Tuesday, November 23, 2021

5 Fun Motor Planning Activities for Kids!

Motor planning is the ability to plan, organize, sequence, and carry out actions, and it is involved in most every task we complete! Motor planning is sometimes called praxis, and when someone has difficulty with motor planning, it is called dyspraxia. Below you will find 5 fun kid-friendly motor planning activities!

Photo Credit: Virginia State Parks Staff
Wheelbarrow Walking: Wheelbarrow walk the child to a spot and have two bowls (i.e. one yellow, one blue) there.  Instruct the child place the yellow items in the yellow bowl and blue items in the blue bowl.  Wheelbarrow walk to a 2nd designated area where you’ve taped a small circle, square, and triangle on the floor. Give instructions: “Touch the square then the circle.” Increase the complexity: “Trace the circle with your finger then touch the triangle.” Take a break. Child may need to rest between activities.

Sidewalk Chalk Fun: Write numbers and letters on the sidewalk. Give the child a playground sized ball and tell him to “bounce the ball on the 5 then on the B.” Increase the complexity of the directions as needed.

Sidewalk chalk or tape out something similar to a hopscotch pattern.  Fill each square with a color/shape/letter, then give the child various instructions. “Hop with one foot on to the square with the letter C, then hop on both feet to the square with the number 4.” Increase the complexity of the directions as needed.

Balloon Game: Suspend a balloon from the ceiling or a door frame using a long piece of string. Have the child hit the ball while saying or singing the A-B-C’s or while counting. For example, A- hit the balloon, B- hit the balloon, etc. You can also make this more difficult by removing the string, and having him keep the balloon in the air as long as possible by hitting it while saying the A-B-C’s. Can she get all the way through the alphabet and keep the balloon in the air? This is also a fun activity for practicing spelling words!

Suspended balloon: Call out instructions and have the child follow them: “hit the balloon with your elbow! Hit it with your nose, etc.”

Bubble Fun: Have the child hop on one foot in place while you blow bubbles in her direction. Have them “clap” the bubbles to pop them while hopping.

Monday, November 8, 2021

What is Auditory Defensiveness?


When a child is over-sensitivity to sounds in the environment, this is called auditory defensiveness. Children with auditory defensiveness may present with some or all of the following symptoms:

* Seems unsettled or distressed in loud environments
* Frequently cover their ears to sounds that other children tolerate
* Bothered by noises made by things like the vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, etc.
* Avoid activities that have loud environments such as parties, ballgames, and movies.
* Possible language difficulties

The following strategies may help children with auditory processing issues. 

* Modify the environment (such as in a school) by considering the acoustics in the classroom. Changing seating arrangements may be beneficial and limiting extraneous noise from the hallway by closing the door or windows is also helpful. It may be necessary to cover the loud speaker with material to tone down the volume.
* Having rugs or carpet on the floor will decrease echo and extraneous noises.
* When possible, children should be forewarned about bells, announcements, fire drills, etc.
* Have the child wear headphones or earmuffs that that cover the entire ear to filter out extraneous background noises.
* Play calming music such as Mozart in the headphones or as background music.
* If concentration is an issue, the child should chew gum, suck on sour candies, and/or eat fruit roll ups, or crunchy snacks.

Photo Credit: Gemma Ryles