Platform Swing Painting

A great way to work on core strengthening (and another awesome pre-writing activity) is to play or work in the prone position. Normally Trevor hates being on his tummy. It’s partly sensory I’m sure, but also partly probably discomfort due to his hypotonia. Either way, he overcame that dislike to engage in this fun activity: painting on the platform swing! I set up a large piece of paper, drizzled some blobs of paint on it, and let him vroom his motorcycle toy through it to make tracks. It was a blast (although be sure to use washable paint, because it did end up a little bit messier than I expected).

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Aluminum Foil River

We finally made an aluminum foil river today. I’d seen the idea floating around the blogosphere for awhile now, but had yet to attempt it myself. One of Trevor’s PT goals is to walk/run on uneven surfaces, so I thought this would be a great way to encourage that. He had to walk up and down a little grassy hill to play with the river. And of course, the boy loves water, so he had a fabulous time!

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At first I just had out small boats that would fit in the river, but he wanted to bring all of his water toys out. So it was a good lesson in size comparison too. The toys that didn’t float down because they were too big, he ended up pulling them down the river himself. Other than wasting a lot of water, this activity was a great success 🙂

Bug Sundae

Trevor loves cold things. So this summer we’re going to be doing a lot more cold-themed sensory activities. Today I made him a Bug Sundae to play with. He kept calling it a Bug Saturday, which was pretty darn cute 🙂 Love the things kids say!

I put Cool Whip, cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, and his plastic bugs into a little plastic bucket and let town have some messy fun. He had a great time squishing, smelling, and even licking this activity, lol. It was a nice way to stimulate a lot of different senses.

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Color-Themed Treasure Baskets

Now that Paige is sitting pretty well and loving to explore things with her hands (and mouth too of course), I wanted to start making her more Treasure Baskets. Yesterday I made her her first color-themed Treasure Basket.

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I gathered up a bunch of baby-safe items that were all the color blue for her to play with. Our blue basket had a soft block, a cup with lid, a bowl, a spoon, a stacking cup, a stacking ring, a sensory ball, some shapes from a shape sorter, those linking rings, a couple of washcloths and a burp rag. You can use whatever objects you want for this. It’s very open-ended.

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Paige had a lot of fun playing with all the blue stuff. In a week I’ll probably rotate these items out in favor of a new color.

The Green, Green Grass

Sometimes we forget that the most basic sensory experiences are the most valuable, and the most fun. We went to the park the other day and Paige just loved the grass. The look of wonder in her eyes was priceless. I loved seeing her little fingers explore the green blades.

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And now that Trevor is getting stronger I’m realizing that he missed out on some of these basic experiences. He’s spending more time out of his braces and I’m learning just how sensitive his feet are. He has a major sensory defensiveness issue with his bare feet. So as Paige discovers some of these new, basic sensory experiences, I’m encouraging Trevor to try and enjoy them too.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.

Window Painting

One of the best ways to strengthen the small muscles in the hand is to encourage your child to work on vertical surfaces. To help Trevor with his fine motor skills I try hard to find fun ways to get him to use a vertical surface. This weekend it was nice outside so I thought we’d do some window painting.

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I squirted some of his washable Crayola sidewalk paint onto a plate and let him go to town on our sliding glass patio door. He had tons of fun! After he was finished painting I gave him a spray bottle filled with water to squirt so he could help wash the paint away and do some more fun fine motor work.

Laundry Basket Rides

Laundry basket rides are a fun way to work on gross motor skills (core strengthening) and vestibular processing as well. Now that Paige is sitting well with support we’re doing a lot of sitting activities to help her develop that core strength so she can sit unassisted. Since laundry basket rides are one of Trevor’s favorite core strengthening activities I thought it would be fun for Paige to try it out too!

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She loved it, as you can see from her smile 🙂 She enjoyed the slow and steady ride. Trevor, now that he’s stronger, likes going side to side, playing stop and go, and playing slow and fast in the laundry basket.

What everyday objects do your kids like to use as toys?

DIY Felt Board

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This felt board was so easy to make (and cheap too!).  I bought a yard of blue felt at a fabric store for $2.99 and a sheet of blue foam board at Wal-Mart for a little over $2.  The project only cost about $6, and it could even be done for less.  I really only needed a half yard of the felt to cover the board and I know they have foam board at the Dollar Tree (so you could realistically end up spending only about $3 on this).

To make the felt board I ironed the blue felt then cut it to size, leaving a few inches of extra fabric on each side.  Then I grabbed my stapler and stapled the excess fabric to the back of the board, making sure to pull tight.  Then I mounted it to the wall and let Trevor have fun with it!

I bought several other colors of felt at the fabric store and plan on making a bunch of different scenes and objects for him to play with.  The first thing I made were felt hearts for Valentine’s Day.  More on that later…

Throw Pillow Toss

One thing Trevor’s been working on in PT lately are his ball skills.  In talking with his school PT recently I discovered he’s been a little resistant to working on throwing and kicking with her.  To participate he needs tons of prompting, praise, and still he prefers to just watch his friends play.  He really isn’t into playing with balls at home either.  The kid just doesn’t want to try things that are difficult for him right now.  Three-year-olds sure have minds of their own!

So I decided to take the whole ball part out of the ball skills equation and trick him into get him working on those same skills in a fun way 😉  I gathered up a bunch of throw pillows from our guest bed and we had a Throw Pillow Toss.  Pillows are a great way to work on throwing and catching because they’re soft, lightweight, and small.  They don’t hurt when they hit you, and of course squishing the pillows is a lot of fun too.

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What fun and creative ways have you come up with to work on those skills your kids just don’t want to practice?

Indoor Gross Motor “Snow” Play

We had a great time with our latest activity, an indoor Winter Wonderland.  It was full of fun and great gross motor play too!  Grab your winter coat and hat and join in the fun 🙂

  1. Cut out snowflakes and do a Snowflake Walk.
  2. Shake those same snowflakes in your hands while boogieing down and doing a Snowflake Dance.
  3. Tie some ribbon or string onto the snowflakes, tape them to the ceiling, and walk/run through the snow!  (We did this in a circle around our ottoman and sang songs like “All Around the Mulberry Bush”)
  4. Have a snowball fight with balled up socks.
  5. Go sledding by pulling/pushing your kid around in a plastic under-the-bed storage box (great for the core and vestibular processing!)

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