As you can tell by reading my posts this week my nephew and I hung out over the weekend. Well, my mom had bought various colors and patterns of Duct Tape and we decided to get crafty making a gift for his mom and one for himself as well! We followed directions from these blogs (although for the tote we made our own straps): Tote and Wallet.
I won’t bore you with the how-to’s since you can read that above. I found these projects to be great for pattern recognition (my nephew picked out the pattern and was responsible for telling me which one was next for the tote). We also worked on measuring to measure the correct lengths of tape as well as visual perceptual skills to know how to line up the tape to be even and/or to cover the fabric. We also got to work on cutting and tearing skills as we made the tape into the correct lengths. He also picked out the size of the tote that he wanted. We folded the fabric so he could get an idea and he would say bigger or smaller until we got it just right. He also asked to add the credit card pocket in his wallet so that he could put gift cards that he gets for the holidays in there (all his idea).
What was challenging was dealing with the tape with an almost 9 year old boy. Duct tape is quite sticky and when it is lying sticky side up it sticks to everything, especially when someone is rolling the rolls of tape around or waving the ruler around or even just moving their hands around. Also, its hard to set the tape down sticky side up because it is sticking to your fingers. Despite the frustrations with tape is was worth it just to see how proud he was of the tote he designed for his mom!
PS – I would definitely recommend adult assistance with this project.
What projects have you made with Duct Tape?
So I just wanted to take a moment to brag and show off the project our most recent OT student did. She created a binder of crafts that can be used in OT sessions with instructions and a sample of each craft. She also labeled each one for what skills the craft can address depending on how you focus it. Depending on the child’s age and what you are working on specifically you may want to do it over several sessions or to have part of the craft finished ahead of time so that the child can focus on just one aspect such as cutting, coloring, pincer grasp, threading, visual scanning, etc.
I will try to post about some of the crafts in upcoming blogs.
What other great organization strategies do you use?
Ok, we are big fans of Harry Potter so when I saw this post on how to make your own wand, I had to pass it along to our OT’s because I thought not only could it be ‘therapeutic’ in that kids could work on skills, but it would also be motivating. This wand was made over several weeks and our OT and her kiddo would do a little bit each session. It let the kiddo think about how they wanted the wand to develop and take the time to put the colors and designs in that she wanted. This kiddo has a left hemiplegia so it really allowed her to work on using both hands to create the project. She had to use her stabilizing hand to hold the stick while wrapping the string, also both hands need to be used for threading and tying knots to name a few. I think the best thing it works on is encouraging a child to express their creativity and individuality in a way that can evolve with the project.
image retrieved from: geardiary.com
I thought I would share another idea one of our kids came up with. I love their imaginations! This kiddo is always ‘helping’ us come up with ideas for our group and although we haven’t tried this one yet (still considering logistics) I just had to share it because he put a ton of thought into it before he presented it to us.
His idea was to have a Star Wars Light Saber battle. He informed us we would need 2 pool noodles (one red and one blue), 2 hula hoops and 2 balls. These second items did not have specific colors associated with them. I was pretty much able to figure out what the pool noodles were for (i.e. light sabers) so I asked what the hula hoops were for. He looked at me with the look only a kid can give that clearly said ‘duh’ while he patiently explained that they were for the two kids to stand in so they knew where their battle positions were. I decided to brave him thinking I was an idiot so I asked what the balls were for and again he patiently explained that they were to throw at your opponent.
At this point I figured I saw a flaw in the plan – how could they ‘battle’ with light sabers while throwing balls and if they missed they would have to step outside their battle positions (i.e. hula hoops). You could tell he had not thought of this dilemma, so after a minute he stated that the balls were for when their light sabers ran out of energy (I am assuming that its for if one of the kiddos drop it outside their battle positions).
Now although we haven’t tried this game yet I am not completely opposed to it. We may not use it in group but I may use it during this kiddo’s PT time and try to lure one of our unsuspecting student interns into battle with him!
The reason I love that he came up with this idea is that this kiddo is working on many of the skills that this game could help him practice.
- He is working on keeping his standing balance (he is practicing walking and doing things without his assistive device).
- He is working on engaging both hands in an activity for bilateral coordination. He would have to do this while holding onto the pool noodle for his battle (as well as having to maintain his balance because if he falls he’s outside the battle position).
- He is working on squatting down to the ground which he would have to do to pick up the ball once his light saber falls out of his hands, or to pick up the light saber if it fell within the hula hoop.
- He is working on visually attending to something while using gross motor and that would be key if he is engaged in ‘battle’ with another ‘opponent’ whether through use of the light saber or the ball.
- He is working on ball skills so this would come out with throwing the ball or attempting to catch the ball if his opponent threw it at him (I think I would add in the bombardment rules that if you catch the ball you are safe).
- And best of all is that we can practice these skills with him over and over because we can prep him for ‘battle’ which would be at a date a bit out so that we can make a bigger production of it. I love when kids come up with their own motivation!
Has anyone played a game like this? Any suggestions or ways to enhance it? I will share photos and/or video of our final result once we have everything in place (I don’t even know if they make red pool noodles).
(sometimes just drawing is just as much fun as writing)
This whole idea started because I saw someone (who I can’t remember now or I would give them credit) blog about using chalkboard contact paper. I thought it was the coolest thing so I went to Amazon to order some for us. I had no idea exactly what we would use it for but I figured it would be good to have it on hand. Well, while ordering it, I glanced at the section where they show you what other viewers bought as well and I found chalk ink markers so I ordered some and thought they could be fun to use as well (I also got cleaner just in case). Well we still haven’t used the contact paper but our OT’s have been having a blast using the chalk ink markers on the mirror that we have. The kids love having a new and novel way to draw and work on handwriting. Plus, it goes on really smoothly so it doesn’t require a lot of effort or force to create a line. It wipes off very easily with the cleaner. Because its novel, the kids are enjoying working on handwriting. I think that’s part of learning a new skill, giving them multiple opportunities to work on something. If it was always with pencil and paper it could get frustrating but keep it novel by using apps, play dough, sand/salt, markers and now we use chalk ink markers on the mirror. You can also have them try to copy their features as they see them in the mirror or draw ‘masks’ to cover their face. Creativity can run rampant with this fun activity! With the full length mirrors turned sideways you could even get more than one kids involved and do cooperative drawing!
I have to admit, I’ve been waiting to try this idea, that I saw in not one but two places on pinterest, out for a while and I had the perfect kiddo that I wanted to be the one to test it. This kiddo has developmental coordination disorder and so I really wanted to see how she was able to navigate the through the tape blocking the hallway. I made it simple because I wanted her to have some success with the task, allowing her to have fun while doing it, and ultimately working to improve her mobility skills. I only had two levels of tape, one a few inches off the ground and one about 2 feet above that. I kept them at varying distances from each other (and a few going diagonally) as they made their way down the short 3-5 feet of hall that we were going to traverse.
It was a great activity for her to practice and for me to observe and assist. It also helped that we were getting through it to get to the Wii at the end of the hallway. I let her get through the first time on her own. Then of course I had to go through it as well. She knew exactly what she needed to do although being able to do it was a different story. I will say, we never once made it through without getting tangled up in the tape somehow. I think I would try to figure out a different tool to use to create the maze as the tape falls down quickly and all of a sudden you are caught in a cocoon of tape rather than working your way through the spiderweb!
The problem was that as long as she could see where she was placing her hand or foot she was able to clear the tape successfully. However, as soon as she moved an extremity that she wasn’t watching she couldn’t judge where to place her foot or hand, or how high to lift it to clear the obstacle. And when she was focusing on her extremities she forgot about the rest of her body causing her head or shoulder or back to bump into the tape. This was true even as I provided verbal cues and then added in assist at a leg or a hand.
This activity has great potential for helping kids with body awareness, motor planning, coordination, and problem solving. I think if I could use a heavier barrier such as poles it would help to provide limits for body placement and provide more cues as to body awareness. (I’m not sure how I would rig this up but I will give it some thought). Pool noodles would also be a great way to create the maze. If you make it into a game and make a buzzer sound whenever they hit the barriers it could provide an auditory cue as well. As they improve you can make it more challenging or change the maze materials and eventually bring it back to tape. It’s a 3-D way of playing a version of limbo!
Who else has tried this activity and what have you learned from it?