Monday, December 25, 2017

Make-your-Own Manipulation Snowman Toys

The possibilities are endless when cutting up plastic containers for seasonal activities. Here are a few easy to make winter snow people. They kind of remind me of  Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head because children may attach whatever accessories parents cut up.... such as a hat, broom, shoes, buttons, scarf.... The accessories may be woven on, screwed on, tied on, buttoned on and even snapped on. The photos demonstrate just a few ideas.

The scissors are rather sharp so an older person will need to do the cutting. After the initial cut, trim the pieces to be smoother. However, I have never been cut from plastic, paper-yes, never plastic. It may be rough but not sharp.

The photos and video demonstrate two types of snow man or snow woman toys... 

1) cut the large and medium sized ball and the separate smaller snowball head with extension to be woven. I have cut several of these to use at work with clients who enjoy repetitive fine motor tasks.
2) cut a stand up snow person out of a large white bottle. Decorate as desired.

Either toy provides practice to manipulate whatever you choose... perhaps buttoning, tying, buckling or screwing the hat back on.

In general, it is easier to remove fasteners than attach. So young children or those with challenges may focus on undressing their snow people, perhaps in preparation for bath time and an older child may dress them back up later.

The close up of the green buttons shows how I punched holes in the green plastic and snowman and attached the "button" with cord. Cut a variety of fabric colors with slits so that that children can change the buttons.

This really does remind me of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head....

The photo above demonstrates a snow person cut out of a large juice bottle before being dressed up. 

I  punched holes in the pink bottle top piece shown below to tie "hair" on. The screw cap holds this in place or can just function as a hat. 

Coloring and erasing with the dry erase marker is great for pre-writing practice, especially for the kiddos who resist holding writing tools. We occupational therapists like to sneak in skill training into fun games.  I also love how this activity lends itself to pretend play.   

The following video demonstrates how I made these toys..... 

Source: Plastic Manipulation Snowman by RecyclingOT on Rumble

For those of you who prefer potatoes to snow people....

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Developing Skills to Screw and Unscrew Bottle Caps

Unscrewing and screwing caps and covers onto containers not only teaches a functional skill, but develops eye-hand coordination.

It is generally easier for young children and older clients with developmental delays to first learn how to open (unscrew) and later learn how to close (screw cap on).

I cut a variety of container or bottle tops from detergent bottles, vitamin jars, dishwasher soap bottles, juice bottles etc. Some clients enjoy matching the covers to the corresponding threaded pieces. You may choose to start out using all the same size covers/caps and threaded pieces to make the task easier and then build in challenge by requiring matching.
In the first video, a young man who is blind and has autism unscrews the pieces and then inserts the  cover into the container hole and then stacks the threaded piece onto the dowel. He enjoys using his advanced matching and sorting skills.

Source: Unscrewing Bottle Caps to Insert or Stack by RecyclingOT on Rumble

After removing the covers, my client inserts them into the corresponding holes in the container. This former kitty litter bucket functions as a shape sorter after he separates the two pieces.  

Source: Matching Lids Sensory Activity by RecyclingOT on Rumble

This man enjoys pulling on the threaded bottle tops that are attached to the book stand with elastic cord. He regularly seeks out sensory stimulation by pulling on objects, including his clothing. He also enjoys using force to unscrew the covers before inserting into them a bucket.

Source: Container Lids Sensory Activity by RecyclingOT on Rumble