Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Check out this Find Your Balance Challenge grant for elementary school children grades kindergarten through 5th. A mentor (teacher or therapist) and students work together to form a plan to balance nutrition with physical activity. The grant application process is open until 1/31/13.
This would be a wonderful activity to do for a pediatric occupational or physical therapy group. You could have the students set goals, provide information and carry out a plan to help their school find a healthy balance. Even if you did not win the grant, this is an excellent idea to implement at your school. Read more at the Together Counts website.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Here are 10 ideas to use clothes pins with craft sticks. These are inexpensive activities to create to use in the classroom setting while encouraging strengthening of the hand muscles. Use them for academics, sensory diets, emotions and coordination.
Head over to www.YourTherapySource.com/freeclothespin for all the details.
Head over to www.YourTherapySource.com/freeclothespin for all the details.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Here is another freebie from Your Therapy Source. Test your visual discrimination skills. Practice scissors skills by cutting out the cards. Start your timer. How quickly can you match up the exact stars? Record your time and try again. You can download the free Speed Match puzzle at www.YourTherapySource.com/speedmatch.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Make Your Own Play Time Kits
Step 1: Buy a plastic container with a lid or decorate a cardboard or shoe box.
Step 2: Decide on a theme. Here are some suggestions:
- Ball box - include various sizes and textures of different playground balls
- Bubble box - include bubbles, different bubble wands and bubble trays
- Jump rope box - add traditional jump ropes, chinese jump ropes and double dutch ropes
- Sidewalk chalk box - have an art contest, create new black top games, hopscotch, etc.
- Activity card box - write one playground game on each, i.e. freeze tag, hide and go seek, obstacle course, etc. The children can pick out one card at a time to choose a game.
- Science box - magnifying glasses, bug containers, tweezers
- Water paint box - buckets for water, large paintbrushes and paint rollers to "paint" the black top with different designs
- Beach party box - include beach balls, tether ball set, paddle ball and Velcro mitt set
- Celebration box - include streamers and ribbon sticks to run and play with
- Catch All Box - Velcro mitts, Frisbees, soft footballs, small balls, recycled plastic milk jugs with tops cut off but handles left on to catch balls
- Hula Hoop Box - suggest hula hoop contests or use hoops to create obstacle courses
- Race Box - include stopwatches and cones; the children can set up races and time each other
- Pedometers - children can see how many steps they take during recess and try to increase each time. You can get these at some dollar stores.
- Dance party box - radio with batteries, dance music. Find an old radio player at a garage sale.
- Indoor balls - balloons and cardboard tubes. Have the balloons all blown up. Put them inside stockings if you are worried about balloon pieces if they pop.
- DVD box - collection of exercise DVDs for kids
- Bean bag box - include bean bags and targets to throw at
- Ebooks - Print these ebooks and put in a box or folder for teachers/parents to use to encourage motor activities: Mini Movement Breaks, Classroom Activity Posters, Roll Some Fun , Dancing with the Owls , Imagination Action Journeys and Motor Minute Challenges.
- imaginary school - include a wipe off board, paper, red pen, pretend play school packet, pencil holder.
- imaginary hospital - band aids, ace bandages, gauze and flashlight. Try printing and laminating the pretend play doctor and hospital packet.
- imaginary play with animals - stuffed animals, pretend play animal packet, simple cages and brushes
- imaginary office - tape, stapler, paper, calculator, pens, pretend phone and name tags
- arts and crafts - unusual crayon colors, scented markers, rainbow pencils and paper.
- sensory - dollar store fidgets, different types of fabric swatches, smock and kids shaving cream
- fine motor - Lego's, fine motor breaks notepad, beads, lacing string and small clips.
Reference: Dowda, Marsha, Brown, William H., McIver, Kerry L., Pfeiffer, Karin A., O'Neill, Jennifer R., Addy, Cheryl L., Pate, Russell R. Policies and Characteristics of the Preschool Environment and Physical Activity of Young Children Pediatrics 2009 123: e261-e266
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Here are 8 FREE fine and gross motor activities for December:
1. Holiday Lights - http://yourtherapysource.com/holidaylights.html
2. Reindeer Testing - http://yourtherapysource.com/freereindeer.html
3. Countdown to the Holidays - http://yourtherapysource.com/countdown.html
4. Finish the Picture Gingerbread Men - http://yourtherapysource.com/holidaydecemberfreebie.html
5. Christmas Candy Cane Pose - http://yourtherapysource.com/christmasposesfree.html
6. Design Your Own Toy - http://yourtherapysource.com/freesantatoy.html
7. Christmas Categories - http://yourtherapysource.com/freechristmascategories.html
8. December Holiday Clothes Pin Mat - http://yourtherapysource.com/freedecembercp.html
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
With the end of the year approaching, here are the top 10 blogposts of all time from Your Therapy Source:
10. 10 Tips for New Pediatric Occupational and Physical Therapists
9. Letter School App Review
8. 5 Make and Take Therapy Ideas for Summer
7. Motor Planning and Graded Movement
6. Scissor Skills - Not So Cut and Dry
5. Perceptions on Pediatric Group Therapy Sessions
4. 10 Tips for Transitions
3. 10 Bilateral Coordination Activities for the Body
2. Brain Breaks Game
1. 10 Tips to Help Develop Self Control
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Attention, Perception & Psychophysics has published research on skilled typists and the QWERTY keyboard. The 100 participants (young adults and adults) in the study were asked to complete a short typing test. Following the typing test, the participants were given a blank QWERTY keyboard on a piece of paper where they had 80 seconds to write the correct letters on the blank keyboard. The results showed the following:
- they averaged typing 72 words per minute, moving their fingers to the correct keys six times per second with 94 percent accuracy.
- they could accurately place an average of only 15 letters on a blank keyboard.
The researchers had expected that the participants would be able to type without conscious thought (like riding a bicycle and driving a car). Although the researchers were surprised that typists never appear to memorize the key positions, not even when they are first learning to type.
A second study was completed using the Dvorak keyboard. The 24 skilled QWERTY typists had to learn how to type on the Dvorak keyboard. After a reasonable accuracy rate was established, the typists were asked to fill out a blank Dvorak keyboard. On average, the typists were able to identify 17 letters on the blank keyboard.
The researchers concluded that the "lack of explicit knowledge of the keyboard may be due to the fact that computers and keyboards have become so ubiquitous that students learn how to use them in an informal, trial-and-error fashion when they are very young".
Interesting research to take into account when teaching keyboarding. Have you ever tested to see what letters a student could actually identify on a blank keyboard? This is a skill that we attempt to break down when teaching and we include memorizing where the keys are located. When neurotypical individuals are learning to type is it purely through practice and use? In your opinion, does learning to type require a conscious effort at first and become automatic over time?
Reference: Salisbury, D. Study gives new meaning to 'let your fingers do the walking'. Medical Express. Retrieved from the web on 12/9/13 at http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-12-fingers.html#nwlt.