Tag Archives: Strengthening

Toy Tuesday: Gum Ball Machine

11 Dec

Hi there! Jeez it’s almost half way through December and I’ve yet to make a post! I can’t believe there are only 14 days until Christmas!! Crazy! My husband and I have been crazy busy these past few weeks. My brother in law got married to the love of his life, we decorated inside and out for Christmas, and have almost finished shopping for gifts! Still working on wrapping up everything… This week is also secret Santa week at work. For 4 days, small little gifts show up on everyone’s desk, all from their secret Santa, then Thursday night we will have a Christmas party at one of our co-workers house and reveal the secret Santa!! Such holiday fun!

This weeks Toy Tuesday is in honor of a coworker and her talent for finding great toys at the Dollar Tree…an inexpensive gum-ball machine. The kids have had such fun with this. It’s great for finger strengthening to use aerosol cans (spray deodorant, etc.) and spray bottles, as well as intrinsic palmar strengthening and bilateral coordination. Also works on grading movement and simple problem solving. Word of warning if you ever end up in a Dollar Tree with a pediatric OT… 😉

Have a great week! Be blessed and be thankful for our Lord and Savior!




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Fine Motor Friday: Syringes and Turkey Basters

23 Nov

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d post an activity using some common Thanksgiving day utensils: a flavor injector and a turkey baster. These tools, along with other syringes and droppers (frequently used for dispensing medicine) make wonderful fine motor strengthening tools. I have used syringes and droppers for many different tasks. One of my favorites is to fill different size containers with water and food coloring to do science experiments and make different colors. Or use your imagination to make various magic potions, good tasting medicine, pretend juice drinks, etc. It takes strength, coordination, and control to fill the syringe/dropper and empty it over the target without spilling or overfilling. You could even draw a line on the container to practice filling to the line. Have the child use a 3-jaw chuck or tip-tip pinch to squeeze to strengthen and facilitate disassociation. Many pharmacies will give you extra syringes and droppers, or sell them to you for cheap. Have fun!

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Fine Motor Friday: Bowling Pins

16 Nov

It’s Friday!!! Another week has gone by. How was your week? Mine was great. Lots of fun at work, a fabulous 90-day review at my new job (yay, off probation!), and some quality time spent with my lovely husband. On Tuesday, a co-worker and I travel about 90 miles to a near-by town to treat kids in the school district. We see every child who receives OT in the entire district in one day. Crazy, huh? Well this week, they had early release for UIL competition. We had to leave at 6:30 in the morning, but we were home by 2:00. Can’t beat that! Especially when I’m not usually home until 6:30!

Time to feature a fine motor activity. I love this one. You can use any small manipulative that you have. In the picture I used tiny bowling pins, but I’ve used pencil top erasers, (you know, the pointy ones that often break right in half?), wine corks, etc. Have the child use one in each hand (using a lovely tip-tip grasp or lateral grasp, whichever you need to work on more) to pick up small items (blocks, dice, etc) and create a structure (tower, pyramid, etc.). Great for bilateral coordination, grading of pressure/force, visual motor skills, grasp development and strengthening, and so much more! Have fun!



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Toy Tuesday: Y-Volution YFliker

13 Nov

Hi there! Happy Tuesday! 🙂 For this week, I decided to google “Top toys for 2012” in an attempt to see what toys are going to be popular for Christmas. Out of this list, my goal was to find at least 1 toy that could be used therapeutically (other than some form of an electronic tablet!) I stumbled across Toys-R-Us (too bad I can’t reverse the “R” 😉 Fabulous 15 2012 Holiday Hot Toy List with the 15 Hottest Toys for Christmas. I was shocked at some of the toys on the list, and not at all surprised by others.

Shocking: Furby…seriously?!?!?!?! A Furby??!?!?! Those things were popular when I was little! Well I guess they’re back, and better than ever. Here is the description of what the Furby does these days: “Talk to it, tickle it, play music for it, even feed it! But keep in mind – your Furby will develop its own personality based on how you treat it. Because Furby speaks both English and Furbish, a FREE downloadable App is available that will help you translate Furbish! This App is optional and works with iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone with iOS 4.2 or later.” Furby now has his own App! Furby is ready for the 21st century. Let’s see how popular they become…

The other items did not surprise me at all: various dolls, Jake and the Neverlands Pirate toy, girly Designer Studio, LeapPad, remote control car, LEGO: Ninjago, Skylanders, Wii U, and a Tabeo tablet.

So which toy to feature?? The Y-Volution YFliker FI Scooter won the prize! It’s kind of like a roller racer, but standing not sitting. It’s awesome. I totally want to try one myself.

Click here to watch a video advertisement: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/yvolution-brings-number-one-selling-y-fliker-scooters-and-popular-european-designed-y-glider-preschool-scooters-from-the-uk-to-america-169970796.html

The YFliker Scooter is a self-propelling ‘lean to steer’ scooter that improves weight shifting, trunk disassociation, bilateral coordination, balance, motor planning, strength, and offers vestibular input. It would be appropriate for many ages! It’s slightly pricey at $79, but it gets kids up, outside, moving, interacting with peers or family members! I love that this is on the top toys of 2012 list. Don’t get me wrong, every toy on this list has a time and a place, but I just can’t pass by the one toy that requires movement!

What toy would you feature, and why?

Comes in pink too!

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Mouthwash Fun

14 Oct

Hello there! Today I’m sharing an activity I learned from the first placed I worked as an OT. It’s a great activity, cheap, re-useable, and fun!

Supplies: ACT Mouthwash for kids (or any kind that has the capability of squeezing only a certain amount into the top), and a container.


Have the child squeeze the bottle to fill the top of the bottle with mouthwash. You can have the child use both hands, or just his dominant hand, depending on current strength and end goal. Talk to the child about grading the amount of force used to squeeze the bottle so there is no spillage. It’s fun to watch the level of the mouthwash change if too much is squeezed. This can teach the child how to control and grade their hand strength.


Next step is pour into a container. You can have them pour into a large container, small container, various containers, etc. depending on their goals. It’s a great activity to work towards the skill of being able to pour their own milk, juice, etc. You could even use dixie cups labeled with their name or phone number to work on sequencing.


Have the child do as many repetitions of this as possible to increase hand strength. Sometimes making a fill line, or using small containers to try to fill them up is some good motivation!

Once full, to put the fluid back in the bottle, all you do is turn it upside down and squeeze some more! The bottle will refill itself! It does take a little bit of work from the therapist at the end to get all of the liquid back into the bottle.


Other things to discuss during the activity could include: what is mouth wash used for, using mouth wash at home, counting the number of seconds the child can squeeze in a row, adding food coloring to the liquid to change the color, etc.

It helps that Sponge Bob is on the front too… 🙂

Have fun!

Fine Motor Friday!

13 Oct

Hi guys! Jeez it feels like it’s been so long since I’ve posted. My week has been crazy, but I’m back and I have a new idea for Friday posts: Fine Motor Friday!

Fine Motor Button

For the first one, I would like to share an idea from my awesome co-worker, yes…again! She needs to start her own blog!

Supplies: 1 pumpkin, lots of thumb tacks!

This is a fantastic idea and very appropriate for the fall! I absolutely love this!!!! What a great way to work on fine motor skills through resistive strengthening, sequencing, precision, and safety! She could even use colored thumb tacks to create patterns, a jack-o-lantern face, etc. WAHOO for fine motor skills and YAY for pumpkins!!



Happy fall!

Super Duper Handy Handouts & OTis

1 Oct

I absolutely love free, awesome, printables…yes, I said free! These handouts are great for brief education to parents, caregivers, and teachers. I keep a copy of the ones I use the most in clear sleeves in a binder. Then I can just send it through the copier when I want to give it to someone.


Handy Handouts are a component of Super Duper Inc., a great place to purchase toys, games, and other learning materials.


One of my favorite, and very unique, things off of this Web site is the Yogarilla Exercise and Activities Card Deck. OTis, the OT gorilla, teaches traditional and original yoga poses in an exciting way! 55 yoga poses, color-coded by starting positions, and 110 activities compile this colorfully illustrated card deck. Yoga has been shown to help children understand how their bodies and minds work together. The yoga poses (10 standing, 10 seated, 10 prone, 10 spine, and 10 hands and knees) help to improve fine and gross motor skills, sensory processing, attention, communication, and cognition. Also included are: 3 partner poses (two children work together in a pose) and 2 breathing poses (improve awareness of breath and breath support). Check it out! All I need to go with my cards is a stuffed toy Gorilla in an OT t-shirt!


Hope you enjoy!

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