Workin’ at the Car Wash, Yeah!

After watching an episode of “Curious George” with Trevor in which George designs a car wash for his toy cars I was inspired to set up a Car Wash for Trevor.  George’s Car Wash was pretty elaborate, but I decided to go simple.  I filled a plastic under the bed storage container with water and dish soap, then added in a sponge, a cup, and Trevor’s plastic trucks.  He had a blast playing with his Car Wash and it couldn’t have been an easier project for this tired pregnant mama to assemble.  The Car Wash is a great way to work on pretend play skills, do some fine motor work (pouring water, squeezing the sponge, etc.) as well as to do some sensory exploration with the water and bubbles.

 

Checking out the Car Wash:

 

Squeezing the sponge:

 

Washing a truck (Trevor does so much better at pretend play when he has a concrete idea in his head.  We watched George wash cars, then he was able to do it too):

 

Rinsing another truck:

 

He washed his cars a few times, but mostly he enjoyed putting the trucks in and out of the Car Wash.  He loves to move his toys around:

 

Proud of his work:

 

Enjoying taking them back out again:

 

Some nice sensory and fine motor play popping bubbles:

Shaving Cream Fine Motor Fun

I know I’ve been neglecting this blog lately, but this pregnancy is totally wiping me out.  I’m still working with Trevor of course, but I barely have enough energy for that, let alone the energy to edit pictures and write about it all.  Hopefully with the 2nd trimester approaching I’ll be developing more energy!

One thing we’ve been working with Trevor on is his ability to copy marks (like lines and circular patterns) on paper with crayons or markers.  Unfortunately Trevor is really struggling with using crayons/markers/etc. and he’s really started to resist even trying to color.  He’s starting to realize that things are harder for him and getting upset when they are 😦  His new OT suggested we work on copying marks differently.  Since he’s having such a hard time holding a crayon, we’re now working on copying marks without using any tools.  Hopefully once he gets the concept of imitating marks with his hands it will be easier to try and get him to do it with a tool.  His new OT suggested we use finger paint for this, but I thought shaving cream would be more fun!

I sprayed a bunch of shaving cream onto Trevor’s tray and let him play in it.  I also tried to get him to imitate some lines and circles.  It wasn’t a huge success, but his willingness to try and make the marks was an awesome step.  I also added some food coloring to the shaving cream to spice things up once he started getting restless.

Watching Mommy make a mark:

Trying to copy a line:

He had a great time squishing the colored shaving cream:

After Trevor was done I remembered an art project I’d pinned on Pinterest making shaving cream art.  Since I didn’t have any cardstock on hand I grabbed a couple of white paper plates to use instead.  We squished the plates into the shaving cream, and then let them dry for about 10 minutes.  Then I used a craft stick to scrape off the shaving cream.  This leaves behind some beautiful colored swirl patterns.

The plates after I scraped off the shaving cream:

 

I was planning on just displaying the plates as Trevor’s finished art, but I decided the next day to go a step further.  I cut the plates into sixths, and then cut 3 circles out of one of Trevor’s many sticker pages.  I then made 3 flowers out of the plate pieces and circles.  Trevor loves his flowers!  He thinks they’re pretty cool, so I’m glad I decided to make them for him.  He loves looking at them and studying them.

Cute boy posing by his flowers:

 

Suuuuuuperman!

Tummy Time is not just for babies.  Doing Tummy Time activities is a great way to strengthen the core, an area that Trevor still needs a lot of help in.  One of the fun ways to do Tummy Time with a toddler is by doing “Superman” on an exercise ball.  Trevor lays on top of the ball and reaches out, Superman style.  To make it more interesting and to encourage extension I usually have a musical toy for him to press, or a container for him to drop small objects into.  Today we used his multicolored pegs, but you can use bean bags, Easter eggs, or other small toys.

Dropping a toy in:

Being a goofball and trying to drop one in with his mouth:

Putting another one in:

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.

Therapy Thursday: Milk Jug Gem Drop

This is another fun fine motor activity using a recycled container.  All you need is a cleaned out milk jug and some colorful gems (or other small items).  We used the colored gems that we purchased at the Dollar Tree to use on our light table.  Trevor enjoyed doing this activity and the gems work great for this because they make a loud and satisfying “plunk” when you drop them in.  Another bonus to using the gems is working on labeling colors and counting.

Dropping them in:

This is fun!

Shaking it up once all the gems were in:

A great, less messy way, to practice pouring:

Can I Just Be Mad Today?

Normally on Mondays I post about an awesome art project that we create.  We made a super cute one I was planning on sharing, but honestly I’m in a pity party kind of mood right now.  I have no interest in pretending like everything is fine and I think I’ll blog about our next great winter craft another day.  Because today I’m mad.  I’m mad that my child has to struggle.  I’m mad that he can’t get into his new big boy bed without help.  I’m mad that the only solution I’ve come up with (foam steps) costs over one hundred dollars.  And then again, I’m not even sure that would work.  Why oh why can’t my toddler just climb into his toddler bed?  I hate that we may need to buy adaptive equipment for him.  It makes me mad.  And just for today I need to express that to the world.

I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be my happy self once again.

Therapy Thursday: Parmesan Cheese Shaker Fine Motor Activity

I love finding ways to re-purpose what I’d normally throw out.  Therapy products can be very expensive, so it’s great when trash gets a new life as a therapy tool.  I cleaned out an empty Parmesan Cheese Shaker and turned it into a fine motor activity for Trevor.

What You Need:

  • Parmesan Cheese Shaker
  • Straws

How To Make It:

  1. Wash your used Parmesan Cheese Shaker and remove the label.
  2. Cut up colored straws into pieces (I cut them into fourths).
  3. Have child insert colored straws into holes in the lid of the container.

This is an awesome fine motor activity, as well as a way to work on colors and counting.  I’ve seen this activity done with toothpicks as well, but I definitely don’t trust my 2-year-old with sharp objects.  However, if you trust your child with toothpicks they can be substituted for the straws.

Trevor has a lot of fun with this.  He also enjoys dumping the straws out of the container or shaking it like a musical instrument.

Ladies and Gentlemen – He Has a Voice!

Trevor has found his voice!  And let me tell you, it is the sweetest sound.  Since we started  the Wilbarger Protocol last month Trevor has developed more body awareness, particularly in the oral motor arena.  Over the last few weeks he started licking his lips (something he’d never done before) and sticking his tongue out.  Now he is a labeling fool and is also echoing back much of what we say.  I finally have to watch what I say around him, because he’s turning into a parrot.  We still have a ways to go of course, but this verbal breakthrough is music to my ears in more ways than one.  It is going to be a fabulous new year 🙂

Therapy Thursday: Bubble Wrap!

Here’s a new post, just in time for the holidays.  You know all the bubble wrap that your packages get shipped in or your new gifts are wrapped in?  Well don’t throw it out!  Reuse it.  Your child will benefit from the fine motor therapy and the planet will benefit from some recycling.  Well, at least until all of the bubbles are popped and it goes into the trash anyway 🙂  Popping bubble wrap is a great activity to help strengthen the hand muscles.  Also, it’s a lot of fun and very satisfying to hear that bubble go “POP!”

Therapy Thursday: Wheelbarrow Walk

As I’ve said before, one of Trevor’s biggest obstacles in gaining new gross motor skills is his lack of core strength.  His poor trunk control even affects gaining new fine motor skills, because when he’s sitting his body is working so hard just to sit that he has a hard time being precise with his hands.  One of the exercises we are doing to help strengthen his trunk is the Wheelbarrow Walk.  The Wheelbarrow Walk is also helpful for kids with sensory issues, as it helps stimulate the vestibular and proprioceptive senses.  I hold Trevor at his hips to do this, as his trunk control is so poor.  But as he gets stronger (or if your child has better core strength than mine), you can support him  further down the legs – at the thighs, knees, shins, ankles, and eventually feet, as control improves.