Therapist Thursday, Muscle Mover Cards

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L

Every preschool teacher ought to have Muscle Mover Cards for classroom circle time! It’s a great way to get the wiggles out while working on academic skills such as letter recognition and writing skills.

I provide weekly occupational therapy services at a sensory preschool, and Muscle Mover Cards are one of the children’s favorite activities. The instant the kids see the cards all spread out, they eagerly sit down in a circle. To help everyone settle down and focus, I typically start by having the students perform the action as a group. The child who chose the card gets to come back and show off her excellent writing by writing the letter.

I am constantly surprised at the many actions the kids make up for each animal. Grownups could never imagine so many different ways to hang like an orangutan or rock like a turtle!

I choose the uppercase letters for the younger children and the lowercase letters for the older students. In the clinic setting, the older children like to act out the animal, trace the letter and then copy the animal’s name on a vertical surface such as a mirror or chalkboard. We even use the cards in our obstacle courses so that the child uses the animal moves as a means to get from location in the gym to the next. To work on letter recognition, I place the letters face up and ask the child to find a certain letter. Then, she can trace the letter and create a zany animal move!

My friends who are speech therapists are Muscle Movers fans, as well, because of the many oral motor and respiratory benefits. My favorite is to blow like a puffer fish, and the kids also like to purr like a kitten or snort like a hippo!

Trust me, the possibilities are endless with the Muscle Mover Cards! They don’t even require creativity on your part, as the children’s imaginations are always at work!

***Muscle Mover Monday will be back this Monday!!! 

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