Tic Tac Drop

13 03 2014

This is a simple, DIY fine motor activity to work on the pincer grasp. Trevor’s school OT sent home a list of activities for us to work on, and I’m going to try and share some of them on the blog. But as anyone who reads this blog knows (if there are any of you still out there, lol), life is busy and this blog takes the backseat to everything else. I always love finding new activities online though so hopefully I’ll do a better job at blogging these ideas :)

What you need:

* 3 larger straws
* Empty Parmesan cheese shaker container (we use this a lot)
* Tape
* Tic Tacs

How to make it:

The only guidance I had on this was “drop Tic Tacs down a straw”. So if you don’t have the above materials on hand I’m sure you could come up with a different way to achieve the same result :). I took three straws, taped them together near the middle with duct tape, and then inserted them into the parmesan cheese shaker lid. Then I screwed the lid back on and set it next to a container filled with 20 Tic Tacs.

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We counted the Tic Tacs as he dropped them in, both to work on counting skills and because it helps distract him a little from the difficulty he has with his pincer grasp. I loved that he was forced to use his pincer grasp with this activity. We’ve dropped other objects down straws or the Parmesan cheese shaker holes before, but they were longer and he could cheat on his grip. There’s no room to cheat using Tic Tacs!

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All Natural Chocolate Slime

21 02 2014

When I saw this new Borax-free slime recipe on Pinterest from Blog Me Mom, I knew I had to try it. Trevor enjoys slime, but I’m not super comfortable letting him play with it. I loved that this recipe used an edible, all natural ingredient as it’s base. But given the fact that he’s sensitive to artificial food dyes, I’ve also been looking for ways to make our sensory activities dye-free as well. The original recipe contained food dye and I wanted to find a substitute for that. Since the kids both loved the hot chocolate cloud dough we made, I figured the perfect way to make this slime recipe all natural was to dye and scent it with cocoa powder!

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To make it, all you need is psyllium fiber (found near the Metamucil), cocoa powder, and water. Combine 1 tablespoon psyllium powder, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, and 1 cup of water in a very large, microwave-safe glass bowl. Cook on high for about five minutes, or until your desired texture is reached (ours took nearly six minutes to cook). It does bubble up a lot, so make sure you keep a close eye on it and stop the microwave before it bubbles over. When it settles back down you just start the microwave back up again. After it’s cooked, stir it well and make sure it cools a little before giving it to your kids, as it’s obviously hot from the microwave. Then let them play away! And know that the ingredients are all natural and safe for them :)

Trevor enjoyed pulling it apart:

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And delivering chocolates from “Hershey, Pennsylvania to Washington state” on his toy train and truck. He loves geography and learning facts about states.

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The reason why I want something all natural and edible for the kids to use in play:

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Paige also had a great time with the slime:

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We had fun pretending to mix up our batch of chocolate together:

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Hot Chocolate Cloud Dough

11 02 2014

We were hit by a big winter storm this past week. We got nearly a foot of snow! That is crazy for where we live, since we usually only get a dusting. We had our fun sledding, hanging out in snow caves and building a snowman, but our family is a little over the snow now. To combat the chilly, frozen outdoors I was inspired to create some Hot Chocolate Cloud Dough for Paige (and later, Trevor) to explore.

Typically with cloud dough you mix 8 parts flour to 1 part oil. For this recipe I started by mixing together 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1/2 cup oil. I decided it needed to be a little more chocolatey, so I added approximately another 1/2 cup cocoa and a few more tablespoons oil. Cloud dough is super forgiving. If it’s too dry you just add more oil, and if it’s too wet you just add more flour!

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Paige enjoyed eating playing with this Hot Chocolate Cloud Dough :)

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And apparently chicken legs go well with cocoa, because she toddled over to her play kitchen and brought back this play food drumstick, haha.

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This cloud dough recipe was actually less messy than your typical flour and oil recipe. Usually the cloud dough gets EVERYWHERE, but even with her walking around the kitchen it didn’t make that big of a mess. The cocoa must absorb oil a little better than the flour does. I may have to look into tweaking our regular cloud dough recipe to help with the mess!

Do your kids enjoy cloud dough?





A Little Fine Motor LOVE

8 02 2014

Yes, I am the worst blogger in the history of the planet ;). What can I say, as much as I love to blog, life is busy! So after a two month hiatus I’m back…maybe.

Since Trevor loved the Winter Toothpick Village we did in December, I wanted to create a similar activity for Valentine’s day. I picked up a pack of heart-shaped toothpicks at the Dollar Tree and wrote the word “love” on a piece of styrofoam I’d saved from a package. Each letter corresponded to a toothpick color so we could work on color matching too. I deliberately set the toothpicks out so that he’d have to cross midline to get the correct color. This is a skill he struggles with.

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Before we started I helped him trace the letters with his finger. Just tracing letters in styrofoam is a great tactile learning activity! Trevor really enjoyed poking the toothpicks in the styrofoam.

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He also decided to let them have a “party” and just went about poking handfuls into the styrofoam in any order. His imagination is really blossoming!

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It looked pretty cool when it was finished too!

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I hope your little ones enjoy this fine motor activity too!





Advent Calendar Activities 6 – 10

10 12 2013

Here are another five fun Christmas activities we’ve enjoyed this year:

Day 6: Decorate a Window Crayon Tree with Foam Shape Ornaments

This is probably my favorite activity we’ve done so far. I drew a Christmas tree with window crayons on the outside of our sliding glass door. I also cut circles, triangles, and squares out of craft foam for Trevor to use as ornaments. I then gave him a spray bottle of water to spray on the image of the tree so that the foam would stick to the glass. He had a lot of fun decorating his tree. Spray bottles are excellent fine motor work too :)

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Day 7: Make Salt Dough Ornaments

We make salt dough ornaments every year, and so of course we had to continue with the tradition. This is the recipe we use. This year Trevor chose to only use the penguin cookie cutter (to make Chinstrap penguins he told me), and the reindeer cookie cutter so that he could make all of Santa’s reindeer. He didn’t want to paint the ornaments once they were baked, but he’s been having fun playing with them plain. The penguins have been looking for the South Pole :)

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Paige enjoyed making the salt dough ornaments too, lol :)

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Day 8: Play With Snowflakes on the Light Table

I picked up a 10 pack of plastic snowflake ornaments at the Dollar Tree and set those out on the light table, along with snowflake gel window clings and a light-up snowman decoration I found on clearance. We made snowflake sandwiches and did snowflake dances.

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Day 9: Play With a North Pole Toothpick Village

I saw some toothpick and styrofoam Christmas activities floating around on Pinterest and put my own spin in it for Trevor. I simply did a quick Google image search for Santa’s workshop clip art, printed some figures out, cut around them, and then laminated them. I then cut the laminated figures out and taped them to the toothpicks. Easy peasy! I had saved a sheet of styrofoam from a package just for an activity like this. Trevor used the styrofoam as snow and had a great time sticking the toothpick figures in it and creating different scenes. I just love how much his imagination has grown! He had such a blast with this activity, I see a lot more toothpick and styrofoam small world play in our future. This too is great at building those fine motor skills.

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Day 10: Make a Christmas Tree Lacing Ornament

I really like a lot of the ornaments they do over at Happy Hooligans and was inspired to create Trevor a lacing tree. I simply cut a triangle out of green construction paper, laminated it, then used my hole punch to punch some holes in it. I cut a strand of red yarn and a strand of white yarn for him to lace with. I made needles for him out of pipe cleaners. He struggled a little with this activity, but stuck with it. I was proud of him for that!

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Advent Calendar Activities 1 – 5

5 12 2013

Last year I set up different Christmas-themed activities for Trevor to do every day in December until Christmas. It was a way to give him some special Mommy-Trevor time after his sister was born. As soon as he saw our advent calendar again this year, as we were unpacking decorations, he told me that he can’t wait to do our “penguin calendar” again this year. I wasn’t really planning on doing the advent calendar this year (hoping to be a little more lazy this year, haha). But with that kind of enthusiasm, there’s no way I could tell him no. So it looks like an activity advent calendar will be a new tradition around here.

I love seeing holiday-themed kids activities online, so I thought I’d begin to share our own take on Christmas fun for kids!

Day 1: We made snow slime! It was inspired by this post over at Growing a Jeweled Rose, although we ultimately used a different slime recipe because we had less glue on hand than the recipe called for. Trevor loved that this slime was cold. He loves any kind of ice or cold-temperature play. It is so great to see how much his imagination has come in a year too!

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Day 2: I found some Christmas learning printables online. Over at 2 Teaching Mommies I found this matching game. I printed, cut, and laminated it. The first time through Trevor found all of the matches himself. The second time through we played together so he could work on turn-taking.

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Day 3: I created a brand new Christmas sensory bin for Trevor. I dyed four cups of rice red, four cups green, and left four cups white. I also added peppermint extract to it all so that it smells wonderful! I added in a few Christmas items that I picked up from the Dollar Tree, as well as items from around the house. Trevor’s been having a great time with it.

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Day 4: I separated out some red and white pony beads into two bowls, and let Trevor choose a pipe cleaner to make a beaded candy cane ornament with. I knew I was pushing him with this activity given his fine motor struggles. I honestly was hoping that he’d just string a couple and not get too upset. Well, despite a lot of “I can’t”s and “It’s too hard”s, he strung 16 beads! I was so proud of him. The candy cane ornament is now hanging on our tree and it is by far my favorite ornament of all!

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Day 5: Today we did a Christmas clothespin number match game. This came from another printable pack from 2 Teaching Mommies. I laminated these cards too. You are supposed to have the child clip the clothespins on the correct number at the bottom of the card, but I knew Trevor’s accuracy with clipping wasn’t quite there. So I wrote the numbers 1 – 10 on ten clothespins. So after he counted he found the clothespin with the right number and just clipped it anywhere on the card. I was really impressed with his patience during this activity! He lost his place counting a few times, but didn’t get upset. He did grumble a bit, but never freaked out (which is huge for him).

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In may be a lot of added work for me, but I love how excited Trevor is every morning seeing what advent calendar activity we’re going to do today. Activity advent calendars really are so much nicer than ones where the kids get to open a cheap toy or junk food. The memories we’re making he’ll have forever! Plus I’m also happy when I get to sneak in some OT practice into our routine :). Do you do an advent calendar?





Turkey Baster Bathtub Play

24 11 2013

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In an effort to improve Trevor’s grip strength and grasp I’ve been trying to add in some fun fine motor activities to our daily play. Lately he’s been having a lot of fun with a turkey baster that I picked up at the Dollar Tree. I thought I’d share three of the fun activities with you:

1) Washing Off Name/Words Written in Foam Soap

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2) Filling Up a Cup

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3) Mixing Colors

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