9 Simple OT activities for busy parents

I think many parents out there are mistaken that the key to good handwriting is more writing. On the contrary, there are a lot of skills required before a child is able to write well. When I attended the workshop conducted by C’s intervention school, I got to learn that we need five components of sensory system to assist in handwriting. They are tactile (touch), Proprioceptive (Body awareness), Auditory (Hearing), Vestibular (Balance and movement) and Visual (Seeing).

To assist C in building these skills I try to do mummy’s OT. I am not trained in this area but some activities are done based on my own instinct as a mother or educator, others are from sites, workshops and parents.

Below are a few activities I have done with C over the years to help with his acquisition of these skills:

I've mentioned before how pouring requires balance, which in turns build on handwriting. C has a set of these bottles in the bathroom.
Pouring helps with the strengthening of the wrists and hands, which in turns helps with handwriting. C has a set of these bottles in the bathroom. I purposely chose bottles of different sizes and mouth to work with his grip as well as visual perception when pouring the water or soap water into different bottles. As he grows older, I can explain to him why water from the smallest bottle cannot fill the cup fully, etc.
First activity: Colour reels from Early Learning Centre and shoe laces from Cotton On. I get C to throw a dice into a box and he has to thread the number that appears using the reels and thread. Second activity: Clothe pegs and plastic party bowls. I indicate one dot on one side of the peg, and two dots for the other. This is to let C know that the thumb is for the one dot, and the index and middle finger is for the two dots. Note: we started from clipping papers to cardboard to plastic bowl. This is to increase the difficulty in the task as he gains mastery.
First activity: Colour reels from Early Learning Centre and shoe laces from Cotton On, which is essentially threading. This activity helps with C’s visual-motor skills or simply, eye-hand coordination. I get C to throw a dice into a box and he has to thread the number that appears using the reels and lace. Second activity: Clothe pegs and plastic party bowls. This activity helps with C’s fine motor skills. I indicate one dot on one side of the peg, and two dots for the other. This is to let C know that the thumb is for the one dot, and the index and middle finger is for the two dots. Note: we started from clipping papers to cardboard to plastic bowl. This is to increase the difficulty in the task as he gains mastery.
I get C to help out with various things in the kitchen. We started with washing of cherry tomatoes to rice, followed by pouring jelly mixtures to sifting flour for baking.
I get C to help out with various things in the kitchen. We started with washing of cherry tomatoes to rice, followed by pouring jelly mixtures to sifting flour for baking. Rule of thumb: Always start with the easiest activity and slowly move on to more difficult ones. These activities helps with the strengthening of the trunk, shoulder, wrist, and hand strengthening. Also, with activities such as sifting and pouring of jelly mixtures, the child needs a lot of eye-hand coordination.
I think the photo montage says it all. C has been to many playgrounds in Singapore, be it outdoor or indoor ones. I like to find playgrounds with bridges and ladders. C used to fear bridges a lot but he has progressed tremendously over the years. We started with hand holding, to side rail holding, to independent walking, and finally running and jumping across the bridge. It has taken close to two years but it's worthwhile.
I think the photo montage says it all. C has been to many playgrounds in Singapore, be it outdoor or indoor ones. I like to find playgrounds with bridges and ladders. C used to fear bridges a lot but he has progressed tremendously over the years. We started with hand holding, to side rail holding, to independent walking, and finally running and jumping across the bridge. It has taken close to two years but it’s worthwhile. Apart from the strengthening of his trunk, shoulder, wrist and hand, C has definitely built up a lot of confidence. Oh yah, for that small photo on the left, for a while, I used to make C carry two buckets and walk along the walkway. It began with empty buckets to having objects filled in them. Sometimes, I will use a chalk and draw on the pavement outside our home and get C to walk along the line with the buckets. Parents who do not have thick skin might not want to do this activity as it attracts a lot of onlookers. Again, I think being able to balance helps with his visual-perception and balancing skills.
First activity: I get C to help out with the household chores. I do not expect him to do an awesome job but I believe there are skill sets to be learnt from participating in cleaning up together. Second activity: C is crazy about blocks. Mega blocks. Lego blocks. Magnet blocks. I think building blocks help with creativity and teaches them about balance. Third activity: We paint quite a bit but not the artist type. I started C with dropper paint at the table in the kitchen and also in the toilet ( I know some OCD parents might shiver at such a thought but it makes cleaning up easier.
First activity: I get C to help out with the household chores. I do not expect him to do an awesome job but I believe there are skill sets to be learnt from participating in cleaning up together from using the magic mop, wiping the tables and cupboards to washing his paint palette. Second activity: C is crazy about blocks. Mega blocks. Lego blocks. Magnet blocks. I think building blocks help with creativity and teaches him about mathematical concepts. It also builds his patience. Third activity: We paint quite a bit but not the artist type. I started C with dropper paint at the table in the kitchen and also in the toilet ( I know some OCD parents might shiver at such a thought but it makes cleaning up easier.) Dropper helps with pincer grip. When C could use the dropper with ease, we move on to brushes, sponges, carrots and potatoes.

Last words…

I am not a firm believer in following certain methods or pedagogy strictly. I think our children are the key to the approaches and methods we should use in teaching them. In thinking of all these activities, I always think of fun and laughter as well. I think kids should enjoy what they are doing. While there are certain things we have to be firm, note I use the word firm, not strict, I think being overly rigid actually defeats the teaching and learning.

If you’re in a bad mood that day, consider postponing the activity to another. And before seeing your child either in the morning or after work, remember to take a deep breathe, close your eyes, open them, smile to your child and say a big hullo!

Kids are sensitive beings, they know when we are unhappy, thus, no matter how we feel, let’s start our day or end our day with them with a happy smile or hullo. It makes our day different, and it will make theirs too!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s