Bedtime Routines

At the beginning of the year there was a post regarding morning routines and getting ready for school. Picture schedules were discussed due to their ability to help children understand expectations, follow directions, and foster independence. Getting ready for bed can also be challenging for preschoolers and parents. Attached are some samples of bedtime routines from http://www.bettefetter.com. They can can be changed around to fit your family’s routine or feel free to make your own!

http://www.bettefetter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Bedtime-charts.pdf

 

 

Fun Outdoor OT Activities

Fun Outdoor OT Activities

 

Now that spring is around the corner, it’s time to enjoy the beautiful weather and get outside!  There are many activities you can do outside that will be not only fun but also helpful to your child’s development.  Below is a list of some outdoor activity suggestions and their many benefits!

 

 

  • Break out the Sidewalk chalk
  • Practice drawing pictures, lines, shapes or letters.  Use a spray bottle filled with water to spritz-away and start over

 

Developmental benefits: fine motor, prewriting skills, sensori motor development, midline crossing

 

  1. Go on a Nature Walk!

collect leaves, branches, small rocks to make a collage

Developmental benefits: fine motor, sensory processing, bilateral coordination and visual perceptual motor skill development

 

  1. Wash the Car!

break out the soap, sponges and hoses

Developmental benefits: upper body/wrist/hand strengthening, midline crossing, bilateral coordination, sensory processing skill development

 

  1. Go to the Beach & Play in the Sand!

draw lines & shapes in the sand with fingers; build sand castles

Developmental benefits: visual motor integration, visual perception, hand strengthening, bilateral coordination, midline crossing and sensory processing

 

  1. Paint with Water!

 

  • use large brushes, or small sponge pieces to paint with and use the side of the house, a fence or sidewalk as your “canvas”

 

Developmental benefits: hand and wrist strengthening, grasp development, proximal stability, visual motor integration and midline crossing  

 

  1. Dig For Treasures!

using small kitchen tongs or strawberry hullers, pick up small toys or “treasures” hiding in the sandbox

Developmental benefits:  grasp development, hand strengthening, bilateral coordination, eye hand coordination, visual motor control

 

Spring is almost here!

Since spring will officially start in a few weeks and everyone will hopefully be outside more, there are some great language based activities that can be done outside as well as inside on those rainy days. Here are a list of some general ideas that you can adapt depending on weather and materials you have in your home.

  • Start discussing new vocabulary such as flowers, bugs, rain/raindrops, grass, bunnies, birds and concepts such as growing and weather
  • Using eggs for an egg hunt either outside or inside to work on the prepositions on, in, under, behind, etc. receptively (tell them where the eggs are) or expressively (“Where is the egg?”)
  • Talk about planting flowers/plants- different parts of the flowers
    • Sequencing the steps- planting seeds, watering seeds, growing, and full grown plant using first, next, last
  • Read books that talk about spring:
    • Planting a Rainbow- Lois Ehlert
    • The Tiny Seed – Eric Carle
    • And Then it’s Spring – Julie Fogliano
    • The Ugly Vegetables- Grace Lin
    • My Garden- Kevin Henkes
    • My Spring Robin- Anne Rockwell, Harlow Rockwell, and Lizzy Rockwell
    • Spring is Here- Will Hillenbrand

Stuffed Animal Gross Motor Activities

 

Image result for stuffed animal images

As a mother, I know my children many stuffed animals most of which sit on the bottom of the bed never being used.  Well, here are some ways to utilize those furry little animals to get your child moving while having fun!  

 

  • Animal Walking- gather a variety of different animals i.e. frog, bear, bunny, etc. and have your child walk like each one.  As this becomes easy for your child increase the challenge by placing obstacles in their path to move over, under, around, etc.
  • Animal Toss- use stuffed animals of various sizes and shapes to toss into a container such as an empty laundry basket.  Increase the challenge by increasing the distance, having the child balance on a cushion or pillow while tossing, stand on one foot and throw, etc.
  • Animal Musical Chairs- have the children hold stuffed animals while playing musical chairs.  When the music stops instead of having the children sit have them place their animal on the chair.  Vary the movement i.e. running, skipping, jumping, bear walking, etc.
  • Parachute Play- use a bed sheet as a parachute.  Place a stuffed animal(s) in the center of the sheet and lift the sheet up and down, giving the animal(s) a ride.  Also try Ring Around the Rosy.  The children can walk, run, skip, jump, etc.
  • Flying Animals- have your child lay on their back and squeeze a stuffed animal between their ankles.  Have the child lift their legs while keeping the animal between their ankles and make their animal “fly”.  This is a great core strengthening activity.

 

Encourage your child to have fun playing with their stuffed animals while you are sneaking in some physical activity!  

Snow Day Language Activities

Some winters have more snow days than others.  If you’re looking for something to do, here are some language-based ideas to keep your little ones busy and hopefully entertained!

  • Build a snowman: this can incorporate many different language concepts such as body parts, size concepts (i.e. big, medium, small), comparatives (bigger, smaller), location concepts (i.e. top, bottom, middle) as well as clothing vocabulary

 

  • Baking: baking in the kitchen is a great way to work on following directions

 

  • Indoor Scavenger Hunt: create a list of things for your child to find.  This could incorporate size concepts (i.e. find something small), colors, household vocabulary, etc.  Turn out the lights and use a flashlight for even more fun

 

  • Have a playdate- playing with a peer is a great way to foster social skills

 

  • Read books together: take a picture walk and talk about the pictures, ask questions about the story and how the characters might be feeling, make predictions about what might happen next

 

  • Make homemade Play Dough: involves following directions to make it, playing with the play dough can work on language related to sharing materials and commenting (i.e. look, I made a _____)

Homemade Fine Motor Fun

Store bought toys can be lots of fun but don’t underestimate the fun you and your little one can have with items you already have in your home.  Below is a list of household items and easy activities that can be used both for fun & fine motor skill building!

 

Materials

  • Toothpicks

– Build shapes and towers with toothpicks using mini marshmallows

-Turn over a colander and feed the toothpicks into the small holes

 

 

  • Cheerios/fruit loops

 

-Use cereal as your “beads” to practice bead stringing.  Use pipe cleaners, string or coffee stirrers to string the cereal onto

 

 

  • Uncooked pasta

 

-Use ziti or penne as “beads” to practice stringing

-Use smaller pasta such as elbow macaroni  to glue on to pictures or outlines to make a textured mosaic

-Glue macaroni onto large letter or shape outlines to practice letters and shape recognition while developing fine motor skills

 

 

  • Dried beans or rice

 

-Place dried rice or beans on a tray or shallow container.  Hide small toys or buttons and have your child try to find them with their finger tips or use small tongs or strawberry hullers to pull them out

 

 

  • Shaving cream or whipped cream

 

-Enjoy some sensory play time…..place shaving cream or whipped cream on a tray.  Practice “drawing” line strokes, shapes or letters in the cream, with your fingertips.

 

  • Sponges

 

-Cut sponge into small, 1/2” squares.  Use 2 small bowls, one with water and one empty.  Challenge your child to dip the sponge squares into the the water, then squeeze them out (using finger tips) into the empty bowl.  Coloring the water with foodcoloring may make it more fun!

-Use small sponge squares to sponge paint a picture.  

 

 

  • Flour, salt, oil, foodcoloring, cream of tartar

 

-Make playdough!  Follow this link from tinkerlab.com for a great homemade playdough recipe.  

http://tinkerlab.com/rainbow-play-dough/

Both the process of making the playdough and playing with the playdoh will be great for hand strengthening.