Starfish Therapies

August 13, 2017

Find the Bucket


We love collaboration with other providers. We are lucky enough to have an OT company that we reciprocally share space with. This allows us to pick their brains and them to pick ours. One day they were talking about using our platform swing and how to work on visual motor skills and this activity was born. We of course have adapted it depending on what exactly we want to focus on that day, but I’ll give you the basics and then you can adapt at will!

We set up the platform swing and place a bucket of some sort underneath it. The child shouldn’t be able to see the bucket when the swing is at rest, but it should be right at the front of the swing so its easy to find when the swing is moving. Get some balls for the kiddo to drop into the bucket once the swing starts moving. This gets them to work on their visual motor skills, their timing, their motor planning and coordination.

To take it a step further you can change what position you have the child in on the swing. For our kiddo we start in prone prop, then move to quadruped, then high kneeling, then half kneeling. This lets them work on core strength, and balance.

We have the kiddo reach for the ball before they are able to drop it in the bucket. This encourages weight shifting, reaching, hand-eye coordination. They also have to hold their balance while they are weight shifted and the swing is moving which helps with righting reactions.

The dropping the ball in the bucket while the swing is moving, is of course the fun part! The kids find it hilarious to ‘find the bucket’ and get super excited whenever their ball makes it into the bucket!

Has anyone else done an activity like this? What variations have you used?

March 13, 2012

Developing Reaching in Sitting

Filed under: Developmental Milestones — Starfish Therapies @ 12:00 pm
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In order to be able to do things in sitting, kiddos need to be able to reach and move without falling over.  Reaching in sitting works with balance and being able to anticipate how the movement is going to affect them and turn the correct muscles on so that they don’t topple over.  Some ways to work on reaching are to have things on the ground in front of, to the side of and in various positions so they get practice moving in different directions.  Its fun to watch them figure out how far they can reach without falling and still be able to return to sitting.  Sometimes they have to take some practice runs until they figure out exactly how their muscles are going to react.  The less support you can provide and still have them be safe during these activities will really help them to use their whole body in a coordinated way.   In addition to having items on the ground, you can also hold them up and have them reach.  Change positions here as well so they get to use one or two hands, and switch between right and left.  You’ll also start to see more trunk rotation developing and cross body reaching as they feel more stable.  You can watch the kiddos find ways to create stability, whether holding one arm in a high guard position or using an arm to prop on the ground, they are figuring out their bodies.  Have fun watching them develop!

February 13, 2012

Foot in Mouth – Sometimes its a Good Thing!

As babies develop they will often engage in hand and foot play, even bringing their feet to their mouth.  This may seem odd to parents but it actually serves a purpose and has several benefits for your child.  Some of these benefits/purposes are:

  • Bringing their feet up to their hands and even their mouth allows the child to start stretching out their hamstrings.  After approximately nine months in the womb they have really tight hamstrings from being in the ‘fetal’ position.
  • By lifting their feet up in the air and attempting to get them with their hands they are working on their core strength as well as developing anti gravity strength in their flexor muscles in both their abs and their head and neck.
  • Grasping their feet allows them to develop their grasping skills which can carryover into fine motor tasks.
  • Reaching for their feet encourages reaching with both hands as well as one hand.  It also can work on reaching to the same side of the body as well as to the opposite side of the body.
  • Assymetric reaching can also lead to the development of skills such as rolling.
  • The practice of attempting to grab their feet in either one or both hands, and either one or both feet allows them to develop motor learning and motor exploration so they can figure out what their bodies and muscles do.
  • Also, hand and foot play, as well as putting their feet in their mouth shows they are developing body awareness as well as gives them opportunities to continue to develop this.

You can encourage hand and foot play as well as foot to mouth by gently bringing their feet up to where they can reach them.  Never force this motion because some kids may be tighter than others.  By exposing them to their feet, they will begin to be interested and attempt to reach for their feet to explore and play.

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