Friday, April 30, 2010

Developing Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements which occur e.g., in the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes. In application to motor skills of hands (and fingers) the term dexterity is commonly used. Fine motor skills, are skills that involve a refined use of the small muscles controlling the hand, fingers, and thumb.

One of my children had a great deal of difficulty developing the fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills necessary for so many routine, daily things most of us take for granted! Children don't come with manuals and when difficulties surface it's often hard to discern what to do and how to respond. This is just one area where we've "been there, done that" and I'm glad to share our tips!

Here is a compilation of a few activities and ideas for developing fine motor skills and motor coordination –

— there’s a product called Theraputty - this can be used for squeezing, rolling, pinching, etc. You can also hide little things in it for her to dig out (buttons, pennies, screws, etc)

— Beads ‘n Baubles stringing set (available from Rainbow Resource) or any stringing kit will do!

— lacing boards, lacing letters, etc.

— play with clay and/or Playdough – for letter, roll in snakes, balls, pinch with forefinger and thumb, squeeze, etc.)

— nuts and bolts (screwing them on and off)

— pegs and pegboards (available from Learning Resource and teacher stores)

— pop-on beads (Walmart carries a kit in the craft dept.)

— geoboards (create a design and have child recreate on their own)

— paddle boards (the ones with the ball attached)

— using yarn and noodles (the kind with a hole) have her string the noodles on the yarn

— draw a variety of lines on paper (straight, zig-zag, curved, etc) and have child cut along the line

— put a jacket or shirt with snaps or buttons onto a pillow and have the child practice these skills

— take shoestring out of shoes (or use an old pair) and have child practice lacing them up (tying could be practiced this way as well)

— big exercise ball (any dept. store) these are great for all kinds of activities

— clothes pins (my dd used to like to clip them all over my clothes and then take them off - sometimes we used a timer for added fun) or you can tie up a string or clothesline for her to clip them on.

— throw a ball back and forth (start with a bigger one and work your way down to a racquet ball or tennis ball or bean bag) I had my dd call the motions out loud i.e. catch, toss, catch toss or throw, bounce, catch, etc. . - this helped!

— toss games (where you have to get the bean bag through the hole) Oriental Trading carries them or you can improvise - cut a hole in a cardboard box, use a bucket, hulahoop, or anything else that can serve as a target! You could also tape a paper plate to the door and draw a bullseye on it for a target.

— Legos! (the smaller ones that snap together)

— Cheerios – have the child pick up the cereal pieces one at a time and put them in a cup or bowl. Use Cheerios and yarn for stringing.

— craft beads - (the ones with hole in the center) – Have the child move them from one saucer (or shallow container) to another using tweezers.

— Lay out five/six pennies to the right and left of a shallow dish (or use 10/12 pennies placed in an upside down L position with the dish centered between the upper part), have the child simultaneously pick up one from each side and put into the container.

— Using a plastic needle, thread and popcorn, make popcorn strings for fun.

Note: some of these have very small parts, so please use caution and keen supervision when working with a child who tends to put things in his/her mouth!

Now that you have some ideas to get you started, I'm sure it will stir your creativity :) If issues are severe, persistent, or warrant further attention, you may want to consult with an Occupational Therapist for evaluation, advice and/or therapy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Midwest Homeschool Convention

Wow! Can I just say that again? Wow! Miss a year, miss a lot. I attended this convention the first two years, but then skipped in 2009 because my little one was still nursing. Boy, did things change! What started out as a small, cozy convention with a load of great speakers turned into a massive, unbelievably huge convention of home school families galore, with even more great speakers mind you!

I have to admit, my first thought upon arriving at the Duke Center and seeing the masses, was "This is way too much, I want to go home - sniff, sniff!" But after collecting myself and getting over the initial shock of the change in size and venue, I was able to carry on with my heavy duties of shopping and sitting back listening to awesome speakers :)

It's quite hard to decide who to go see with so many great folks to choose from, but I opted for three (or rather time, schedule, location and capacity limited me to three) - Andrew Pudewa (I'd never miss the chance to hear him!), John Rosemond (after his first workshop, I was hooked and went to the rest of his), and one other, whose name eludes me (sorry!).

Oh, but Tim Hawkins had to be *my* weekend highlight! I laughed until I cried. (and I really needed to laugh!) He was funny and entertaining from the minute he took the stage and had a delightful, disturbing sense of humor that I could have giggle to for hours! Whoever thought of adding this awesome break for the attending families deserves a gold star! I'd go back just to see him!

Shopping - wow again! There were SO many vendors it was difficult to give them each adequate consideration. Instead, I found myself "waiting" to buy this or that so I wouldn't have to lug it all weekend (or in case I found a better deal, lol!). Then I missed out on a few deals :( But overall, an excellent selection of vendors, and even many new ones to consider!

Some of the sessions were very spread out, and often classes were full to capacity, so other than the enormous size (which may or may not be a negative depending on your personal preference) these were the two biggest drawbacks.

Overall, I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pregnancy Update II. . .

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Each one is priceless and wholeheartedly appreciated.

Unfortunately, I did get my lab results back today and the pregnancy is not progressing appropriately. Please continue to pray for us as we grieve through the forthcoming stages of this process and the loss of this precious addition to our family.

I wrote this poem after our first loss to miscarriage in November and feel it is befitting once again to share and remember that it is only "until then".

Until Then. . .
For a time much too fleeting
You grew in my heart
I never imagined
Your soul would soon part

In the blink of an eye
My plans were displaced
But I know God’s are greater
and I cling to His Grace

You weren’t meant for this earth
You’re too precious for this
So I’ll see you in Heaven
And you’ll know Mommy’s kiss

With each breath, I release you
But I’ll hold you again
My angel - this is not good-bye
It’s only, until then. . .

Sweetest Blessings,
¸.•´ .•´¨¨))
((¸¸.•´ .•´ -:¦:-Tina ~
-:¦:- ((¸¸.•´*
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