto the board.
8. Use a Sharpie marker and other felt pieces to decorate it even more!

Finally, have fun working on those buttoning skills!

The projects above were completed by a Master of Occupational Therapy student at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and posted with permission.


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Tips for Tactile Defensiveness

A child with tactile defensiveness is overly sensitive to touch and other tactile input such as finger paint, sand, water, and certain clothing textures. Here are some signs and symptoms that you might see with a child who is dealing with tactile defensiveness.
  • Frequently resists being held or cuddled by unfamiliar people
  • Dislikes water splashing or bath-time
  • Difficulty falling into a regular sleep/wake schedule
  • Dislikes being moved quickly such as being tipped in the air, swung around, bounced, or rocked suddenly
  • Difficulty with sucking, chewing, or swallowing new textures
  • Does not tolerate new foods or food textures – diet is limited
       If a child has tactile sensitivity, here are some activities to try. Any child's sensory system will benefit from these activities, defensive or not. Start slowly, and DO NOT force any input that your child resists. If your little one is extremely resistant, it’s probably time to consult your pediatrician and ask about the possibility of occupational therapy. There are other treatments that must be carried out under the supervision of a therapist. 
  • Spend a few extra minutes after bath time to vigorously rub the child with a towel, or guide them in doing so.  
  • Rub lotion or powder on the legs, hands and arms while singing (for distraction purposes). Let them also rub the lotion or powder on you, especially if they won’t tolerate it on their own extremities.
  • Pretend face washing or shaving- with different textures of cloth or towels.
  • Use a variety of textured materials such as corduroy, fur, terry cloth, etc. and rub on your child’s back, arms and legs.
  • Put textured mittens or puppets on child’s hands and let him or her take them off.
  • Encourage your child to play in binds of sand, rice, beans or popcorn. Hide items and have the child locate them, guessing what they are while still covered. If your child won’t touch the textures, provide cups and shovels for play.
  • Have the child roll up in a blanket or sheet, then play hot dog – press on mustard, relish, etc., and then have them roll out.
  • Put shaving cream, lotion, or pudding on a large piece of aluminum foil and have the child draw a picture or write spelling words. Be sure to get both hands messy!
  • Finger painting or body painting with water-based paints. 
  • Play in play dough or putty. Pulling, squeezing, rolling, etc.
  • Draw numbers/letters on the child’s back, arms, lets, etc. and have him identify. You can make it a multiple choice or yes-no question - Is this a 2 or a 5?
  • Provide activities that provide tactile input on the child’s entire body, such as a kid pool full of styrofoam, big soft pillows, or balls.
  • Games with physical contact are good – bear hugs, piggyback rides, wrestling, back rubs, petting animals.
  • Identifying objects with eyes closed – keys, comb, marble, block, coins, shapes, etc.
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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Visual Scanning: More Free Worksheets!

Visual scanning is the ability to use the eyes to search for letters, numbers, symbols, information, etc. from side to side and top to bottom. Efficient visual scanning is important for many life skills, including reading.  Not too long ago, I posted several free visual scanning worksheets, click HERE to access them. 

Below are 3 more free scanning worksheets that I hope you will find to be helpful!

http://drannezachry.com/circle-blue/ 

 http://drannezachry.com/circle-m-s/

http://drannezachry.com/circle-q-j/ 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Fun Fine Motor Felt Board!

Here is a fun DIY "therapy on a shoestring budget" activity that provides an awesome way to work on the development of fine motor skills!  An added bonus is that felt boards like this can also be used to practice naming and matching colors and shapes.
To make the fine motor felt board, you will need:
   1 foam board
   Various colors of felt squares
   Scissors
   Tacky glue
   Extra large/thick needle and thread
   Several colorful buttons in various sizes

Cut a white piece of felt that is the same size as the foam board and glue it to the board. This will serve as the background. Select a theme for the board, then cut the various colors of felt pieces to create the people, animals, shapes, numbers, or letters of your choice.  Use an ice pick or another sharp object to poke two tiny holes in the board in the spots where you want the buttons to be located. (Be careful!) Then, use the needle and thread to sew each of the buttons onto the board.  Cut appropriate size slits into the felt pieces that are going to attach to the buttons. It's time to play!

The project above was completed by a Master of Occupational Therapy student at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and posted with permission.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Fun Fine Motor Tong Activity!

     Kids love this fun fine motor tong activity! The great thing about this activity is that it helps develop those fine motor skills that are important for writing, typing, using scissors, and fastening fasteners on clothing. Tong activities are also great for developing manipulation skills on the thumb, index, and middle finger side of the hand while working on stability on the pinkie and ring fingers.
     For this activity, you will need the following:
Non-Slip Children's Bathtub Appliques with Suction Cups
Mini-Tongs
Various Sizes of Pom Pom Balls
 Have the child use the tongs to grasp pom poms and place them in the suction cups.
Watch the video below of this child carrying out the activity! What a nice grasp and great control!
This activity is also a wonderful way to work on counting and matching and naming colors. Have fun!


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Learn to Button: Baseball Tic Tac Toe Game!

 
Sometimes learning to button can be frustrating and boring, especially if you ask a child to practice over and over again on their own clothing. So way not turn it into a game? Here is a fun and motivating DIY activity for a child to work on buttoning skills.

How to Make a Button Tic Tac Toe Game:
   Supplies Needed- 9 large (1-inch) buttons
                               Flannel fabric- 1 print (Let your child select the pattern)
                               2 different colors of felt fabric
                               Iron-on Interfacing (found on Amazon)
                               Sharpie Marker

1. Cut the flannel print into a 30 x 30-inch square.
2. Iron the interfacing onto the back of the fabric.
3. Use a ruler and Sharpie Marker to draw out the tic tac toe grid.
4. Sew a button in the center of each grid square.
5. Cut the Xs and Os out of the felt fabric, and cut button-size openings in the center of each one.

It's time to practice buttoning while playing tic tac toe!!!

The project above was completed by a Master of Occupational Therapy student at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and posted with permission.
                             

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Visual Scanning: Free Worksheets!

When you move your eyes to look for items or information around you, this is called visual scanning. Visual scanning is important for reading and other school tasks like writing.

Playing the game "I Spy" is a good way to work on this skill.  Also, here are several worksheets for kids that require visual scanning!