unlocking kids’ pOTential

Ms. Sam, OT - Dearborn Public Schools

Movement Monday – Hole in One!

Happy last week of school! For our last Movement Monday post, check out the video below ⬇️ for a simple, fun multi-functional activity. You can use any size ball, but be sure to cut an appropriate size circle. If you don’t have a box similar to the one in the video, a shoe box lid could also work (just use a smaller sized ball to accommodate 😊 ). This activity works on bilateral coordination skills when stabilizing the “tray” and moving it around; visual perceptual skills as they watch the ball and try to move it into the target; upper extremity strengthening as they hold the box; and motor planning as they plan the types of movements they need to make in order to get the ball into the target.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact me anytime!

Video found on Pinterest @ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/154740937186652736/sent/?invite_code=fd63862816af4cf4919f73a1f84469d9&sender=211810126133201693&sfo=1

Fine Motor Friday – Ms. Emily’s Outdoor Leaf Activities

Ms. Emily is a wonderful OT on our team who created these fun outdoor fine motor activities! Pulling small leaves from a stem works on so many skills, including bilateral coordination (using two hands together), finger and hand strengthening, and promotion of pincer grasp (thumb and pointer finger). 🌿 🤏🏼

Another activity you can do is “Peeling Helicopter Leaves to Get the Seed Out!” Check out the video below! This activity is more challenging and also works on bilateral coordination, fine motor coordination, finger and hand strengthening, and promotion of pincer/tripod grasp.

She also had a creative idea on how to use the leaves and seeds after they are all pulled off or pinched out: “Use the leaves/seeds to create shape outlines, or draw a shape, letter, or number in chalk and have your student place the leaves along the lines to work on visual perceptual skills.”

Check out her blog for more fun and creative ideas ➡️ https://iblog.dearbornschools.org/dandroe/

Movement Monday – Gross Motor Hopscotch!

Hopscotch is a great way to engage kids in movement, and is even more fun when you put a little twist to it! Check out the images below for some inspiration on how you can make hopscotch challenge those gross motor skills, and improve sequencing skills and following directions. This activity also provides multi-sensory input, including vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (body awareness) input.

Fine Motor Friday – Cutting Rollie’s Hair!

With all of our hair growing and not having access to our favorite hairdressers, why not engage in cutting Rollie’s hair? 😄 Have any empty toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls? This everyday household item can be made into a simple and creative cutting activity!

Draw a face and cut lines around the roll from the top to the middle to create “hair” as seen in the photo below ⬇️ Once the activity is setup, have your child grasp scissors and safely cut Rollie’s “hair”. They will need to use their helper hand to stabilize and rotate the roll while using their dominant hand to cut (working on their bilateral coordination skills). Video demonstration below 😊 Also check out this document ➡️ “Cutting Strategies” that provides strategies to improve grasp and manipulation of scissors.

To add a challenge: instead of cutting the lines to create the hair…draw lines all around the roll from the top to the middle using a marker, and have your child cut along those lines to create the hair before “cutting the hair.”

Movement Monday – Bear Walks

Try the “bear walk,” a simple movement exercise that is great for body awareness, stretching, proprioceptive (body awareness) and vestibular (movement) input, improving balance skills, increasing shoulder and arm stability, and increasing sensory regulation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

Fine Motor Friday – Pinch the Whisk!

Happy Friday! 🕺🏾 Today’s fine motor Friday activity is super simple with only 2 materials needed – whisk and cotton balls. You can also use the small craft “pom poms” found at the Dollar Store! This activity works on promoting the use of those pincers 🤏🏾 and the use of a tripod grasp (functional grasp for handwriting, drawing, coloring, etc.). It also works on bilateral coordination skills when holding the whisk in his or her non-dominant hand and pinching the cotton balls with the dominant hand.

Stuff the whisk with as many cotton balls (or craft pom poms) as you’d like. Make it a game by asking your child to pinch them out as fast as he or she can – get that timer ready! Do this activity a few times and see if your child can beat his or her time! Watch the video below ⬇️ for a quick demonstration. Please send me a photo or video of your child engaging in the activity 😊

Materials needed: whisk & cotton balls

*A little OT tip to promote the use of a tripod grasp is to have your child hold a cotton ball, mini toy, or other “motivating” item between his or her ring, pinky finger, and palm (as shown in image 2 below). This trick places those last two fingers out of the way so they are less inclined to grasp a writing tool with all fingers.

OT tip to promote use of tripod grasp!

Movement Monday – Simon Says!

Simon Says is such a simple and fun game to play with children. They have to use their visual and verbal attention to know which move to make next, or not! When the adult is demonstrating the move, they are working on their body awareness and imitation skills. The activity can also work on mid-line crossing and provide touch (tactile) and movement (vestibular) input. This activity can be adapted to your child. To be easy, you can always say the phrase “Simon says…” or challenge them by not saying it to see if they are paying attention!

Some simple phrases – “Simon says…”

  • jump
  • touch your head (with two hands)
  • touch your shoulders (with two hands)
  • rub your belly
  • clap
  • touch your knees
  • touch your toes
  • spin

Some challenging phrases – “Simon says…

  • criss cross your arms
  • give yourself a hug
  • rub your belly and pat your head
  • spin and squat
  • jump and clap
  • touch your right hand to your left knee and left hand to your right knee
  • touch your right hand to your left foot and your left hand to your right foot

Fine Motor Friday – Finger Twister

Happy Friday! Finger Twister is a fun little twist on the original Twister™ to work on those small, precise muscle movements in our hands and fingers (manual dexterity). This activity works on finger isolation, body awareness, motor planning, following directions, and color recognition.

I made this at home using paper, index cards, markers, and 2 paperclips. Watch the video below ⬇️ to see how I used one paper clip to hold the other one in order to create the home-made spinner, and a quick demo of how the game is played!

*Added bonus! — Trace the circles/squares of the game board with the appropriate color and have your child color them in! This works on visual perceptual and fine motor skills – paying attention to the boundary while coloring and independently matching which color goes in which circle.

*Handwriting bonus! — If your child is able to write, have them write in the names of the fingers and the title of the game. If your child is still learning how to write, write the words using a light highlighter and have your child trace over the words with marker, pen, or pencil or provide hand over hand guidance!

Please share a photo or video, I’d love to see those fingers working. Hope you have a great weekend 😊

Movement Monday!

Hello everyone! “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” is such a simple and fun song to teach our kids their body parts. Knowing their body parts is so important in order for them to be able to take care of themselves, and also communicate with us if they are in pain or need help. This song also helps with body awareness, imitation of movement, visual attention, and sequencing. This activity provides tactile (touch) input, and moving from head and bending down to touch their knees and toes also provides vestibular (movement) input. While watching the video, be sure to engage with your chid and follow the movements – when you do it, they will be more encouraged to imitate you! I’d love to see your student engaging in this quick activity – please share through email or text 😊

Fine Motor Friday!

Happy Friday, it’s such a beautiful day today! In honor of the first day of May, how about engaging in a fine motor activity while also enjoying some fresh air and getting some vitamin D? ☀️ Using chalk on the sidewalk or driveway is such a fun and easy way to engage students in writing, drawing, and coloring! Work on imitating pre-writing strokes, drawing images, coloring, or use your imagination and create some art!

Use a smaller piece of chalk to encourage those 3 little fingers (thumb, index, and middle fingers) to pinch and grasp using the tripod grasp. Work on midline-crossing by creating beautiful rainbows. Midline crossing is an important skill to develop the use of both sides of the body working together to create an outcome (bilateral hand skills). Activities that have a child cross their “midline,” from one side of their body to the other helps promote the coordination and communication of both sides of the brain, which is important for writing, cutting, dressing, cooking, and so much more!

If you don’t have chalk at home, click the following link https://www.makeandtakes.com/sidewalk-chalk-paint to follow directions and make homemade chalk paint at home! It’s a few ingredients including cornstarch, water, and food coloring (optional). It starts off wet, but dries just like chalk.

I would love to see your chalk creations, please share them by email or text! I hope you all have a great weekend!

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