Monday, September 16, 2013

Create your very own fall sensory bin that kids will love!

It's back to school time for me, too!  That means I'll be making a sensory bin each week to take to my schools!

The first one of the year had a fall theme.  Since some of the children are new to me and to OT, I kept it dry this week, as usually that is easier to handle.
Under the piles of various colored leaves, I hid all sorts of fall colored and themed objects:  apples, oranges, acorns, leaves, and pom-poms. The children sorted them by color into the sorting tray.
Once they got the hang of that, we moved on to finding two objects at a time; first find a green one, then a red one. Finally, we counted all of the "treasures" they found.

Even though it's dry, touching the various textures can still be challenging for some children.  If they're initially resistive to exploring, give them tools to use, then work to using their hands. You can give them salad tongs, tweezers, science tongs, spoons, etc. to scoop out the "treasures".

Add another component by having the children go on a leaf hunt to find their own real leaves for the bin.  That will give it a whole different feel with crisp, crunchy leaves!  Some may even crumble in their hands, adding another tactile component!

While sensory bins tend to be tactile in nature, bring in all of the senses when you can!  Promote heavy work and motor planning by having them perform animal walks or climb trees to get to the leaves.  Even raking is fun for them! I was at my son's school for gardening day and raking was the favorite "job" of the day! Have them rake the leaves into big piles and jump into them! Consider the smell, too! Pine needles and pine cones could add a nice touch to this fall themed bin!

Happy Fall Ya'll and stay tuned for more tactile "finger fun"!

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Because we know that you're on the go!

I made this simple activity as homework for one of my little guys.  He happened to be working on his diagonal lines.  That week we focused on the letter x.  

His mom brought it back the next week and said I should share it with all of you.  She carried it around in her diaper bag (she has a newborn too!) and by the next week forming diagonals was simple as pie for him!

All you need is a paper bag, red, green and black markers, Wikki Stix and some wooden craft sticks or popsicle sticks.

Make a green line at the top to indicate where he should start.   Measure the length of a Wikki Stick at a diagonal and then add the red line so that he has the baseline boundary.

I like to use  different colored Wikki Stix just to aide in the visual discrimination of the two lines.
We worked from corner to corner and corner to corner.
We did "Rainbow writing" with many different colors of Wikki Stix and formed the X over and over again.

To add another kinesthetic property, we also used wooden craft sticks.
On the opposite side of the bag, I provided the same green and red lines as top and bottom boundaries (this will carry over to the Fundanoodle method once we take it to paper).
Because the sticks are shorter, I provided black, vertical boundaries on the sides.
Again, we worked from corner to corner and corner to corner!

After he masters X's, move on to letters like V, M and N! All you need are a few more sticks!

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L