fine motor Scissors

Fine Motor Skills and Cutting

Learn how to improve your child’s cutting skills with these simple tips from a pediatric OT.   *This post contains affiliate links

How to Improve Your Child’s Cutting Skills 

“Cutting?”   The mom looked at me nervously…. “Um, I’ve never given my child scissors…. I don’t want him to hurt himself….”   Her face turned red.   “Should I?!”

The poor mom was panicking as she asked me about kindergarten.  She was totally nervous that her son wouldn’t be able to keep up.  Trying to reassure her, I asked how he holds his pencil and how were his cutting skills.  And instead of making her feel better, I made it way worse!   Uh-oh.

(This happens all the time, by the way.  Moms don’t realize that kids should be cutting WAY before Kindergarten. But really – if you are worried that your kid will hurt themselves when they are sitting with you in the kitchen, do you really want them learning how to cut while the teacher is also supervising 20 other kids? )

Nah – better to get them started before school so they know what they are doing.  It gives them a “leg up” on the rest of the kids.    You can always give them those little safety scissors if you are worried that they will cut themselves.   Or the playdoh scissors, which don’t have real blades.

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Best Travel Games for Family Fun

 

The car is packed, the best vacation of your life is just a few hours away. Now all you have to do is get there.  So what’s the problem?  THE DREADED CAR RIDE! 

Picture your kids in the backseat, smiling and laughing, joking and taking turns.  Ahhh. That’s how all family road trips are, right?  Sure.  

“Are we there yet?”

“Mom, he hit me!” 

“What’s that smell!?” 

“Stop looking at me!”

Sound familiar?  Yes.  So what do you do?  Of course there is always the option of throwing on a movie, but does that really go along with the quality family time theme you imagined for this trip?  No.

Will it make happy childhood memories that your child will treasure for years to come? No.

But there is hope: Travel Games.   If you recently read my post about pocket-book sized toys, you know that I’m a huge advocate of getting kids to do hands-on learning activities in any way you can.

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Bluebee Pal

Bluebee Pals – for children who love to learn, play, and interact!

 

What should a parent do when their child isn’t interested in reading?

What if they aren’t prepared for kindergarten?

Will they ever learn their letters?

I just found the perfect solution to the disinterested child. A Bluebee Pal.

As an OT and a newly certified Assistive Technology provider, I am always looking for fun ways to incorporate interactive technology into to my sessions.  I often recommend educational apps and games to parents to help with follow through at home. Let’s face it: Kids love technology.    It’s important for them to still manipulate and play with toys, games, and puzzles, but a tablet or cell phone can be used in any location to work on almost any goal.

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Promoting Fine Motor Skills on the Playground

 

#FunctionalSkillsForKids

“Promoting  fine motor skills at the playground”  is part of a year-long blog hop called Functional Skills for Kids.  Each month, I will be working with other pediatric OTs and PTs to post on different developmental topics that impact functional skills for kids. I’m so honored to be working with some amazing pediatric bloggers to bring you a well-rounded blog hop that will ultimately result in a BOOK!

This series will be a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, and therapists to learn about all the different activities a child performs each day.  Every month, each therapist will discuss different aspects of functional skills.  Each childhood function will be broken down into developmental timelines, fine motor considerations, gross motor considerations, sensory considerations, visual perceptual considerations, accommodations and modifications, activity ideas, and more.

This month’s topic in the  “Functional Skills for Kids” blog hop is the Playground, so check out the landing page for the rest of our posts and information on all things related!

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*This post contains affiliate links

Promoting Fine Motor Skills at the Playground

Occupational therapists who work with young children have an in-depth understanding of the skills a child needs to interact with their environment on a daily basis. A child needs to be able to negotiate their home, school, and playground (Henderson &  Pehoski, 1995).   Playing at the local playground is a wonderful way to help your child improve their physical , cognitive, emotional, and social development (Fisher, 1992).    Typical playground equipment such as swings, monkey bars and slides can help a child to develop sensory processing skills, motor planning, problem solving, balance, as well as hand strength.   As children interact with their environment, they learn how to make sense of the world around them (AOTA, 2012). The playground is a great place to start!

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10 pocketbook-sized toys to occupy your kid (instead of your phone!)

 handwriting, fine motor skills

I am totally on the “LIMIT TECHNOLOGY” for little kids bandwagon and am all about “Pocketbook-Sized Toys”! I have been so inspired by some articles I’ve read lately; especially a great article by Your Therapy Source (link at the bottom).  So I decided to make a list of 10 pocketbook-sized toys to occupy your kid (instead of your phone!)

As a public school OT, I work with Kindergarten students two days a week.  The continued decline in the basic motor skills of four and five-year-old children is VERY evident.  There are probably many reasons why, but I feel that lack of functional play time is a BIG contributor.    Nowadays, many kids have their own tablets, TV’s in their rooms, and an IPOD shuffle. They spend less and less time playing outside, which limits their gross motor skills, endurance, and coordination.   When they are inside, they spend less time playing with toys and using their hands and more time with technology.

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Puzzle Art Therapy

 

 

 

I always say how much I love being an OT. I also love to learn. I’ve been so lucky that  I’m still energized and excited about my profession.

However….. sometimes you need to shake things up a bit.

Last year, I became certified in PuzzleArt Therapy Systems, a form of therapy that combines Perceptual, Oculomotor, Binocular and PuzzleArt Therapy Sensory protocols using hands-on art.   I’ve always been interested in the vision aspect of Occupational Therapy, so I was really eager to learn new ways to incorporate PuzzleArt Therapy into my Occupational Therapy sessions.

PuzzleART2

Professionals learning how to assess visual tracking, convergence, divergence, and accommodation

What is PuzzleArt Therapy?  PuzzleArt Therapy is a program designed to assess and remediate problems with visual motor integration, visual perceptual skills, oculomotor skills, etc.

The course is taught by International  PuzzleArtist Alli Berman and Dr. Susan Fisher, a respected Optometrist in Westbury, NY.  Occupational Therapists Linda Telford and Serena Zeidler also helped to design the materials to give a therapist’s perspective on the program.

If you are an OT, this course is accredited by NYSOTA and NBCOT.  You can get a certification in PuzzleArt Therapy Systems while getting your CEU’s all in one day.

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long island yoga for kids

Long Island Yoga for Kids

Yoga is my absolute favorite way to exercise.  I also love to recommend yoga for kids. Years ago I got into yoga as a form of exercise and stress relief.   I ended up loving it so much that I was certified to teach “Group Exercise” through the American Aerobics Association with the hopes of teaching yoga as a hobby.  I did that for a year and liked it very much, but decided that I like being a member of a class more than I like being the instructor.  However, I am a huge believer in the old saying “everything happens for a reason”.   I learned yoga well enough to teach it and to combine it with my “OT” knowledge, which really helped me to use yoga as a therapeutic activity with my students. Continue reading

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