Muscle Mover Monday…Uppercase Q

It’s Monday morning!  Let’s get a move on!

Start your week with Fundanoodle’s award-winning Muscle Mover cards! Children can act out the movement from the cards to get the wiggles out, and then the fun continues by tracing the letter on the back of the dry erase card. Make sure to continue the blended learning by encourage the child to say the stroke movement out loud when they practice forming the letter.

We are going through the letters according to our I Can Write Uppercase! activity book and today’s letter is Uppercase Q!

Buzz around to the top

Hop Down to the middle

Zoom Out

Q_QuailBack

Whistle like a Quail!

Q_Quail

Therapist Thursday: Tricks for Teaching Correct Pencil Grasp

Today’s Therapist Thursday comes from Christie at MamaOT.com.  Christie is a California-based mom and occupational therapist with a background in gymnastics, psychology, and education. We love her tips and tricks for teaching correct pencil grasp and her unique perspective on all things Pediatric OT!

how to hold a pencil

Pencil grip is one of those things that is really hard to re-teach if kids initially learn it incorrectly. Though every child will end up settling on a pencil grip that works best for him or her, introducing the standard “tripod” grasp (pinching with thumb and index finger while resting on middle finger) is a good place to start. However, this can seem virtually impossible when you’re dealing with five- and six-year-olds who don’t even know their left from right, let alone how to divide up their fingers into different positions.

Given the tricky nature of pencil holding — and its impact on kids’ handwriting skills — I thought I’d share a few OT-based tricks so you can help kids learn how to hold their pencil correctly.

Trick #1: Use shorter pencils.
how to hold a pencil
A shorter pencil means less space for cramming in unnecessary fingers. It basically forces kids to pinch with thumb and index finger. This is why occupational therapists often have kids use crayons that have been broken in half if they are having trouble using an age-appropriate grasp. Click here to read more about why kids should use shorter crayons.

Trick #2: Teach them the “pinch and flip”.

If shorter pencils don’t do the trick for your little writer, then teach them the “pinch and flip”. Simply have them pinch the sharpened end of the pencil and then flip it around until it gently rests in the “webspace” (that soft skin between your thumb and index finger) in the ready position. To watch a video for a quick demonstration and to find out the 3rd trick please read the original post.

Thanks MamaOT!

Muscle Mover Monday…Uppercase G

It’s Monday morning!  Let’s get a move on!

Start your week with Fundanoodle’s award-winning Muscle Mover cards! Children can act out the movement from the cards to get the wiggles out, and then the fun continues by tracing the letter on the back of the dry erase card. Make sure to continue the blended learning by encourage the child to say the stroke movement out loud when they practice forming the letter.

We are going through the letters according to our I Can Write Uppercase! activity book and today’s letter is Uppercase G!

Buzz Around

Zip In

Fundanoodle by Carolina Pad Upper Case G Practice

Stretch like a Giraffe!

Fundanoodle by Carolina Pad Muscle Mover Upper Case G

Therapist Thursday: Summer Letters

Today’s Therapist Thursday post comes from Amy Bumgarner, one of the rockstar Pediatric Occupational Therapists that created Fundanoodle. We love her ideas for incorporating letters into your child’s summer play!

It is getting hot, hot, hot in Charlotte, NC! My kids and I are looking for cool activities this summer!  How about you?

Here are some “cool” ways to practice handwriting this summer!

Sponge painting with water: Using letter shaped sponges have your child practice writing words with water soaked sponges. See if they can write the word before it dries up on the hot driveway! For extra fun you could build your own letters with sponge pieces. Use the I Can Build Upper Case Kit as a model.

spongeletter

Sidewalk chalk: Sidewalk chalk is a great way to work on large muscle movements for writing.  Kids love it! You can have extra fun with sidewalk chalk by getting the tip of the sidewalk chalk wet for bolder colors.  Have fun making hopscotch with letters, playing hangman, and practice writing letters.  This is fun break in between pool and sprinkler fun!

Ice cubes and letters: Freeze small letters (such as magnetic letters) in ice cubes.  Then have fun building words with the letters before they melt in the sun.  How many words can you build before they melt?

icecubeletters

Write letters on the ground or a vertical surface, such as the fence, with sidewalk chalk. As you call out a letter, your child gets to squirt the letter off with a water squirter. Spray bottles make a great hand strengthening activity, too.  For older kids, he or she has to say a word that starts with that letter before he or she can squirt the letter off.

Sensory bin: I always love a good sensory bin!  Have fun taking this one outside.  You can use a small kiddie pool, cooler, any tub, or water table.  Fill it with water, bubbles, water toys, and plastic letters.  Little ones can find all of a specific color letters, older children can find a specific letter, and even older children can find all the letters to spell a specific word.

sensorybinAmy Bumgarner, OTR/L

 

Charlotte Today: Indoor Activities

Our Director of Monkey Business April was featured on Charlotte Today this morning discussing some fun indoor activities when your monkeys need a break from the heat.

IMG_1403When it is too hot to even go to the pool or a summer storm ruins your outdoor fun, head inside and ignore the screen with these fun, educational and motor sensory developing ideas.

Children need plenty of short, fun activities that will allow them to use their hands and develop hand/eye coordination in a way that swiping a screen just cannot do! And it’s a bonus if these activities also develop and support letter and number recognition and formation, math skills, color identification and more.

{These ideas work with children ages 3-5.}

Letter Recognition and Practice:

Here are fun letter activities for children before even putting a pencil in their hand to write letters. And if your older child complains when it’s time to practice handwriting you can pull out these fun tools and they won’t realize they are “working!”

  1. Use shaving cream on a cookie sheet  or in the bathroom to write letters, sight words and more. IMG_1410
  2. Create sensory bags filled with gel or shaving cream and trace letters of name, names of people in house, vowels, constants, etc.IMG_1409
  3. Hide and find letters with large letter magnets in sand for younger kids or smaller ones in play dough or molding dough for older kids. Turn it into a game to see who can find the most vowels or consonants, once you find them all see who can make the most words out of the found letters.IMG_1407
  4. Use Fundanoodle Muscle Mover cards for engaging activities to get the wiggles out before using the back to build letters with play dough and pipe cleaners.groupmusclemovertherapistthursdaypic
  5. Use Fundanoodle I Can Build kits and I Can Pound kit to build hand strength and letter recognition. Sara Erwin Pounding

Math, Shapes and Numbers Practice:

  1. Use clothes pins for a homemade sorting game.  Roll a dice and use the clothes pin to pick up pom poms or other small items and sort into cups or containers for young children to work on counting and sorting, greater than and less than. With older children you can use cards with math signs (plus, minus, equal) and create simple math problems with the pins or other items. IMG_1411
  2. Use puppets for picking up items to work pincher grip and hand strength.  Use a timer to pick up items and move them into cups and then count the items and determine who has less and more. You can then sort colors and even make charts of the colors.IMG_1412
  3. Have a race to fill cups by having children guess how many beads (or other materials such as beans) will fill the cup then count them to see how close you are. You can also use a dice to roll and fill cups based on numbers or time how long it takes.bead cups
  4. Use Fundanoodle bead cards for shape and color recognition.
  5. Have squirt bottle races  in big pot or the bath tub with floating bath toys. Move the toys with the squirt bottle to the other side (this is great hand strength!) as a race or guess how many squirts it will take or which things move faster or slower. This is also great outside in a baby pool!squirt-bottle-races-2_thumb

What other fun indoor activities are you doing with your children this summer?

To watch the clip from the show click here: http://www.wcnc.com/charlotte-today/Pre-school-games-263497081.html

Muscle Mover Monday…Uppercase C!

It’s Monday morning!  Let’s get a move on!

Start your week with Fundanoodle’s award-winning Muscle Mover cards! Children can act out the movement from the cards to get the wiggles out, and then the fun continues by tracing the letter on the back of the dry erase card. Make sure to continue the blended learning by encourage the child to say the stroke movement out loud when they practice forming the letter.

We are going through the letters according to our I Can Write Uppercase! activity book and today’s letter is Uppercase C!

Buzz Around

C_CowBack

Moo like a Cow!

C_Cow

Therapist Thursday: What Does Sensory Really Mean?

Today’s Therapist Thursday comes from Pam at The Inspired Treehouse, a team of three moms and pediatric therapists who believe that with a little help, kids can build strong, healthy bodies and minds through play. The Inspired Treehouse is passionate about creating activities and sharing knowledge to promote development and wellness in kids.

sensory-processing-1024x1024

Getting messy is a wonderful play experience for young children and highly encouraged here at the Treehouse.  But sensory integration is a lot more complicated than just getting your hands dirty.  Here’s a quick glimpse into the world of sensory processing.

The senses send information to a child’s nervous system where it is then processed in order to generate a response.  A sensory experience can “rewire” the brain, helping a child understand his environment more clearly and making him feel safe.  Or, it can be overwhelming, causing him to become defensive and withdrawn.  And, just to make things a little more complicated, no two children will ever respond to a sensory experience in exactly the same way.  For example, if I offer GAK or putty to two children, one child may squeeze it tightly running it through his fingers, enjoying the cold wet feel.  The other child may drop it immediately, irritated by the same sensation.  This is what sensory means – the way the body receives, analyzes, and responds to the signals it gets from its environment.

Does your child withdraw from certain types of play?  Does he have extreme adverse reactions to certain sensory experiences?  If so, talk to your child’s doctor or school to see if occupational therapy services might be beneficial.  An occupational therapist (OT) is trained in sensory integration and can help you learn to guide your child through sensory experiences in a safe, playful, and non-threatening manner.  The end goal is for the child to have a strong, stable, and healthy sense of himself in his environment.

Encourage your child to experience touch, sounds, sights, tastes, and all different kinds of movement during play.  Thoughtful, guided exposure to playful sensory experiences is the best way to promote healthy development of the sensory system, ensuring that little bodies learn to process, integrate, and generate appropriate responses to the sensory information in their environments.

For further information, visit some of our favorite sensory based articles and websites.
Family Education: What is Sensory Integration?
The Out-of-Sync-Child
Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

Pam is a mother of two children, Jack (7) and Ella (5) and has  been an occupational therapist since 1997. She has worked in several environments including pediatric inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, step down NICU, and currently school based for the past 8 years. This quote has traveled with Pam to each desk she has claimed while being an OT and helps her stay focused both in her career and as a mom.  “A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person who passes by leaves a mark.” For more information on the therapists at The Inspired Treehouse click here.