Fine Motor Apples

by Katy

This is an extremely simple activity that helps children address two important areas of development: fine motor and sensory.

You will need a plain sheet of paper, a piece of card stock, a hole puncher, and a green crayon or marker.

Punch as many holes as you can in the card stock.

Place the card stock on top of your white sheet of paper.

Take red finger paint and guide your child to work it into each hole. Help your child isolate their pointed finger as they do this. The slippery/slimy texture of the paint is one that often poses a problem for kids with sensory issues, so don’t be surprised if they resist. Try to finish the activity, though. While we were doing the activity, Charlie, who often strongly resists finger painting, took such an interest in those little holes that he seemed to forget that he was touching his nemesis: finger paint.

Lift the card stock and wait for all your circles to dry.

Once the paint is dry, allow your child to draw green stems with the crayon/marker. Let them do it alone if they can, guide them if they are unable.

I you do have to help your child draw the stems, be sure to guide them in the most natural way possible. Show them a downward stroke even though it might feel strange depending on where you are standing while you help them.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Working With Sensory Issues

by Katy

There are a lot of kids out there with different kinds of sensory issues–sometimes it’s related to another condition like Autism or Brain Injury, but some children deal with only sensory issues. In any case, it can be hard to know where to start, and recently a reader here at No Time for Flashcards asked about the types of things I do with my son to work on his issues.

I’m not a doctor or a therapist, but I learned this activity from one of the many fantastic Early Interventionists that worked with Charlie when he was young.

First you need to collect several things that have different textures and a piece of cardboard. For this activity I sent my husband to the dollar store with five bucks and told him to buy red things with different textures. He came back with some interesting choices, but I won’t complain because I took a nap while he was at the store.

We’re studying fruit right now, so I cut out my cardboard into the shape of an apple. Then I glued down all of our different textured stuff. You don’t have to do a particular shape for this project–you can just use a plain piece of cardboard.

After everything is dry, present your child with the board. Take their hand and gently guide them through touching all of the different textures. Note which textures upset them. If a texture seems especially horrible, try having them touch it with the backs of their hand. You might also try both hands and see if one handles textures better than the other. My son is more experimental with his right hand than his left.

If you notice that some textures are tough, remember them because these are the ones that you will have to work on with your child more and more.

Present the board to your child several times. See if some textures improve with more exposure. These are all hints that will help your child get more comfortable with new and different textures.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Ice Fishing and Color Mixing !

To tell you the truth I didn’t plan this activity, I saw the fishing net , wanted to do something with it and didn’t have much for my son to catch so instead I made some ice.  To make it more fun we colored the ice, then to make it more educational we made them red and yellow to create orange ! It was a big hit and not as big a mess as I feared .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a bin or tub, a ice cube tray , food coloring , a fish net ( or soup ladle) and water. You will also need plain ice for the second part.
  2. Start by putting a few drops of food coloring in your ice tray – half one color, half the other. 
  3. Add water and freeze.
  4. Fill your tub with water – ours was too warm, the ice melted so quickly the color mixing was fast. When I do it again I will use cold water so it’s a slower mix.
  5. When ice firm, show it to your child and tell them you are going to put it in the water. Ask them to make a prediction about what will happen to the ice when it is in the water, what will happen to the water ?  Pop it in!
  6. Mix and catch with net.
  7. Pop in more plain ice to “fish” – my son had fun with the color mixing but the extension of the activity was the real fun.

DIY Eye Spy Bag

by Katy

Have you seen Eye Spy Pillows? They are these little pillows that have a clear window in them that allows you to see the stuffing. Inside, the pillow has all these tiny objects floating around inside the stuffing. They’re really great for younger kids who are still considered a choking risk because they can see the little pieces, but they can’t put them in their mouth.

Well, we do a lot of activities around here, so I didn’t want a special pillow for just one segment. Also, I’m cheap (you guys should know this by now), so I decided to make my own.

For this project you will need a zip lock bag, some small plastic items, duct tape, and bottle of clear body wash. For my plastic items I chose bugs because that’s what we were studying at the time. I found the clear body wash at Walmart.

So you fill your zip lock bag with the plastic items. Note: I chose slightly larger plastic items because my son has some vision issues. If your child doesn’t have vision issues, I’d encourage you to do many more small items.

Then you add a LOT of clear body wash.

Next, seal the zip lock.

Then, place the duct tape over the zip lock seal for extra protection (that sounds like a deodorant commercial).

Allow your child to explore bag and find all the different plastic items inside.

My son has some sensory sensitivity, so he found the bag especially disgusting. His mom is mean and made him play with it anyway.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Puffy Paint Earth Day Craft

easy earth day craft for kids

My plan was to make Saturn and start teaching my son about space but he asked if he could make planet Earth so I grabbed the shaving cream and this easy Earth Day craft is what we ended up making. What a hit! It’s so simple even young toddlers ( provided they are past the eating everything stage) could do this with minimal adult help. Saturn will get made sometime soon , he had so much fun making our planet and we still got to talk and learn about space.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some shaving cream, white glue, green paint,scissors, a marker, blue paper, a spoon, and container or bowl.
  2. Start by mixing your paint. You will need 3 parts shaving cream to 1 part white glue, and green paint . Use as much green paint as you need to get the color you want.
  3. While they mix it up, draw a circle on your blue paper.
  4. Paint. It might get messy but it will definitely be fun! 
  5. My son preferred to scoop the paint on to his hand and slap it down. 
  6. While the paint was drying my son used the extra paint to make another painting !
  7. Let dry and cut out. The paint will dry puffy !

Books About Space !