Let’s Practice Buttons, Zippers, and Ties!

Practicing fasteners can be tricky, don’t force students when they become frustrated. Try to give your student what occupational therapists call the “Just Right Challenge.” This means your student will be slightly challenged by a task, but will still be able to complete the task successfully. This prevents children from becoming discouraged. Start by letting your student try each fastener to see how much help s/he needs. Then let your student complete all of the “easy parts” of the task, while you complete the trickier steps. Gradually show your student how to complete more and more of the task. Remember, most children start by unfastening first (unsnapping, unbuttoning, unzipping, untying), then learn how to fasten (snapping, buttoning, zipping, tying).

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Monkey Stretches and Breathing

Follow along and copy the Monkey’s movements to practice peaceful stretching and breathing exercises. This will help reduce anxiety, and to improve coordination skills. I encourage families to join their students in these stretches. Practice healthy habits together!

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Puffer Fish Breathing Exercise

Parents, try this breathing exercise with your child. Practicing slow and steady breathing helps us become mindful of our bodies, and helps calm anxiety. While this video is meant for children, adults may be surprised at the relief that can be found from breathing exercises during stressful times. Join your child and practice good habits together!

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Gross Motor Alphabet Exercises

This is a link to the Alphabet Exercises https://www.theottoolbox.com/alphabet-exercises-for-kids/?ck_subscriber_id=637308162

If you scroll down, there is a description of how to do an exercise for each letter. These gross motor exercises help students build their muscles, coordination skills, and balance skills. This is also a great way to get some wiggles and energy out!

*This resource is from the OT Toolbox Website, a great resource for Occupational Therapist. I encourage you to explore the site, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at dandroe@dearbornschools.org. I can answer questions, and help you modify tasks to your student!

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Let’s Practice the Pre-Writing Shapes!

The Pre-Writing Shapes are typically mastered in this order:

  • Vertical line
  • Horizontal line
  • Circle
  • Cross
  • Square
  • Diagonal line /
  • Diagonal line \
  • X
  • Triangle

Tips for practicing the pre-writing shapes with correct formation:

  • Always start from the “TOP TOP TOP” (this is a phrase I use with many of my students)
  • Always move from the Left to the Right
  • Add a sound when making strokes to encourage engagement (I use “SHOOP!” with many of my students, as well as “CIRCLE…..STOP!” and “DOWN and ACROSS”)
  • Practicing on a vertical surface helps to develop muscles in the arm needed for better handwriting skills
  • Use small writing utensils – small piece of chalk, broken crayon, small pencil, small marker. Using small writing utensils encourages students to use a developmentally appropriate pencil grasp
  • Remind your students to use their “Helper Hand” to hold their paper still as they write
  • Have fun! It is important that students enjoy these activities or they will grow to dislike all writing activities.

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During stressful times, having a set routine can help to ease anxiety in children, teens, and adults. Below are some helpful resources to help guide you in setting specific routines within your daily routine.

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OT & Play Time!

Play time is important for everyone! Play is the most natural way for students to engage in learning.

Here is a link to a video on the importance building Play into your daily routine https://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Patients-Clients/ChildrenAndYouth/video-play-important-part-of-your-day.aspx

This link is directly from the AOTA, a trusted source. The AOTA or American Occupational Therapy Association is the Professional organization that helps set guidelines for OT services in the United States.

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Practice Writing Letters and Numbers!

Writing letters, numbers, and pre-writing shapes in different textures helps students to engage, learn, and remember what they are practicing! Try these different ideas on a tray, plate, or table.

  • Sand
  • Shaving Cream (add food coloring for extra fun!)
  • Whipped cream (add food coloring for extra fun!)
  • Dish Soap
  • Paint

Need a Less Messy Option?

  • Try putting a small amount of paint and dish soap (or hair conditioner) in a large seal-able plastic bag.
  • Tape over the seam with shipping tape (or duct tape) to prevent the seal from breaking
  • Lay the bag on a flat surface
  • Use your index finger (pointer finger) or a Q-tip to create different shapes, letters, and numbers

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Enjoy A Yoga Adventure with Coco The Butterfly to Welcome Spring!

Cosmic Kids Yoga is a great YouTube channel that introduces Yoga and Mindfulness to children through engaging stories!

Encourage your student to follow along with the story and copy the movements, poses, and breathing exercises demonstrated. This will strengthen your child’s motor planning skills, bilateral coordination skills (using both sides of our body at once), and self-regulation skills.

Here is the link to the Coco The Butterfly Yoga video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT-s1-phgxs

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Ms. Erin’s Backyard Scavenger Hunt

Look for these items in your backyard and check them off as you find them!

For a Word document: https://iblog.dearbornschools.org/ericksonot/wp-content/uploads/sites/2702/2020/03/Backyard-Scavenger-Hunt.docx

For a PDF: https://iblog.dearbornschools.org/ericksonot/wp-content/uploads/sites/2702/2020/03/Backyard-Scavenger-Hunt.pdf

  • To practice handwriting skills, answer the questions by writing in a notebook
  • To practice typing skills, answer the questions by typing on a computer (be sure to use good posture and both hands)
  • To practice holding your head up, moving your head, or reaching and grasping with your arms, work on these skills as your searching for items around the yard

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