Monday was therapy with Krisanne. During the session Cali worked on a handful of simple yet effective techniques I think are worthy of sharing. Here it goes…
Drawing Blank Paths: Child must follow the path while staying within the lines.
How many of you have toddlers who are learning to write their letters? How many of you have toddlers who write their letters with zero boundaries, meaning they are sometimes large, sometimes small, and sometimes somewhere in the middle? Cali definitely is not controlled when it comes to the size of her letters. To help Cali learn boundaries and control when writing her letters, Krisanne drew paths from one side of a blank paper to the other. She drew the path to be about 1/4 inch as either straight edge lines or rounded lines. Cali was to follow the path using her pencil. Krisanne was watching to see if she could stay within the boundaries and a confined space. We all know this can be taught the age old way with the age old worksheets containing two solid horizontal lines with a middle dashed line, but I think Krisanne’s exercise is much more fun and breaks up the monotony of the same ol’ same ol’.
Imitation Using Worksheets and Drawing Lines in Multiple Directions
If you asked your toddler to imitate a simple drawing, could they? Krisanne used a worksheet to test if Cali could do this very thing. The worksheet had one small star with short thin lines coming off the star to indicate a shining star. Five additional stars were printed on the worksheet, each with zero lines. Cali’s job was to look at the shining star and imitate what she saw on the other five stars. Imitation was one focus goal, but there was also another goal Krisanne was targeting. She wanted to see if Cali could draw the “shining” lines around each of the stars without having to move the paper. Not moving the paper shows Cali can draw lines going in multiple directions. Drawing the lines in multiple directions requires much more finger control and manipulation.
Build Control and Motor Planning Skills with Aligator Teeth
Krisanne drew the head of an aligator with a wide open mouth. She left the mouth blank with no teeth. Cali was required to draw the teeth one by one, without picking up her pencil. Constant contact between the pencil and the paper requires much more control and better motor planning skills. Cali’s mind has to recognize when and how far back to move her hand in order to allow the pencil to move on to the next tooth. Try it. If you start with one tooth you will notice how easily and effortlessly you hand moves to enable you to maintain constant contact with the paper. Building these fine motor skills helps the child when writing their letters. Take the letter “a” for example. The correct way to write this letter is by making one continuous movement without picking up the pencil. If your child can draw aligator teeth without picking up their pencil, I am sure they will also be able to write their letters in one continuous motion.
So there they are. Three simple tasks for simple yet essential fine motor skills. I love these because of their simplicity but also because they are all done with a pencil and a paper. A pencil and a paper can go anywhere, which means therapy at home, at church, at the car wash, where ever!