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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Motor Planning to remove shapes from long flat strips

I love this activity because it develops many skills and can be used in different ways according to the child or adults abilities. I cut the long white strip from a large bleach bottle by cutting in a spiral direction and then cutting again to even it out and make smooth. The shapes can vary in size and have 1 or 2 notches.  They are inserted onto the plastic strip in much the same way as one would string beads. But the flat shapes are easier to grasp and manipulate and do not roll away. The notches can be extra large if you need to make this easier. The notches can also be small and snug so that the person has to use force to pull them off- nice proprioceptive sensory stimulation....Very young children or older individuals with developmental delays can simply remove the shapes to insert into a container with a slotted lid. This works on skills to use the hands together and develops eye-hand coordination needed to insert the shapes into the slot. It also works on motor planning since as you can see in the video it can be challenging to plan how to move the shape closest to the end where it will be removed. Attaching the shapes that have 2 notches is a bit like weaving, only easier because there are only 2 notches to weave through. Some individuals will be able to create a color or shape pattern as they weave the shapes in a sequence. One woman who has higher level skills enjoyed weaving them on so that a gentleman sitting next to her could pull them off to insert into a container.  She enjoys having the helper role, so this worked well for her. The gentleman loves to insert pennies into a bottle slot and does that every day. This new activity is similar and familiar enough to give him comfort but it is more cognitively challenging, more interesting since he has to sequence removing each shape before inserting them. this is a perfect example of creating slight variation to a familiar task.   
You can also see how removing shapes from my "Weavable Toys" shapes worked on similar skills.
This is also a great activity to promote upper extremity reaching and exercise for people who spend a lot of time sitting.  

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