Krisanne has done it again! This past monday was occupational therapy and Cali had an absolute blast playing these new “games”. I just love how she has no idea these “games” are 100% therapy.
Cali is definitely not your most athletic girl around. She has never once in her life asked me to throw a ball back and forth. She has never told me to watch how fast she can run. When she was around the age of two, it was all we could do to get her to jump off of two feet. Maybe she doesn’t scream athletic, but the girl does LOVE to dance!
Growing up, sports was my thing. It still is my thing. I never danced, never participated in drama, and couldn’t have handled band if I tried. You would think I would want my girls to at least dabble in the world of sports, but really I could care less. I do, however, care if their motor skills are developmentally on target. At this point, Cali should be able to catch a ball. She is getting better and better at this skill, but is far from mastering her hand/eye coordination.
Krisanne has been working on Cali’s hand/eye coordination for awhile. On Monday she introduced an entertaining and engaging game to work on this specific gross motor skill. First, Cali was given a string of yarn. She was required to hold on to the ends of the string with her hands. As she held the yarn, Krisanne blew bubbles into the air. Cali’s job was to pop the bubbles with the string while maintaining her grip the entire time. This was WAY too difficult. Cali could not figure out how to keep the string tight as she went to pop the bubbles. Watching the bubbles, maintaining her grip, and trying to pop the bubbles with the string held tight was more motor planning than her brain could muster. So Krisanne did away with the string and opted for a straw instead. The straw was mush easier. Then the idea came to use a plastic cup to catch the bubbles. For whatever reason, Cali really liked the cup. The cup proved to be really effective. Because the cup was enticing to Cali, she made a strong effort to catch every single one of those bubbles. She was standing on her toes, bending down to the ground, and spinning around, all to catch those bubbles.
If your child needs help with hand/eye coordination try this fun activity at home.
- Plastic cup
Want to see the game!
Crashing a Castle
The next activity Krisanne used was a game I like to call Crashing a Castle. The idea with this game was to help improve Cali’s upper body strength. You would be surprised to know that your upper body strength as well as your core, play an integral role in shaping fine motor skills. I have given more information regarding upper body strength here. To begin this activity, Krisanne pulled out a stack of yellow plastic cups. Cali was to stack the cups into a tall castle. This portion of the game actually works on Cali’s ability to recognize the grade of pressure or force when stacking the cups. Too much force or pressure and the castle might come to a crash before the crash is supposed to occur. Krisanne mentioned many of her autistic students struggle in this area. Cali did really well and the castle was built with considerable ease and speed. Next was the really fun part!
Once the castle was built, Cali was to lay prostrate on a scooter (go here for information on the scooter) and use her arms to catch speed and roll or crash into the castle. The genesis of this game was born for another student I’m sure, but Krisanne pulled it out for Cali because she needs all the work she can get on strengthening her upper body. Cali has also struggled for a long time now when using the scooter. Every time Krisanne uses the scooter and asks Cali to use her arms and hands against the ground to propel propel herself forward, she almost always says, “I can’t!” I’m sure when Krisanne thought back to this game, she thought it might provide some motivation to get Cali to comply with the task of moving the scooter with her arms and hands on the ground. It worked! Cali became Turbo the snail in a matter of seconds. Makes me laugh thinking back to all those times she said “I can’t”. Tricky little girl that Cali!
Some of you may not have a scooter like the one Krisanne uses. If not you could always use a towel or blanket and a rope of some sort. Have your child lay prostrate on the towel (on their stomach, face facing the floor) while gripping the rope with their hands. I would suggest having them hold on to the middle of the rope. Your job is to hold the two ends of the rope and pull your child as fast as you can until they crash into their castle. Holding onto the rope requires grip strength as well upper body/shoulder strength. Try this activity and I bet your child will play for twenty minutes straight just like Cali!!
- Blanket or towel
- long rope (could be a jump rope or even another towel twisted to create a large, fat “rope”)
- plastic cups (about 50)
- scooter (if available)
Here is the game in action!
Let me know how your kids like these “games”!!