Virtual Book Club: Garden Week

We had a great time participating in the Virtual Book Club again this week. Here are all of the Garden Week books we read and activities we did:

Monday: “Curious George Plants a Seed”

I filled a plastic tote with dirt and set out some shovels and play food for Trevor to bury. In the book George buries all sorts of things in the ground while learning about what does and does not grow, starting with the contents of the Man in the Yellow Hat’s kitchen. With the addition of water our activity quickly turned into a mud pie kitchen. It was a lot of fun.

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Tuesday: “Rock It, Sock It, Number Line”

I drew a number line from 1 to 10 on our driveway in sidewalk chalk. Then I put a different vegetables on each number and set a soup pot filled with water at the end of the line. I invited Trevor to walk the line, picking up a vegetable and then putting it in the pot. We made veggie soup just like in the book. Walking a line is a great gross motor activity, and a skill Trevor has been working on in PT.

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Wednesday: “Jack and the Beanstalk”

At preschool this year Trevor grew a little bean plant. I had planted it in a planter for him and we used that bean stalk as the basis for some Jack and the Beanstalk small world play. I also included Jack, his mom, the cow, the old man, beans, the giant, the hen, a gold egg, and a harp, as well as a Mega Blocks house for Jack and his mom and castle for the giant. This was by far Trevor’s favorite activity. He had so much fun playing Jack and the Beanstalk!

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Thursday: “Let’s Plant a Garden”

We kept our activity simple. I filled up all sorts of containers with water (from watering cans to squirt guns to bowls) and put them in the garden. We watered plants, but mostly watered ourselves, lol 🙂

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Friday: “Big Red Apple”

I drew an apple tree on some easel paper (with apples numbered 1 through 10). Then I cut an apple in half and set Trevor up with some red paint to do some apple printing. Although I thought it was a neat activity, Trevor was more interested in finishing painting as quickly as possible and sitting on the back step and eating an apple, lol 🙂

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We’re looking forward to next week: Water Play! Hope you join in the book club fun too.

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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?

Fabric Treasure Basket for Babies

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I first saw the idea of creating Treasure Baskets on another blog, The Imagination Tree.  I fell in love with the idea of gathering up everyday objects for little ones to explore!  So now that Paige is 4 months old and reaching for everything I thought it would be a great time to create her first Treasure Basket.

All I did was grab a basket we had lying around the house (you could also use a storage bin or even a cardboard box, this idea is so adaptable) and filled it with different types of fabric.  I used washcloths, burp rags, kitchen towels, etc.  They were all of varying textures, sizes, and colors.  I chose to create a fabric basket first because Paige has been loving chewing on material lately.  It was fun to watch her explore the different materials and she definitely enjoyed it too 🙂

I also varied her positions as she explored the material so she could work on her gross motor skills too.  I sat her in her Bumbo and also lay her on both her back and tummy while giving her the different treasures.

I look forward to creating new Treasure Baskets as she grows!

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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Pretend Play: Firefighting

Last Thursday the local fire department visited Trevor’s preschool.  And in true Trevor fashion he developed a mini-obsession with the idea of firefighting.  He had to wear his fire helmet all weekend, including to his OT session on Friday.  If I hadn’t made him take it off, I’m sure he would have slept with it and bathed with it too, lol 😉

So to go along with his new-found interest in firefighting we came up with a fun way to play firefighters.  I cut out some red construction paper in the shape of flames and taped it to our pantry door.  Then I grabbed a recycled paper towel roll and stuffed blue tissue paper in one end to create a fire hose.  I got out his scooter board to use as a fire truck (and work on those gross motor skills too!).  He insisted that fire trucks have to be red, so I ended up duct taping a red kitchen towel to the top of the scooter board for him.

He had a blast “fighting fires”.  I loved seeing his play skills blossom and was impressed at how much better he is at the scooter board (yay for progress!).

I hope you all have as much fun fighting fires as we did this weekend 🙂

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And sorry the picture is a little blurry.  I’m blogging from my phone a lot now given the hectic, sleep-deprived life I’m leading 😉

A Proprioceptive Sheet-Changing Adventure

Trevor has been interested in “helping” me with household tasks lately.  Usually that means more work for me, but it always means fun for him so it’s worth it 🙂  And today when he helped me change the sheets on my bed I realized what a great proprioceptive activity it is! I always love when I discover a fun way to add heavy work and sensory activities into our daily lives.

How to Make Changing the Sheets a Sensory Adventure:

  • Have your little one help you pull the pillowcases off the pillows.  Pulling is great proprioceptive work!
  • Let your child climb all over the pillows, blankets, and sheets on the floor.  Not only does this work on balance and body awareness, but it’s a great gross motor activity too.
  • Wrap your child up in the sheets if they’ll let you.  (Never force this type of activity, but it’s awesome for proprioception).  Trevor loves to be wrapped up and buried so he had a blast doing this.  He kept asking me to wrap him up again and again.  And finding their way out of the sheets and blankets once they’re covered is a good way to work on motor planning skills too.
  • Have your child lift your heavy blankets and carry them around.  More great heavy work – and if you can get them to carry them to the laundry room that’s just an added bonus 🙂

I mean really, who needs toys when you have dirty laundry to play with, LOL?!

Sit-Stand-Sit

When we were teaching Trevor to stand we did this same sit to stand to sit activity.  It  helped him a lot.  Since his recent growth spurt he’s really tightened up and we’ve gone back to doing some of our older gross motor activities to help stretch out his tight muscles.  He’s lost some range of motion recently and so we’re hoping that by focusing on building leg strength and stretching his tight muscles he can reacquire the skills he’s lost.

You can do this activity with a small chair like we used (borrowed from his EI teacher), or simply use a sturdy box (like we used before we were able to borrow this nice chair).  Trevor’s doing this activity at his easel now, but before we had the easel I used painter’s tape to tape the paper to a wall for him.

This activity is just like it sounds: sit, stand, sit.  Repeat.  Have the child sit in a sturdy chair, or on a box.  Then have the child stand up to reach a sticker (if they need to pull up to stand that is just fine).  Give them the sticker to put on the paper, then sit back down.  Repeat until you’re out of stickers or your child is bored.  Trevor loves stickers.  They are a huge motivator for him, so we did this activity for quite awhile.  It’s always great when you can focus on a skill and have tons of fun at the same time.

Standing up:

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Sitting back down:

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Having a great time putting stickers on the paper:

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Pics

Earth Day Sticky Collage

I always like do holiday themed projects with Trevor.  With Earth Day coming up I thought it would be fun if we went outside and made a sticky collage.  We went outside and picked dandelions and other wildflowers and put them onto contact paper.  Trevor loved doing this.  It was his favorite project since the ornaments we made at Christmas.

What You Need:

  • Wildflowers, leaves, grass, etc.
  • Contact paper
  • Cardboard
  • Tape

How To Make It:

  1. Cut a piece of contact paper off the roll.
  2. Tape it, sticky side up, to a piece of cardboard for strength.
  3. Go outside and pick wildflowers, grass, and/or leaves and stick to the contact paper.
  4. Top the finished collage with a second piece of contact paper to seal everything in.
  5. If you want to flatten it with a heavy book for awhile you can do that too.
  6. Hang in your window and enjoy!

Contact paper on cardboard:

This activity was a great way to sneak in a little PT and OT too.  Walking on uneven ground and squatting is great gross motor work.  Picking the flowers is an excellent fine motor activity too:

Working on shifting weight and having fun at the same time:

Sticking some dandelions on the contact paper:

I thought Trevor might enjoy this activity for maybe 10 minutes.  It turned out he loved it so much we were outside for over an hour.  Luckily the sun came out and it warmed up:

Having fun:

Woo-hoo!

His jam-packed collage before we put the contact paper on top to seal it:

The finished product hanging in the window with the sunlight beaming through:

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: