Paediatric OT practise in the Parkview area focusing on developmental skills with a focus on sensorimotor and perceptual skills. Established 2001.
World Mental Health Day 2020
For my 3rd OT week post I talk a little bit about spatial skills.
Well integrated visual spatial skills are an important component of reading and writing, but it's actually a skill a child starts developing from birth.
In order to understand an object(such as a letter or number)'s position in space, we must first understand our own body and how it engages with the environment.
We then start manipulating and understanding physical objects such as toys, and finally onto the more abstract concept of symbols on a page!
Have a look at some pics below of children building their spatial skills as an integral part of their overall development.
In the second of our OT week posts we're keeping with the theme of 'Reimagining Doing', and today it's FINE MOTOR SKILLS.
Fine motor skills are important building blocks for daily skills including dressing, writing, handling money, eating and so many more.
In the early years, children learn to control both the large and small muscles required to develop refined and efficient use of their hands in fine motor skills.
Today we're building those skills and making a gorgeous carerpillar. Have a look at the pics and let your creativity fly!
With schools being open and services starting up it's left little time for posts, but this week is 'Occupational Therapy Week' so I have a few fun posts planned for the week.
The theme of OT week 2020 is 'Reimagine Doing'.
Today we're talking about PLAY- the most important thing a child does. As Einstein said "Play is the highest form of research"
As paediatric OTs, we don't only use play as our medium of therapy, but we also help to facilitate a child's ability to play. Children can struggle with playing if they have developmental or learning delays, sensory processing difficulties or various other reasons.
Children need to learn to initiate and sustain play, and also how to end it or shift focus.
As parents here are my 3 top tips for encouraging play in your children
🐰Be playful! Be willing to run around, be a bit silly or get a bit dirty. Show them how you are using your imagination or problem solving to figure something out.
🐰 Provide opportunities for different types of play. You'll notice at school, teachers will rotate equipment weekly. This is something nice to do at home as well. On a chilly day get the puzzles out, and on a sunny day help them make some mud.
🐰 Prompt and guide, but don't direct your child's play. If their fear of heights stops them from climbing the jungle gym, support them up a little bit at a time. If they want to use the wooden spoon as a drumstick rather than playing kitchen that's ok! Guide by saying things like "I wonder what would happen if...", or "What could I use as a spoon?" and then let them take over.
It's been a while since I posted!
Let's have some Sunday fun and make Pom Poms!
They're fun to make, though a little fiddly. If your child is younger than Grade R you will need to give quite a lot of help!
Pom pom making is a lovely tactile activity and encourages planning, fine motor skills and task concept.
Once your pom pom is made you could add eyes and feet to make a creature, make a toy for the cat or simply something lovely to hold. By brainstorming what you could use the pom pom for, you stimulate creativity and imagination.
Have fun! Instructions in the pics below
Love this post.
Conversation between myself and a Grade R last week
Her "Is this your job?"
Me " yes it is"
Her " Wow! But you don't even have to work, you just have fun!"
Today I got my family involved in the post and we made...Sock Puppets!
We raided the pile of single socks, and had a lot of fun creating some critters 😊
Doing a creative task like this stimulates planning, imagination, fine motor skills and tactile development. It's a great one if you have children of different ages as the puppet can be as simple or complex as you wish.
Once made build hand strength by having the puppets 'eat' various shaped and sized items, and how about making up a story for the puppets and putting on a show.
Puppets are a great way for children to express their feelings. And useful to role play situations where your child needs a bit of support or preparation.
All you need is an old sock. We used pom poms, batting, pipe cleaners, felt and kokis, but use what you have at home including glitter glue, cardboard or buttons.
If you have younger children in the house, please be cautious when using buttons or other items that could be swallowed.
Today I have a fun hand strengthening game.
When children are preparing to write, they need activities that will build up the muscles of the forearm and hand.
This is a great way to do it using the 'hungry tennis ball' !
I always seem to find tennis balls around my house and garden that have lost their bounce thanks to the dog having a chew, and these are perfect to use for this activity.
The grown ups job is to cut a 'mouth' by making a slit across the tennis ball using a craft knife. Your child can then draw a face.
Here are 3 ways to use it
🐵 Hold it in preferred hand (the one used for drawing) and 'munch' small items such as pom Poms.
🐵 Hold it in your helping hand and using tweezers, feed him small items
🐵 Make 2 hungry balls and use them as puppets, squeezing them to make their mouth move
Have a look at the pics below and happy playing!
I've got a fun and easy activity for us today...Rainbow Crayons!
This is a great task to use planning, decision making and creativity and the end results are beautiful! I remember making these with my kids for school market days and they were really popular.
Have a look at the pics below to see the steps.
A bit of fun playing big and small with our spatial concepts today.
Previously we've looked at copying patterns using a variety of items. Now we're doing something similar. I've used some items I have in my practice, but look for household items that are big and small, for example toothpicks and hockey sticks.
Playing spatial games like this help your child develop their object relations, directionality and even visual memory.
Have a look at the pics for a few ideas.
I've been having fun creating activities for 1 to 2 year olds for an NGO. Its amazing how so many household items can be used to stimulate children.
Here's a fun activity to build spatial and visual motor skills. Apologies for less posting recently. With my practice reopening and all the cleaning of toys and equipment, it's been keeping me busy!
You'll see in the pic below that I have a commercial game (dotty designs./follow the dot), but this is super easy to replicate.
You need, blank paper and whiteboard markers or blank cardboard and match sticks.
Draw 2 grids of dots- start with 9 dots for younger kids and then increase to 16, 25 and 36 dots. Place inside a plastic folder.
Then draw a design on the top grid, and see if your child can copy on the bottom grid.
Start with straight lines, move onto diagonal lines and then intersecting lines.
If you like make the designs out of matchsticks instead of drawing.
A little post on this chilly day on the fun we can have with pillows, blankets and duvets!
Like I mentioned in one of my recent posts, almost anything can become an item for play, and bedding is no exception!
Here are a few ideas
🛏 Use blankets and pillows, helped by a few pegs to build a fort. A place to hide away is great for a child who needs a cocooned space to regroup. By figuring out how to build, they practise planning skills too.
🤗 Help your child to roll themself up in their duvet (leave head sticking out). The pressure gives wonderful calming input, while the rolling stimulates the vestibular system.. Play a game where they are a sausage roll and you're rolling them up in pastry.
🤼♂️ A pillow fight is great fun. It's good stress relief. It can get testy so supervise if between older/younger siblings. It's also a good opportunity to practise boundaries!
🧍♀️How about putting a pillow inside your t shirts and bumping into each other to build body image and build your sense of where your body starts and ends.
I hope this has sparked your imagination!
Have fun and enjoy a little bit of chaos!
Let's have some fun today and make an egg box caterpillar!
Between breakfasts and baking, our household seems to have accumulated a lot of egg boxes, so have a look at the pics below and have a blast!
By having both structure and creativity, this task allows your child to practise their planning and fine motor skills as well as their more imaginative sides.
Try to guide, but not help too much. Be careful with items like scissors, but also encourage your child to persevere with the trickier parts of the activity, like cutting through the egg box.
Let's talk again about Spatial Concepts today.
Our spatial development starts as we develop an internal concept of how our body fits together, how it relates to the environment and then how objects in the environment relate to each other.
As these skills consolidate, a child is able to manipulate objects for a specific purpose and develop the perceptual concepts they use for interacting with the world, as well as literacy and numeracy.
So here are 5 activities to help your child build their spatial concept.
🐥 Babies and young children benefit from touch and movement input to their bodies. By encouraging them to play in different positions for example on their tummy, kneeling or standing they build a comprehensive picture of them in the environment.
👋 Looking in the mirror and tracing around your child's shape with a whiteboard marker is great fun. Let them fill in the detail and discuss where the different body parts are, for example are your legs above or below your tummy.
🤸♂️ Let them move their body around certain items, for example can you stand on top of the block, or climb under the table.
🔝 Practise putting items relative to other items, for example building blocks. These don't have to be toys for example laying the dinner table allows for great spatial practise.
🖍 Lastly, spatial games on paper. Find a simple picture. Ask them to draw a flower next to a person or a bag in their right hand. Then try patterns, for example draw a circle with a triangle underneath it.
Have fun and have a wonderful Wednesday!
Let's have some fun making COLOURFUL PASTA today!
All you need is pasta of your choice, food colouring, vinegar and a sealable container.
Instructions are in the pics below. If your child is 5 or older, they could probably make this themself.
Once you've made your pasta here are some ideas of how to use it...
🎨 Pop it in a tray and hide some toys amongst it. Let your child handle and dig to find the items.
🎨 Press the pasta into play dough and dig it out again
🎨 Using craft glue, stick the pasta pieces to make a picture.
🎨 Practise threading the pasta onto a stick (nice for younger kids) or a string.
Manipulating and working with the pasta is a great tactile (touch sense) activity, builds fine motor skills,imagination and eye hand coordination.
Have a blast!
Today I'm having fun with the humble BEANBAG!
You're unlikely to find a paeds OT, physio or ECD teacher without this fabulous and flexible piece of equipment!
Beanbags are easy to make, by simply sewing 2 squares of fabric together and filling with beans, seeds, sand or similar.
By making your own beanbags, your child can have different sensory experiences depending on what you fill it with.
A heavier beanbag filled with small beads and held in a child's lap can be wonderfully soothing and regulating. A busy child needing some action can have a blast throwing a beanbag at a target.
In the pics below are just a few ideas of other games you can play with beanbags.
Today's post is about 'Educational Toys'.
Parents often ask me for advice about what sort of toys they should buy for their children that will be best for their education and development.
I'm not convinced there is such a thing as an 'educational' toy, as any toy or item used as a toy has the potential to enhance development, encourage creativity or facilitate problem solving.
I do have some guidelines I use when buying toys for my own practice (or my children when they were younger) or when recommending something to a parent and I'll share these ideas with you.
🌼 Children need a balance of activities throughout the day so I should look at having a variety of toys that would allow them to practice motor skills, sensory exposure, perceptual skills and thinking skills.
🌸 Toys should have more than one use. An example is blocks. I can use blocks for construction (spatial and fine motor skills), practicing colours and counting, patterns (visual perceptual and sequencing skills) or creating (imaginary play).
🌼 Leading from the above, a toy should preferably not be too prescriptive, especially for preschool children. There should be more than one way to use a toy to allow a child to develop play and cognitive skills.
🌸 A toy, especially a pricier one, needs some longevity. I should be able to use it in simple games initially, but be able to use it more complex ways for my developing child. An example of this is a pegboard. A 2 year old can simply put a few pegs in, a 3 year old could practise threading and lacing, a 4 year old could do a few colour sequence, a 5 year old could follow a simple pattern card and so on. This is also great when you have more than one child.
🌼 For preschoolers, a toy should provide a multisensory experience. This means it should be something they can manipulate, feel it's texture, gain visual or auditory stimulation etc. An example might be wooden or plastic shapes where a child can manipulate and experience rather than just see the properties of the shapes.
🌸 A toy should provide for creativity and imagination. A good example is play dough. Aside from fine motor skills, your child can use it in imaginary play (playdough food for example), problem solving (eg calculation or colour mixing) or sensory regulation.
Lastly, a toy doesn't necessarily come from a toy shop. A cardboard box and some paint or kokis can provide hours of fun. And how about a couple of blankets and the kitchen chairs for an afternoon of fort building?
Have a wonderful playful day!
Been having such a fun afternoon with my daughter creating some activities for some toddlers. Hope their carers are going to enjoy doing them with their littlies!
This weekend let's get our bodies moving!
I've included 5 movement challenges in the pics below for your children to try. None of them need any equipment or even much space.
There are some fun ways to do activities like this including...
🤸♂️ Make them part of an obstacle course, for example draw chalk lines for them to hop along to reach each activity
🧚♂️ Play a musical statues type game, and when the music stops they have to do the activity.
🤸♀️ Print out or draw the pics and turn it into a treasure hunt, completing the activity when they find the card. I often introduce children to 'hot' and 'cold' for finding something. So the closer they get to the treasure the 'hotter ' they are.
Credit goes to Super Duper Publications for the activity pics.
Have a lovely weekend!
Today a post about crossing the body midline.
This is the ability to being able to work across the (imaginary) midline of your body. This develops as children learn to use and integrate the 2 sides of their body, and contributes to developing hand preference.
When developing this skill, you want games or activities that naturally require movement across the midline, so often big arm movements can be helpful.
🎾 Swingball. You can even make your own by putting a tennis ball in a stocking and hanging from a tree.
🎨 Painting at an easel. Or even painting with water on a wall or window.
✍ Drawing with pavement chalk
I've included a couple more ideas in the pics. When doing midline activities, try and keep the feet pretty much in the same place, otherwise your child will just step from side to side rather than moving across their midline.
What an icy day in Jhb today! For once I was glad of my buff/mask on my walk!
It's a great day to be in the kitchen, so today let's bake SCONES!
Baking is a great activity for children. They practise skills like planning, measuring, sequencing, patience, concentration and for this recipe, tactile skills.
There are lots of recipes out there but in the pics below is my pretty much flop proof recipe!
Enjoy with a lovely cuppa!
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