Posts tagged ‘Motor Planning’

10 Ways to Play With. . . Part 4 of 4

Many of the children we see at our clinics have difficulty with motor planning.  Motor planning is a complex skill which allows a person to generate an idea for a motor action, efficiently time and sequence the movements necessary, grade the force required, and execute the action.  Children who have a hard time with the ideation phase of motor planning may tend to play the same activities over and over or struggle to come up with multiple solutions to a problem.  Open-ended free play is a great way to stretch this ability; however, a child who truly has a motor planning deficit will likely need some guidance and encouragement along the way.   Here are some suggestions to help you look at novel ways to play with toys or items you may already have in your home.   As you’re playing, ask your child questions like “What else could this be?” and praise their efforts to think outside the box.­­­

10 Ways to Play with a Beach Ball

  1. Set up a goal to kick the ball into, or for something new, challenge your child to use a different body part, like an elbow, to knock the ball into the goal.
  2. Grab a laundry basket and play a target game.
  3. Take on a multi-step challenge. The first person picks an action, such as bouncing the ball one time.  The next person bounces the ball one time, and then adds a step, like turning around holding the ball. The game continues, adding on more and more steps.  How many can you remember?
  4. Set up an obstacle course to maneuver the ball through.
  5. Kangaroo kicks: Have your child lie down on his back and prop up his body on his elbows.  Stand a few feet away (more if you have a child who tends to use too much force) and toss the ball for him to kick with the soles of his feet back to you.
  6. Write sensory diet activities recommended by your therapist on different areas of the ball. Toss the ball back and forth a few times, then do the action written on the area facing upward.
  7. Stand up some blocks and go bowling.
  8. Play the game ”keep it up”. How many times can you tap the ball up before it falls to the ground?
  9. Team work relay. Can your child and a friend work together to get the ball across the room by holding the ball between their hips?  Behind their backs?
  10. Pool noodle hockey. Have any pool noodles that survived the summer?  Repurpose them into hockey sticks for the beach ball.beach ball
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10 Ways to Play With. . . Part 3 of 4

Many of the children we see at our clinics have difficulty with motor planning.  Motor planning is a complex skill which allows a person to generate an idea for a motor action, efficiently time and sequence the movements necessary, grade the force required, and execute the action.  Children who have a hard time with the ideation phase of motor planning may tend to play the same activities over and over or struggle to come up with multiple solutions to a problem.  Open-ended free play is a great way to stretch this ability; however, a child who truly has a motor planning deficit will likely need some guidance and encouragement along the way.   Here are some suggestions to help you look at novel ways to play with toys or items you may already have in your home.   As you’re playing, ask your child questions like “What else could this be?” and praise their efforts to think outside the box.­­­

10 Ways to Play with a Jump Rope

  1. Remember any jump rope rhymes from your childhood? If not, here’s a list .
  2. Wiggle the rope along the ground like a snake. Don’t let it bite you!
  3. Tie the rope between two chairs and play limbo.
  4. Have one person stand and slowly spin holding the rope so that it drags along the ground in a circle. The other players need to jump over the rope as it comes by.
  5. Pretend to be pirates and use the rope to tie up your captives.
  6. Pretend to be a cowboy. Learn to tie a lasso here.  Wrangle up some stuffed animals before they escape the ranch.
  7. Lay the rope on the ground in a circle and play a target game.
  8. Arrange the rope on the floor in different shapes and have the other players guess what the figure is.
  9. Stretch the rope out on the ground. Can you walk across the tightrope without falling into the canyon?
  10. Have a three legged race.2895685127_d257ab23e6_z

10 Ways to Play With. . . Part 2 of 4

Many of the children we see at our clinics have difficulty with motor planning.  Motor planning is a complex skill which allows a person to generate an idea for a motor action, efficiently time and sequence the movements necessary, grade the force required, and execute the action.  Children who have a hard time with the ideation phase of motor planning may tend to play the same activities over and over or struggle to come up with multiple solutions to a problem.  Open-ended free play is a great way to stretch this ability; however, a child who truly has a motor planning deficit will likely need some guidance and encouragement along the way.   Here are some suggestions to help you look at novel ways to play with toys or items you may already have in your home.   As you’re playing, ask your child questions like “What else could this be?” and praise their efforts to think outside the box.­­­

10 Ways to Play with Pillows

  1. Pretend to be frogs and jump lily pad to lily pad.
  2. Arrange the pillows as targets and toss crumpled up paper or balled up socks.
  3. Make a pillow path on the ground and walk on top of them, making sure you don’t fall off and step in the lava.
  4. Have a red light, green light pillow fight. Everyone has to stop when “red light” is called and swing the pillows in slow motion during a “yellow light”.
  5. Grab some couch cushions and build a pillow fort.
  6. Substitute pillows for chairs and play musical pillows.
  7. Make an obstacle course with pillows to jump over, skip around, roll across, etc.
  8. Use the pillow case for a potato sack race.
  9. Sing the “Wonder Ball” song and substitute a pillow.
  10. Have a snowball fight with crumpled newspaper. Defend yourself with a pillow shield.pillow stack

10 Ways to Play With. . . Part 1 of 4

Many of the children we see at our clinics have difficulty with motor planning.  Motor planning is a complex skill which allows a person to generate an idea for a motor action, efficiently time and sequence the movements necessary, grade the force required, and execute the action.  Children who have a hard time with the ideation phase of motor planning may tend to play the same activities over and over or struggle to come up with multiple solutions to a problem.  Open-ended free play is a great way to stretch this ability; however, a child who truly has a motor planning deficit will likely need some guidance and encouragement along the way.   Here are some suggestions to help you look at novel ways to play with toys or items you may already have in your home.   As you’re playing, ask your child questions like “What else could this be?” and praise their efforts to think outside the box.­­­

10 Ways to Play with a Blanket

  1. Make a fort by draping the blanket over a group of chairs.
  2. Create a quiet reading tent by draping a large blanket over a table.
  3. Use it like a parachute. Place small stuffed animals in the middle and have each person hold a corner and bounce the animals around.
  4. Pretend to be the king or queen with a long royal robe.
  5. Pretend to be a super hero with a cape.
  6. Play a memory game. Spread 3-5 objects on the floor and see how many your child can remember when the blanket covers them up.
  7. Go on a magic carpet ride. What do you see as you fly along?
  8. Have a tug-of-war battle.
  9. Guess the mystery object. Have your child put his hand under the blanket and without him seeing the object, place something small in his hand and ask him to guess what it is.  Cotton balls, coins, buttons, lego pieces, and paper clips are great for this activity.
  10. Go for a sled ride. Have your child sit on a blanket and gently drag him through the house.

blanket

Real Life “Apps”

6973909315_2eea88e306_mIt’s no secret that many children enjoy playing on their parents’ phones and tablets. While there are many apps that help teach problem solving skills or work on fine motor and visual perceptual skills, there are huge benefits from “real” play. Studies have shown toddlers and children learn better when actively engaged in play. You can use some of the themes and challenges of your child’s favorite apps by translating them to reality. Here are some ideas to start:

Angry Birds: save boxes from cereal, rice, and spaghetti. Weigh down the boxes by placing a baggie with a small amount of rice or sand inside the box and tape it shut. Gather small stuffed animals or socks to take the place of the pigs and use bean bags or balls to act as birds. Have your child build his own fortress for the pigs with the boxes, adding other items such as cookie sheets or plastic cutting boards for additional reinforcement. Then bomb birds away! How many birds will it take to demolish the pig’s fortress?

Mario Kart: create your own race track with obstacles. Mark a start/finish line with a beach towel on the ground and arrange garden hoses or long ropes on the ground in a large oval to indicate the borders of the track. Use placemats, Frisbees or cones as obstacles to avoid. Have your child ride his bike or push his scooter around the track and reward points based on time and accuracy.

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Apps We Love: Monkey Drum

App Name: Monkey Drum

Why We Love It:monkey drum

This is yet another adorable and free app that we love. To play, the child taps on a bongo drum or hits keys on a xylophone to make her own rhythm or song. Then the monkey will imitate the exact song the child played. This can be a great tool for children learning cause and effect. We also use this with older children who are working on motor planning and timing. You can tap out a short rhythm, the monkey will imitate it, and then your child can attempt to recreate the same rhythm.

Why Kids Love It:

As you play your song or rhythm, the monkey will smile, clap and dance which engages the children. After a long song, or several shorter ones, a banana falls from the tree and the child can feed it to the monkey. He might launch it into the air or catch it in his mouth. Feeding the monkey bananas earns points to unlock other characters, instruments or accessories.

Available: iTunes FREE or Monkey Drum Deluxe (instruments and characters unlocked) $3.99

Apps We Love: Super Stretch Yoga

App Name: Super Stretch Yoga

Why We Love It:SuperStretch yoga

This is a great introduction to 12 simple yoga poses. Super Stretch is a yoga superhero who guides the children through each movement. Each pose is described in kid-friendly, positive language, then a video is shown of real children — not actors with perfect form — as they attempt the poses. The sequence moves from alerting movements with head inversion, to organizing movement with flexion and static positions.

Why Kids Love It:

Super Stretch is narrated by a young boy with an energetic voice. The cartoons representing each pose, such as an elephant dipping his trunk in water, are easy to carryover into the movement. The fact that the app developers used children who look and act like peers learning the movements is empowering for children who struggle with balance and coordination.

Available: iTunes FREE, Also available in Spanish