The “Summer Handwriting Fun” series proudly presents a Guest Post from OT Mommy! We are thrilled that she has joined us to share her inspirational strengthening activities that will help children enhance the physical skills they will need to master handwriting. Handwriting brings cognitive, fine-motor, and physical skills to the table each time we sit down to write. Mommy OT is here to offer ways to work on those skills while we are away from the table! I know you will enjoy her work! Be sure to visit her site and comment on this article so that she knows how much you appreciate her! OK, OT Mommy, we’re ready!
Top 5 Ways to Get Away From Table-Top Activities
If you are tired of the same ol’ sitting at the table, pencil and paper tasks, try switching it up with change of scenery, or at least a change in position. Altering body positions can be easily incorporated to enhance a therapy session individually or as stations in an obstacle course.
Take a look at my Top 5 Summer Themed Positions for Writing.
- The Backstroke
Have the student lay on his/her back under a table while coloring or writing. Not only will this position encourage bilateral use of hands by forcing the child to keep the paper from falling, it will also address shoulder strengthening and visual attention.
- The Doggy Paddle
High or Half Kneeling at a wall or an easel during a painting or writing activity will challenge the student’s core. A strong and healthy trunk can help to improve posture, digestion and respiration. Make sure to provide a yoga mat or a pillow to help with any knee discomfort.
- The Crawl Stoke
Clear the floor to provide enough space for your student to lay on his/her belly. My students love navigating through an obstacle course and ending with writing practice on the yoga mat. Weight bearing through the shoulders helps the students keep the forearms down and achieve a more dynamic grasp pattern during pencil paper tasks.
- The High Dive
Have the student stand at a canvas taped to the wall or door. Add a challenge by having the student complete wall push ups between tasks.
- The Free Style
Free Style is just that. It is the chance to mix it up for the student to experience the complex skill of handwriting in an environment other than at the table. No pencil or paper is needed here. Watch the child visualize the letters when a peer uses his/her finger to write on his/her back. Or head to the sandbox and use sticks to draw in the sand. Or to the sidewalk to challenge the tolerance of vibratory feedback when the chalk is dragged along the pavement. Or barefoot in the grass using their feet to form the letters with different muscle groups. Open it up to the students to guide how they want their therapy to be done.
By changing the way an activity is presented, you can awaken the senses and get more bang for the buck.
Rebecca Klockars is a mom, occupational therapist, RESNA certified assistive technology professional and author of the blog OTMommy Needs Her Coffee. When not ranting and raving about things to do with her children (her own and the school-based kids too) she enjoys cooking, reading and building things with PVC, duct tape and velcro. For more information, visit www.otmommy.blogspot.com