MaternalMusing

A Personal Adventure Into Parenthood

Occupational Therapy: Daily Routine July 27, 2015

So I’ve just been throwing up all of these tools, activities and exercises for V’s fine motor development without any real structure as to how we actually do them in our day to day lives. I should be clear that we do not spend hours and hours a day doing these ‘games’ because A) V would be hella bored and B) I have a 10 month old who doesn’t appreciate that much free time. The reason we have so many different games and activities is so that we can switch it up every day without doing the same things for the next year or longer if that’s what V needs.

Realistically we do V’s Occupational Therapy activities 5-7 times a week. If we’re home on the weekend (and during the summer we are usually on the go!) we’ll take time the morning to do his games before we take on the rest of our plans. Every time we do his exercises it takes about 20-35 minutes, depending on V’s choices for the day and is divided up like so:

Category

Activity

Time (in mins)

Scissors

Card-stock Exercise

2

Straw

2

Putty Snake

2

Pre-Writing

Dot-To-Dot/Maze

5

Colouring

5

Pencil Grip/Object Manipulation/Finger Strength

Any 3 activities of V’s Choice (dice, coins, leapfrog, etc)

5

5

5

The Scissors and Pre-writing activities are pretty set, however V can chose the activity book and page he wants to colour. The other activities he’s able to chose from our Occupational Therapy Kit. He gets pretty excited about all the options but definitely has his favourites! The only time I step in is if we’ve done the same activity for 3+ days in a row, so that he’s not just practising one individual set of skills, but is able to apply them across the board!

We do all of his activities in one big chunk of time in the morning because it’s when he’s got the most focused energy (any teacher will tell you all the most important lessons take place before lunch!) and his baby brother is happiest after breakfast! That way we can make other exciting plans for our afternoon and don’t have to worry about trying to come back and ‘finish up’ anything we left out.

A doesn't appreciate me taking 30 mins away from snuggle time to work with his big bro! V decided to join him in a show of solidarity...

A doesn’t appreciate me taking 30 mins away from snuggle time to work with his big bro! V decided to join him in a show of solidarity…

Typically, as a ‘reward’ for concentrating and doing well on his OT games, V and I will play a rousing round of Mario Party 10 on our WiiU. I know that it’s become a huge bone of contention with a lot of people; kids and screen time, however video games are actually a pretty awesome fine motor and hand/eye coordination activity! A round of Mario Party only takes about 30 mins and trust me, V has no idea he’s even practising moving his hands separately. We’ve tried playing actual board games but V has trouble picking up and moving the small pieces. It usually ends in frustration and an incredibly short attention span, so Mario it is!

There you have it: Our daily OT routine! Any feedback is appreciated and I’d love to hear how you spend your Occupational Therapy time!!

 

Occupational Therapy: Activity #1 – Dinosaurs Stuck in the Ooze! July 14, 2015

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This is V’s favourite ‘game’ at the moment so I thought it would be a good place to start! We chose to use purple Playdoh ‘ooze’ and dinosaur erasers from the dollar store but make sure you choose something your child would be excited about if you try this at home! Our occupational therapist says she often uses animals stuck in ‘mud’.

Materials Needed:

Tweezers

Small Objects (erasers, small plastic toys, etc)

Playdoh or Therapy Putty

Stabilizer (large bead, dice, etc)

Our 'Dinosaurs' game! No stabilizer in this picture because we usually just grab one of the dice from another kit.

Our ‘Dinosaurs’ game! No stabilizer in this picture because we usually just grab one of the dice from another kit.

Category:

Pencil Grasp

N.B. – ‘Pencil Grasp’ exercises will help V learn to individually control the separate parts of his hand. When you write you need to use the outer fingers to stabilize your hand and the thumb and inner fingers to grip the pencil and write. V uses his whole hand together as one grasp so he isn’t able to control the pencil to create any real forms.

Directions:

1. Shape the putty or playdoh into a thick, flat blob.

Our purple 'ooze'

Our purple ‘ooze’

2. Stick the small objects into the putty/dough so they are approximately halfway submerged.

Dinosaurs are stuck! Oh no!

Dinosaurs are stuck! Oh no!

3. Help your child get a firm grasp of the stabilizer in their dominant (writing) hand. It should be held in the palm, almost hidden by the pinky and ring fingers. This helps them get used to not using those fingers in their pencil grasp.

Stabilizer (dice) hidden in his palm under the outer two fingers.

Stabilizer (dice) hidden in his palm under the outer two fingers.

4. Help your child get a firm grasp of the tweezers. Thumb on the bottom, two pointer and middle finger on the top. Practice squeezing a few times so they get used to the action.

Tweezer grip! Ready for some dinosaur rescue!

Tweezer grip! Ready for some dinosaur rescue!

5. Have your child ‘rescue’ the objects from the putty by pulling them out with the tweezers. They will need to have a firm grasp and pinch motion to pull them out.

We're going in!

We’re going in!

6. Have your child set each ‘rescued’ object on the table with a firm, purposeful motion. You need to see a controlled release rather than an accidental ‘drop’.

The 'controlled release': I ask V to put all the dinosaurs face up, which seems to help!

The ‘controlled release’: I ask V to put all the dinosaurs face up, which seems to help!

7. Repeat until all the objects are ‘rescued’.

Done! Another successful rescue mission!

Done! Another successful rescue mission!

Notes:

  • Make sure that your child’s grip on the tweezers is correct before each ‘rescue’. V tends to let the tweezers slip into the crevice between his thumb and pointer finger and goes back to using his palm for control rather than the fingers. We ‘reset’ each time.
  • Remind your child that they should only be using their dominant hand to do this exercise. It’s so tempting to add that second hand but it will decrease the effectiveness of the activity!
  • Don’t be afraid to make your child repeat a rescue if they don’t use the correct grip/drop their stabilizer/drop the object on the table. This exercise is to help them build their coordination, grip and strength and doing it incorrectly is not the best use of your time or theirs!
  • Start with a smaller number of objects and slowly work the number up. Again the key is for your child to experience success and when trying something new they can get bored/tired easily!