A Week of Dr. Seuss: Cat in the Hat Magnetic Color Match

Magnets are a great way to work on fine motor skills.  They offer some resistance, but aren’t too difficult to manipulate.  You can work on building hand strength, but not frustrate your child.  This activity also works on bilateral coordination as using 2 hands is the best way to put the magnets on the hat.

What You Need:

  • Cat in the Hat hat template (I found mine here)
  • Craft sticks
  • Construction paper
  • Red and white paint
  • Red crayon or marker
  • Magnets

How to Make it:

  1. Print out your Cat in the Hat template.
  2. Using a red crayon or marker, color the stripes on the hat.
  3. Cut out the hat and glue it onto a different colored piece of construction paper.
  4. Paint your craft sticks with red and white paint, one for each stripe on the hat (if you’re using the same template I did you’ll need 3 red sticks and 3 white sticks).
  5. After the craft sticks have dried, attach magnets to the back of them.
  6. Hang the hat on your fridge (or other magnetic surface).
  7. Have your child match the colored craft sticks to the stripes on the hat (this is a great introduction to patterns as well).

The colored hat hung on the fridge:

Painted craft sticks:

Magnets on the back of the craft sticks:

Craft sticks matched to their colored stripes:

Trevor matching a white craft stick to a white stripe:

Matching a red stick to a red stripe:

It looks like he’s grimacing, but really he’s smiling and proud of himself:

A Week of Dr. Seuss: Cat in the Hat Toss

I adapted this activity from an idea I saw on Seussville.  The Seussville activity has kids make their own Cat in the Hat hats out of paper bags, and use them as a container for a hat toss.  I decided instead to make a hat out of an old oatmeal container for Trevor.  I figured it would be easier for him to use a stiff container, as opposed to a flimsy bag for a hat toss.

What You Need:

  • Oatmeal container (or other cylindrical container)
  • Red and white construction paper
  • White paper plate
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors

How to Make it:

  1. Glue white construction paper to the outside of the oatmeal container.
  2. Cut strips out of the red construction paper, then glue red strips onto the container to create a striped hat.
  3. Cut the middle of a white paper plate out, then glue and/or tape it to the rim of the container to create the brim of the hat.

Trevor thought this activity was pretty neat.  He loved the hat I made for it.

He decided to carry it around for awhile:

Ready to start the Cat in the Hat Toss:

His motor delays make throwing difficult, so for him this was more of a Cat in the Hat drop, not toss:

Even though he couldn’t throw, he enjoyed dropping and watching the balloons fall:

I decided to up the ante on his dropping skills.  Since we’re working on stairs with him I put the container next to the stairs and helped him climb and then drop:

Helping him climb and drop.  He thought that was really cool:

You can use small balls or beanbags for this Cat in the Hat toss.  I made some homemade balloon balls by putting Moon Dough into balloons.  They’re squishy, yet solid.  It was a nice sensory addition to this activity.

A Week of Dr. Seuss: Cat in the Hat Matching Game

Trevor’s really into matching lately, so I decided to create a Cat in the Hat matching game for him.  He loved it!

What You Need:

  • Cat in the Hat clip art
  • Notecards
  • Glue Stick
  • Contact Paper
  • Scissors

How to Make it:

  1. Find Cat in the Hat themed clip art online (I just googled “free Cat in the Hat clip art”) and paste into a document.
  2. Print out 2 copies of the clip art.
  3. Cut out images.
  4. Glue on notecards.
  5. Cover notecards with contact paper.
  6. Play your matching game.

Our Cat in the Hat Matching Game:

Finding his first match:

Smiling after finishing all his matches:

A Week of Dr. Seuss: Coloring The Cat in the Hat

Trevor loves his books.  Dr. Seuss is one of his favorite authors, and since his birthday is next Friday I thought it would be fun to have a week of Dr. Seuss!  At first I was going to focus on a different book every day, but we have so much going on that that just isn’t possible.  Instead we’ll focus on fun Cat in the Hat projects for a week.

Today we started small and Trevor colored  a Cat in the Hat coloring page.  You can find free printable coloring pages here.

Trevor's Masterpiece

Stay tuned for more fun with the Cat in the Hat.

Trevor’s Inchstones

Today I want to celebrate some of the progress Trevor is making.  Parents of neurotypical kids measure their child’s progress in milestones, but us SN mamas like to measure our children’s successes in inchstones.  Trevor may develop a little more slowly than most kids, but the important thing is that he is progressing.  And if there is one benefit to developmental delays, it’s that while there may be more sorrow, there is also more joy.  Every little step is celebrated because you know how hard your child (and you!) worked to get there.

  1. Spoon Feeding!  Trevor recently started feeding himself with a spoon.  He can only do it with his stronger hand (his left), and half the time the spoon ends up upside down or sideways, but it’s progress.  He is getting the spoon from the bowl to his mouth all by himself!  Since he still doesn’t have a ton of coordination with this movement he’s only able to eat thick liquids like Greek Yogurt, but I am so proud of this new accomplishment.  He thinks he’s pretty cool too 🙂
  2. Wearing Headphones!  Trevor has auditory defensiveness, meaning some sounds actually hurt him when he hears them.  Recently he started willingly wearing his noise-cancelling headphones when there are noises around him that hurt.  This is actually 3 inchstones in one: actually wearing the headphones without getting upset, recognizing that the headphones do help him, and requesting them verbally (yay for functional language!).  Hopefully this willingness to wear headphones translates to being okay with the headphones he’ll have to wear when we start Listening Therapy.  And he looks pretty darn cute in them too 😉
  3. Matching Skill-Master!  This one is just a shameless mommy brag.  Trevor is really into books and he has the most amazing memory.  He doesn’t seem to forget anything.  Yesterday he was “reading” his Cars puzzle book and he was insistent on going downstairs to get his Cars button book.  I didn’t understand why he NEEDED it so badly, but I went and got it for him.  Well he started pushing the buttons on one book that matched the pictures underneath the puzzle pieces in the other.  I love seeing the way his little mind works!

Soapbox

I haven’t blogged in nearly a week, as Trevor (and consequently I) haven’t been getting much sleep.  I planned on writing a new Make-It Monday post today, but I think instead I’d like to step up onto my soapbox today.  I belong to an online support group for kids with delays and someone commented on a post today about sensory issues and if OT for sensory issues is really necessary.  This person questioned whether or not a sensory diet was just a “crutch” and maybe we should just force these kids to deal with their sensory issues on their own.  As a mom of a kid with SPD I can tell you without a doubt that SPD is real, and it sucks.  There are noises that physically bring Trevor pain.  Some lights and other sensations also bring him physical pain.  He also has a need (yes, NEED) at times to chew, so we offer him a Chewy Tube.  Maybe the Chewy Tubes, noise-cancelling headphones, heavy work, strict adherence to his routines, etc. are all crutches of a sort.  But my question is, what’s wrong with that?

Trevor is also globally delayed.  At one time he needed to use a walker to help him walk.  Eventually he got strong enough and learned to walk independently.  But would you look at a child using a walker and tell them to toughen up and just walk on their own?  No, you wouldn’t.  These sensory “crutches” are no different than allowing a motor-delayed child to use a walker or a speech-delayed child to use a communication device.  Hopefully one day Trevor won’t need these extra things.  Obviously my greatest hope is that, like with the walker, he becomes strong enough to one day not need these assists.

But even if it turns out that he always needs a little extra support with sensory issues, I will never deny him what he NEEDS simply because sensory issues are misunderstood and not as obvious as not being able to walk or talk.  As a mother my job is to make sure my child is happy, safe, and loved.  If when he’s in school he needs to sit in a special chair or needs “sensory breaks” so that he can focus properly, then so be it.  I want him to be the best Trevor he can be.  And if that means providing him with a “crutch” so that he is able to “walk” through this world that is filled with sensory experiences he finds uncomfortable and distressing, then that is what I will do.

Whew…I think I’ll step down off my soapbox now and take a nap.  Because I’m really, really tired.

Oh, and why am I tired?  Because my son has issues regulating his sensory system and has been having a hard time winding down.  He’s exhausted, but he CAN’T (not won’t) settle down and sleep.  Now that I’ve refocused on some of his sensory needs at night he is taking less time to fall asleep.  So again I say, SPD is real.  And SPD can be helped with a sensory diet.

Take that, haters.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I never used to like Valentine’s Day that well.  It always felt a little forced and commercial to me.  But now that Trevor’s here I love every holiday.  Holidays are an excuse to go over-the-top and just have fun.  Today we took the heart theme to the extreme and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.  I say almost because Trevor is Trevor and he did have the usual sensory meltdowns.  But still, today was a blast!

I made whole wheat banana chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.  They were delicious.  Head on over to Skinny Taste if you want the recipe.

Then I took the fuzzy hearts out of our Valentine’s Day sensory bin and made a trail leading upstairs to Trevor’s Valentine’s Day present.

He had a great time picking up hearts and of course loved finding a present at the end.

His favorite gift was a Berenstain Bears Valentine’s book.  He just loves his books!

Next we ripped up some of the tissue paper from his present and made a craft project.

After that we went back downstairs and made a mess heart-shaped Crazy Cake.  Trevor liked helping dump some of the ingredients into the pan, but I think his favorite part of baking is licking the spoon.  Smart kid! 😉

While the cake was baking we ate lunch (berries, heart-shaped cucumbers, and heart-shaped quesadilla bites)

After lunch he had an OT appointment.  They worked on drawing, doing some hand-over-hand tracing of circles and lines.  His OT has these neat circle cut-outs that she uses to help teach kids how to draw circles.  I’m going to have to add making one of them to my to-do list.  They also did some hand-over-hand cutting.  Then Trev went to town with some stickers!  He loves stickers 🙂

Trevor had a hard time going down for his nap, but once he did I frosted the crazy cake.  It’s not the most beautiful heart-shaped cake in the world, but it still tasted great!   As you can see by the two-handed cake shoveling Trevor loved it 🙂

Trevor had a pretty rough afternoon so we just read some books and tried to keep things low-key.  He was pretty happy during bathtime though.

Hope everyone had a happy Valentine’s Day!

And here’s one more cute shot of him showing off his Valentine’s day shirt, along with the custom conversation heart I made just for him (showing a little orthotics love, lol):

Make-It Monday: Hand Stamped Valentines

On Friday Trevor got to exchange Valentines with the classmates in his Language Group.  Instead of going out and buying pre-made Valentines, I decided it would be fun (and much more special) if we made them ourselves.  So we created these hand stamped Valentines.

What you need:

  • red paint
  • blank cards
  • toilet paper roll
  • tape

How to make it:

  1. Fold the toilet paper roll in half lengthwise to create 2 creases.
  2. Push one of the creases back into the middle of the toilet paper roll to create a heart shape.
  3. Secure heart stamp with a piece of tape at each end.
  4. Dip the heart stamp into the red paint, then stamp onto the front of the blank cards.
  5. Let dry, then write a special message inside.
  6. Share your hand-stamped Valentines!

We did a practice run on a piece of paper, and I highly suggest you do that.  Trevor doesn’t have the fine motor control to create a full heart shape without a little help.   That big red blob in the corner of the paper is his attempt.  The ones that look like hearts I helped him with, hand over hand.  If your little one is older and/or has good fine motor control you can skip the practice run if you want.

Me and Trev stamping the Valentines together:

The finished product:

Our inside messages, complete with Trevor’s “signature”:

I cut a small rectangle out of a piece of cardboard and let Trevor scribble, so that his “signature” was contained to the right spot:

These turned out beautifully! Also, Trevor had so much fun with the heart stamp we made.  He was covered in red paint by the time we were done.  After I got some good impressions on the Valentines I gave him back the practice sheet and let him run wild.  He loves to dip and stamp!

Sensational Satur..um..Sunday: Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

So it’s not Saturday, but I thought I’d post this fun sensory bin idea anyway.  Yesterday was a crazy day and I didn’t get a chance to write a post.  This Valentine’s Day sensory bin is lots of fun though, so I wanted to share.

Sensory bins are a great way to stimulate the senses, as well as to develop motor, cognitive, and language skills.  You can use lots of different objects to create a sensory bin, but this is what we used to make our Valentine’s Day themed one:

  • Rice, dyed pink (to learn how to dye rice check out this page)
  • Fuzzy hearts (found these at the Dollar tree – they had stems attached to them, but I removed those)
  • Small heart-shaped boxes (great for fine motor development and hide and seek games)
  • Heart-shaped clappers (to stimulate the auditory sense)
  • Heart-shaped glow stick (to stimulate the visual sense)
  • Heart-shaped table scatter (the same stuff we used for our Valentine’s Day Sticky Collage – it’s great because it has a rough texture, as opposed to the smoothness of the plastic heart boxes and softness of the fuzzy hearts)
  • Salt dough hearts we made
  • Scoops and funnel
  • Heart-shaped toy with button (because Trevor loves buttons!)

He thought the glowing heart was pretty neat:

Using the heart glow stick to stir the rice:

Shaking the clappers:

Digging for the glow stick:

The fun doesn’t really start until you get in the bin too:

Therapy Thursday: Heart Hunt

Yesterday we went on a “Heart Hunt”.  This is a great activity to work on gross motor skills, as well as spatial awareness.

Excited to look for some hearts:

Kneeling:

Climbing (this is a brand new inchstone for him!):

Stepping over an obstacle (I have to help him with this, as he can’t to it independently yet):

Squatting:

Trevor loved doing this!  He wanted to do it again and again.  In fact we did 5 Heart Hunts in a row!  This really wore him out, but it was great to see him willing to engage in a motor activity.  Since motor tasks are hard for him he usually avoids them.

I used salt dough hearts that we made together for this heart hunt, but you could use hearts cut out of paper, felt, or any other medium.  Since he’s only 2 years old the hearts weren’t really “hidden”, but you can easily tailor this activity to your child’s skill level.  I hid them in obvious places that he would have to work a little to get to.