Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cardboard Box Bowling Alley with Motorized Cylinder to Push

In my last blog post I shared the table-top bowling alley I made using a small wedge and cardboard box. It was so popular that staff wanted their own for their programs. I knew that I wanted to try making one out of only a large cardboard box , but I didn't expect it to be so easy and fast to make... I cut along the edges so that one side of the box can be pushed into the box at an angle as shown in the picture. You can now make the bowling alley any size or angle you choose as you look for boxes.  I secured in place with some contact paper, but it really doesn't look great yet. Individuals at work will be decorating this one.  Also shown is an electric toothbrush inside a tennis ball container. I put a little bit of foam at the end where the toothbrush is vibrating to soften the sound. But the container has a nice gentle vibration that makes pushing it down the bowling alley fun. You can fill these up with ping balls to shake and then roll down the "alley"...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Table Bowling

If you have a small wedge around your school o r facility consider using it as a bowling alley. I found a box that it fit inside of and can always take the wedge out to use for positioning.
Just add a little Velcro to attach the balls so that children or adults with developmental disabilities can simply give it a push. I like using this in a group because each person can take a turn going 2-3 times and then watch someone else take a turn.  It worked really well when I asked a lady with hemiplegia to take turns pushing with right and then left. She usually refuses to use the spastic arm, but she didn't seem to mind when I kept moving the bowling alley so that she alternated which arm she used.
I used 2 balls that each made fun sounds when rolled.


video

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fun Activities to Promote Using the Weaker Hand

My client is able to stabilize with his left hand but avoids doing so. He has a nice comfortable arm rest that he also avoids as he positions his arm close to his body  wedged below it. Today I was successful in introducing 3 activities that he enjoyed and did quite well stabilizing with left side.
 I made this vibrating ring stack by wedging the swim noodle inside a hole in a box. I pushed a small motor from a cheap electric tooth brush I found on Ebay inside so that it vibrates. The rings are cut from coffee can lids.
videoUnfortunately, I held the camera at a funny angle, and the blog does not accept a rotated picture.
This 2nd vibrating ring stack is made by using a small, very clean, brand new plunger with a round massager attached below it. It vibrates when the person pushes the rings (swimming noodle sections)  onto it. Again he enjoyed the vibration. He has very good range and motor control in his right hand and I positioned his left hand to grasp the plunger near the bottom. 
video
 Finally, realizing that this gentleman enjoys vibration, I set him up with a cushion that vibrates when pushed. I positioned his arm on top of it so that he could enjoy the benefits of having his arm raised (to reduce edema) while using his hands together. He has also been doing great at self-range-of motion. but these activities provide another opportunity to raise the involved upper extremity and train him to use it to stabilize materials. .
 


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine Activities to develop Fine-Motor Skills



If you have some red detergent or dish washer bottles around- give them a rinse in a hot tub, scrape off the labels and give these activities a try...

Cut extra large holes into a heart shape for an easy to use lacing board. This is perfect for young children who do not have the motor control to use small lacing boards with many tiny holes. I tied the strip of fabric to one hole and wrapped duct tape to make the lacing end easier to grasp.

My stencil is designed for someone who has spasticity or decreased control in one hand , but adequate control to color with the other hand. Cut any shape to match the theme and you have an easy to use stencil.






Finally, I share the small hearts that have 2 notches so that they can be woven onto a long plastic strand. You have the option of one notch or two depending on the skill level of the user .  I cut the long flat plastic cord from a large white bottle.

This weaving activity is a bit time consuming to make, so you may want to consider purchasing my "Weavable Toys". They are not heart shaped, but they have perfectly spaced notches for weaving and designing as children develop finger dexterity.

 If you already bought a "Weavable toys" - consider cutting a few heart shapes to add to the set. Hopefully, in the future, I will have a greater variety of shapes manufactured-including hearts. 


video

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Motivational Activities Using Everyday Materials for Children with Special Needs Seminar

It was great fun sharing my many inexpensive/therapeutic materials with a focus on meeting the sensory needs of children of all ages.

My participants were motivated to learn how to make "yarn" out of plastic bags- a fun motor planning activity for older students.....

Finding "just right" challenges and making activities fun is the key to engagement, motivation and success. Please join me at one of my seminars with PESI in CT and NC.
http://www.barbarasmithoccupationaltherapist.com/workshops.html














Wednesday, February 5, 2014

PUshing Sensory Balls into Box Opening

 
 
I have been collecting various types of squeeze tactile balls over the years. I gathered up my collection and brought it to work one day and it was perfect to use with a blind individual who enjoyed deep pressure sensory input. He had very distinct preferences and told me to remove the ball that felt like a glove filled with water when squeezed. I provided a box with an opening small enough to require pushing with both hands but large enough to be easy to use. He loved !!!
The photo shows the box open with the lid on the right hand side. I am planning to fill some small socks with various fillers such as dried  rice, beans, pasta,  marbles so that he can feel and guess the contents before inserting inside.