Tag Archives: fine motor skills

OT Activities from the team in Bucks!

The team in Bucks County created this amazing video of great activities you can do with stuff from around the house that is fun helps develop fine motor skills. In addition to the video is a list of great bath activities!

Hi everyone!

Here is a list of bath activities that you can do with your kids, to help them have some fun things to do while they are home.

Enjoy!

-Stacy G., OT

1. You can let your child use a net to “fish for” toys in the tub. If you don’t have a net, you can substitute a colander. This can work on eye-hand coordination

 

2. Colanders can also be used as “rainfall” for sensory

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3. PAINTING!

“Painting” in the tub/shower: Your child can do finger painting or can use a variety of tools such as paintbrushes, sponges, cotton balls, etc. which can work on fine motor coordination. You can give your child the opportunity to engage in a variety of different sensory experiences, which can increase their sensory awareness, through painting with shaving cream (to which you can add food dye) or even making your own bath paint. For an even easier prep/clean up, you can let them “paint” with a paintbrush/sponge/cotton ball, just using water onto the tub/shower wall, or onto construction paper.

A. “Paint” the tub or shower walls by dipping a paintbrush into water

B. Paint the shower using shaving cream with food dye added to it

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C. Cotton ball painting

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D. Make bathtub paint

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4. Transferring water from one container to another: You can use a variety of different tools to work on transferring water from one container to another, such as cups, spoons, pipettes, bowls, etc. This can work on grasping and pouring skills, which can help to improve overall upper extremity coordination.

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5. Animal wash station/Car wash station: You can have your child squirt water from a spray bottle onto a toy animal/toy car, to work on their grip strength and you can also let them scrub animals/a toy car with a toothbrush to strengthen their hand muscles and work on their coordination.

Animal Wash Station

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Car Wash Station

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6. Bath time for doll: Giving your child the opportunity to give their doll a “bath” can help teach your child self-care skills as well as learning of body parts.

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7. Making paper boats and floating them in the water: You can use the directions provided to create the paper boats. You can let your child help you make the boat, by giving them the opportunity to complete 1 simple step in the task at a time, as you model it for them (ex: “fold this part like this”). This can increase their ability to follow directions as well as their imitation skills.

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Here are directions for making a paper boat:

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8. Make Play-Doh soap!

This can be particularly motivating for children, especially those who don’t enjoy taking baths. Allowing a child to squeeze and pinch the play-doh soap can also work on hand strength and the development of more mature grasp patterns, such as key pinch grip, as well as pincer grasp.

The link below has the recipe for Play-Doh soap: https://sugarspiceandglitter.com/bath-time-play-dough/

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9. Baby Bath squirt toys: These types of toys can work on hand strength and the development of grasping patterns as well.

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10. You can make a Water Wall in various ways: You can use funnels, water bottles, or pool noodles. You can use other items too! Playing with a water wall can work on increasing pouring skills and will help to refine upper extremity coordination skills.

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11. You can also use laundry baskets for water fun!
You can turn a laundry basket into a “boat” inside or outside the tub! (Of course, always supervise with each of these activities)

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References

Apps kids can play with to work on cause/effect and fine motor manipulation:

by Bianca DelVecchio, OT

Kids on devices as we all find ourselves at home is pretty much inevitable. The positive to that is that they can actually be a wonderful resource!

The following apps can help the child who is learning about cause and effect; all that is required of the child is to touch the screen for something to happen:

  • Furry friend: a free app, the child meets Leonard, a monster who will repeat what you and laugh when you ‘tickle’ him! The child can tap any part of his body for a reaction, and choose from images of objects below to see how he reacts to them (which further works on visual perception as the child has to scan left to right with their eyes to select a picture to touch).
  • Fireworks Arcade: a free app; all the child needs to do is touch the screen for fireworks to go off, with sizzle noises and all! The child can also work on pressing and dragging in this game to draw a long stream of fireworks across the screen.

Apps for fine motor development

In these apps, the child will be working on reaction timing, visual perception, and motor control:

    • Dexteria Jr- 3.99- This app has a variety of levels to work on touching targets (non-moving and moving). Harder levels include having to pinch the target using the index finger and thumb.
    • Fruit Ninja a free app; the object of the game is to use your index finger to slice fruit with a fast, linear motion. Targets move fast, which targets a child’s reaction time, and some targets explode if you touch them (which works on the child’s visual discrimination between objects).

 

Why is messy play so important?

by Anna Lassman

Top 10 Reasons!

  1. Opportunity to practice and refine fine motor – hand/finger skills
  • Opportunity to use hands, fingers in a different way. Practice various grasp patterns, pinching, poking use of both hands to push or pull, etc.
  1. The great experiment: Learning concepts and characteristics of substances and how we can impact it. Grading motor control: how do I control the way I touch and handle substances?
  • Learning about different textures, consistencies, density of materials while at play. Is it thick/thin, heavy/light, lumpy/smooth, cool/warm?
  • Exploring different ways to handle materials: What happens if I squeeze it hard/ medium/lightly? What happens if I stroke my finger very lightly over the surface? Can I poke a hole into it? What happens if I push a car through it? What happens if I blow on it? How can I find something hidden it?
  1. Desensitization for tactile defensive kids.
  • Various strategies to decrease sensitivities to messy materials: Start with dry/smooth textures and gradually add texture; can use tools to touch wet messy materials, gradually encouraging child to use their hands, etc.
  1. Learning to follow steps or sequences
  • Have child be involved with creating the sensory material; following a recipe or multi-step directions
  1. Practice use of tools and what they can do.
  • Learn to pour, stir, scoop and use other tools (ie- scissors, rolling pins, tongs)
  1. Task orientation.
  • Work behaviors involve preparation, starting, completion and clean up. All aspects of the task are just as important as the actual play- helps with task focus, persistence, transitions. Also provides opportunity for grooming practice (washing hands).
  1. Provides opportunity for cooperative play
  • Working alongside peers while engaged in messy play fosters social skills.
  1. Opportunity to explore creativity with a non-structured activity.
  • It fosters imaginary play.
  1. Opportunity to explore ways to add structure for pre-academics
  • Writing letters in shaving cream, drawing faces and/or geometric shapes or forming them with play dough
  1. IT’S FUN!!!

Anna Lassman has been an OT for 35 years, working in a variety of pediatric settings in New York, California and, for the past 18 yrs, in Pennsylvania. She has been with Easter Seals in the Philadelphia Division as the OT department head for 7 years. She has special interests working with infants and young children with feeding difficulties as well as working with children with neurological impairment. Her favorite aspect of her current job is the ability to mentor new practicing OT’s as they begin their career in the field. Anna loves the ocean and misses easy beach access, but loves the Philadelphia area.