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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Small writing Easel

I have been thinking about a variety of ways to create vertical writing surfaces. This adaptation works well with small children perhaps preschool or kindergarten age. I simply cut the openings in the side of a very large detergent bottle and wedged the notebook inside. I love how the pages have the lines positioned vertically so that children can fit shapes or letters between the lines. I also made stencils out of manila folders, punched holes and attached inside the binder. Then the child can color inside the stencil and the shape will appear on the sheet below it. The child will have to use the non-dominant hand to stabilize the notebook and paper and that's a great way to work on those stabilization skills. At the same time, the very young child who is not yet able to color inside outlines can create drawings using the stencils that are all held in place inside the binder.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Some Relaxing Repetitions with Munchy Balls

I have been using munchy balls for many years during therapy. I first saw one made out of a tennis ball with a face drawn on it. I called my own version "Hungry Harry" and asked my pediatric clients to squeeze the ball so that the mouth slot opened wide enough to feed him little plastic bugs.
I have recently begun using the Munchy Ball made by Therapy fun Zone and I love it.
It glows a pretty green shade and feels great inside the palm. It is easier to open the mouth on the vinyl ball than on the tennis ball so children will be less frustrated as they work on strengthening their hands by squeezing and feeding the Munchy ball. This is a great way to develop bilateral hand use with children and actually adults, too who have developmental disabilities and fine-motor delays.
As long as the person doesn't put small objects in his or her mouth, use the Munchy ball to feed  not only bugs but insert other small manipulatives. I asked one client to pull small clothespins from a box to insert into the ball-so he needed to sequence the 2 motor tasks.
 The client shown in this photo has an obsessive compulsive disorder and he finds that inserting pennies into the container decreases anxiety. He not only  learned quickly how to insert the pennies into the ball instead, he enjoys spending time using the ball as a fidget tool, squeezing it in one hand while using his other hand for other tasks such as pegboards and puzzles.
I like how the Therapy fun Zone Munchy balls  can be purchased in variety of ways to match your budget and therapy needs:
If you go to the therapy Fun Zone blog you can read up on other ways to use  either a home made or purchased Munchy ball to develop a variety of cognitive and motor skills... 


Monday, July 7, 2014

Vibrating Ring Stack to Teach Stabilization

Staff often don't like this activity because the clients have difficulty keeping it upright. But I designed this ring stack to fall over unless the user is stabilizing it, preferably by grasping the handle.

I wedged the tube inside the bottle, taped in place. The electric toothbrush from the dollar store seems to be working OK. I usually use the children's toothbrushes from department or drug stores and they cost more- around 4-5 dollars. I just pushed the toothbrush end into the tube so that the entire activity vibrates. The vibration serves 2 purposes:
1) it makes everything more fun, motivating the clients to engage, visually attend and persist and
2) the bottle is extra wiggly and unstable so that the user is more aware that she needs to stabilize it in order to get the rings on.

I cut the rings out of container lids. Some have large holes to make it easy and some have smaller holes to add challenge.
If you enjoy this activity, please check out my digital book for many more activities that you can make ......