Occupational Therapy Newsletter
As 2020 comes to an end and you start your holiday shopping remember to add books, games and developmental toys to their wish list!
Fun Gift Ideas for Your Child
The following is a list of games and activities that you can find at most toy stores that are not only fun, but also work on motor development!
Games to Develop Hand-Eye Coordination, Motor Planning, and Visual Spatial Skills:
- Clue Jr.
- Charades for Kids
- Go Fish
- Hungry Hungry Hippos
- Mr. Potato Head
- Memory Games
- Oreo matching
- Yahtzee Jr.
- Connect Four
- Spot it!
- Feed the Woozle
- Monkey around game
Toys for Fine Motor Development and Writing:
- Dressing Dolls
- Felt kids
- Art Supplies (pip squeak markers by crayola, stencils, )
- Playdoh/Silly Putty
- Balloon Lagoon
- Lite Bright
- Hi Ho Cherry-O
- Finger Puppets
- The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel
Toys for Sensory Motor Development and Coordination:
- Play tents
- Peek-a-ball Playland
- Bed Tents
- Mini Trampoline
- Rocking Horse or Chair
- Whistles and Kazoos
- Moon Sand
Recipe to make at home: Have your child help in the kitchen!
Taste safe kinetic sand
1 cup baking soda
½ cup sugar
½ cup corn starch
1 tbsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp of water, separated
Pour the baking soda, sugar, corn starch and cream of tartar into a bowl. Mix well.
Add 2 drops of food coloring to 4 tbsp of water
Add 2 tbsp of water/food coloring mixture to the mixture and mix using a whisk.
Add the remaining 2 tbsp of water/food coloring mixture and you should have a fluffy snow like texture
The key is to slowly add in the water/food coloring mixture 2 tbsp at a time.
Single user variation:
Measure the following into a quart size Ziploc bag:
1/4 C baking soda (or 4 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
Have students (or adults) seal the bag and gently mix the ingredients.
In small cups, give each student 1 Tbsp water and let them choose colors of food coloring. About three drops is plenty.
Open the bag and pour a tiny bit of water in. Seal the bag and mix until everything is the same color. Repeat the process three to four times until all the liquid is mixed in.
Enjoy your kinetic sand!
Occupational Therapy Newsletter
You know that your body needs to warm up before doing physical activities. Writing and cutting are also physical activities, so you need to warm up for them as well. Following are games that can be used to develop your upper extremity muscles in preparation for using scissors, markers and other writing tools.
Make it Fun and Fresh
The following Hand Games are great warm ups to use before writing in the classroom. Do each 10-15 times.
- Mickey Mouse Ears-place fists next to ears; open fingers and then squeeze closed.
- Finger Opposition-hold fingers next to ears; have student touch thumb to each finger and back again.
- Desk Push Ups-from a standing position, place hands flat on desks with thumb and pointer tips facing each other (create triangle); bend elbows and touch nose into triangle. These can also be done seated in chair by pushing up holding onto seat of chair and extend arms to lift bottom without using legs.
- Door Knob Turns-arms in front of you, elbows slightly bent, four fingers next to each other, thumbs out, turn both hands toward thumbs at wrist, turn and return to mid position (not towards little finger)
- Butterflies-hold arms straight in front of body, make an X with thumbs, palms facing out, make small circles right, then to the left.
- Windshield wiper/Scissor Cuts-place arms above head; cross straight arms in air with right arm on top and then with left arm on top. Then do the same as above with straight arms down in front of body and palms up.
Hand & Grip Strength
Help students develop hand muscles and grip strength
- Stapling paper activities,
- Punching holes using hand held punch
- Open and close jars
- Finding beads in theraputty
- Use of clothespins or tongs, using index finger and thumb to work on pincer grasp.
This is a picture of the Dynamic Tripod Grasp.
It is the best way to hold a pencil because your hand gets less tired and your movements are more precise. Your building Occupational Therapist will be happy to discuss pencil grips that may assist a child in developing a mature grasp pattern.
Writing Tips in the Classroom/Home
- To facilitate tripod grasp (mature), have the student hold a small object (i.e. pom pom) with their ring and little finger against their palm while using tips of thumb and index to pinch pencil and have the pencil resting on side of middle finger, to hold it correctly.
- Teach students to hold the pencil about an inch from the tip; a rubber band, colorful tape or permanent marker dots can serve as a reminder.
- Use of vertical surfaces, such as an easel, 3-ring binder or standing at the whiteboard can facilitate development of correct wrist position and prevent hooking with left-handed students.
- Lay on stomach on the floor for writing for a different plane to work in, as well as increased shoulder stability and postural control.
- Use shorter pencils or crayons to encourage tripod grasp.
Occupational Therapy Newsletter
Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year!
This is a great time in the school year to focus on positioning for optimal learning and maintaining a safe learning environment. Providing kids with proper classroom ergonomic conditions and knowledge will promote healthy lifestyle habits.
What is Classroom Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the science of designing the task, the equipment and workstation to fit the student in order to prevent overuse and disability and promote productivity.
Seat student in proper fitting desk and chair. The optimal sitting posture includes the ankle, knee and hip at 90 degree angles, the trunk slightly forward and the forearms resting on the desktop. The desktop should be 1-2 inches above the elbows when the arms are at the student’s side. Feet should be resting on the floor. The same guidelines apply when using a ball chair. You can bring work up on a slanted surface using a 3 inch ring binder.
Provide proper positioning at a computer workstation. Adjust the height of the monitor. The student’s head should be in a neutral position and eyes should be at the same height as the top of the monitor. When typing, keep wrists straight, trunk upright and forearms parallel to the floor. Most importantly take micro-breaks often.
Perform 5 minute stretch breaks every 30 minutes to release tension. Set a timer on the iPad to help remember!
- Shoulder shrugs- Bring shoulders up to ears, hold and relax.
- Neck Rolls- Bring chin to chest, roll to left shoulder, then to right.
- Side bends- Stand up, bring both arms straight above head. Bend to left. hold for 5 seconds and repeat to the right.
- Forward Bend / Hamstring Stretch- Bend forward at waist with knees slightly bent, arms and head hang down, hold for 5 seconds, slowly roll back up.
- Wrist Extensions- arms out in front, palms down, pull fingers toward you with opposite hand.