Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tummy Time Article

The education of parents regarding the importance of tummy time is the responsibility of all health care providers, including physical and occupational therapists. It is critical that all of us as health care workers join together as a team to communicate the tummy time message to parents and caregivers.
Do you agree? Check out my article "Why Tummy Time Matters" in the most recent issue of Advance for OT Practioners.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

OT Fine Motor Valentine Game

One of the wonderful teachers that I work with had her students play this Valentine's game in class today. It was so awesome, I asked her if I could share it with you. Thank goodness, she said yes!
What you will need:
Pink or Red Construction Paper
Googly Eyes
Pipe Cleaners
Small Pom Poms
Stickers or something to use for a mouth

-Begin by writing the directions of the board. Every student gets a turn rolling the die, and as they roll a number they get the "body part" that corresponds with the number on the die. When someone rolled a 6, they got a candy "Peep". If you roll a number twice, you miss your turn. :(
The number one corresponds with the heart, which is the body of the Valentine bug that we were making. So each student had to wait to roll a one before they could start putting their bug together. Great for addressing patience! The student in the video below had just rolled a one, and she's using her adaptive scissors to cut out the heart (which is the body of the bug!)

After that, she added a body part each time that she rolled the die that corresponded with the body part that she needed. She peeled a sticker for the mouth, glued on the googly eyes, taped on the antennae, then glued on the pom pom for the nose. The first student to finish their Valentine bug wins the game. How fun!
As the teacher pointed out, this is a great teaching activity because when using the die, the kids are working on counting. They also work on cutting, gluing, and fine motor skills when cutting out the heart and adding the nose, antennae, and eyes. Finally, each student has to practice turn taking while waiting for classmates to have a turn. Happy Valentines Day!

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

OT Fine Motor Valentine Activity

Here is a great little fine motor activity that my friend Lori showed me for Valentine's Day. All that you will need for this craft is red, pink, and white construction paper, scissors, Wikki Stix- or something else to use as eyes, and glue. Start out by cutting out a small heart and have the child trace around it. This is great for bilateral skills!
 Then have the child cut out the heart. Be sure that the student holds the scissors correctly and keeps both "thumbs up" while cutting. I often remind them to take "baby snips" (short snips) which gives them more control of curves and corners. You may need to demonstrate a "baby snip" so the student understands what you mean. You can even do this "hand-over-hand" so they can feel how small the snip is. You will need six small pink hearts and one red heart of the same size.

 Now it's time to have the student place glue dots on the tips of each heart, then glue the hearts together to make a body for their Valentine caterpillar! I often use a pencil and make a small circle where the glue dot should be. Tell the child to cover the circle using only a small squeeze. That way they will be able to see if they use too much glue. (Also, I like clear glue for this reason.)  Have the student glue the head on the caterpillar- this is the red heart turned in the opposite direction. See photo below.

Now it's time to make the eyes. I like to use small pieces of wikki stix and have the student roll them into small balls or spirals...a challenging fine motor skill! You could also use beads, googly eyes, or just a magic maker to make the eyes.

Once the eyes are ready, glue them in place. Then you can make
the tentacles using small strips of white paper. Have the child fold the paper "like a fan", then glue the tentacles in place. Now have the child use a marker or to draw a mouth.

What a cute Valentine Caterpillar!

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Awesome New OT/Parenting Blog: Embrace Your Chaos

I want to tell you about a great new OT blog that includes parenting tips and fun developmental activities. You've got to check it out! It's called "Embrace Your Chaos", and here is a note from the author:

I am so excited to introduce my first blog! Through my experience working as a pediatric occupational therapist, I have built up a wealth of knowledge about children’s sensory-motor development.  One of my biggest professional and personal goals is to share this knowledge with parents around the world.  As an occupational therapist and as a mother of a young child, I worry about how today’s society is influencing our children and their ability to build the skills they need to be successful. With our technological emphasis and the increasing expectations of our school system, it is important that we, as parents, expose our children to many opportunities to build their sensory, motor, and cognitive skills.  The most basic but important activities are ones that get your kids moving, touching, exploring, and manipulating the world around them. Join me as I share tips, advice, and weekly activities to foster play, creativity, and skill development!  Also, when you visit my site, click on the Facebook link to read other parents’ ideas and share your stories.  

I thought I'd share one of my favorite posts on this new site. It's called "Snowflake Fun"...just check out these adorable hand and footprint snowflakes! To get the instructions for this awesome multisensory activity and many others, just click here @

Thursday, February 2, 2012

OT Activity for Pincer Grasp

I ran across this activity kit at Michael's craft store, and the OT in me couldn't resist! As you can see, it's called fun fusion, and the kit consists of tiny beads and several tiny pegboards that come in different forms, such as the form of a dog, cat, fish, or monkey. (Also available at Amazon)

The child uses a pincer grasp to place the beads on the pegboard. The pegboard actually comes with several small pieces of ironing paper, and after the beads are in place, an adult can "iron" them on permanently. HOWEVER, we skipped that step!

I had the students practice making glue dots...placing a glue dot on each of the pegboard points. This was VERY challenging, and many of the students needed help (that's why I didn't get a picture!)

The students then picked up the tiny beads and placed them on the points of the pegboard that had the glue dots.
It was hard work, and it took several therapy sessions for some of them to finish, but the completed product was worth all of the hard work.

How cute is this?   :)

The best part is that the kids LOVED them! 
Dear Readers, If you have found my blog to be helpful, please "like" my Facebook page and follow my blog...I'm trying to get my book published and this would be a great help! Thanks :)