Tuesday, February 11, 2014

All You Need Is Love

As a child, Valentine's Day was just like any other day.  As a family, we didn't do much to celebrate the day.  We would make homemade cards to give all our classmates, but my sisters and I weren't one of the girls that got called down to the office to have flowers delivered to us from our dad.  Now that I work with children (and have one of my own), I try and do some fun things related to the holiday with the kids I work with during our sessions.  

Looking for some cute activities to be used both at home and during your sessions?  Here are a handful of ideas for your little loves.

1.  Sweethearts Sorting-using a pair of Zoo Stick chopsticks, empty a box of candy Sweethearts and have a child sort them by color.  This works on improving grasp strength, visual motor and visual perceptual skills.  Depending on a child's skill level, you may limit the number of colors to increase the chances of success.  For those children who are able to read, you can have them sort by the phrases written on each heart.  

2.  Valentine's Day Yarn Hearts-I don't know about you, but I don't ever know what to do with those wire hangers I get from the dry cleaners.  Here is a simple idea that will make a perfect gift for a loved one.  You will need yarn (of any color) and a wire hanger.  Take the wire hanger and bend it into a heart.  Begin wrapping the yarn around the heart.  You may need to wrap around a couple of times in each place in order for the yarn to stay in place.  This is great for working on visual motor and bilateral coordination skills.  

3.  I Love You To Pieces Heart-I made this card with my daughter a couple of years ago and it was simple, fun and made those she loved feel very happy.  This is a great activity because it can be graded depending on a child's skill level.  For a young preschooler, give them strips of colored paper and have them tear them into small pieces.  For older preschoolers and school age children, draw lines on colored paper, and have them cut out the strips and then tear the strips into pieces.  Once they have all their small pieces, they can glue them onto a heart.  This project is great for working on a variety of occupational therapy goals, including bilateral coordination (tearing paper) and improving cutting skills.

4.  Cereal Hearts-using Cheerios (if you want to be more healthy) or Fruit Loops and a pipe cleaner, you can make a cute heart for someone you love.  A fun way to work improving grasping, beading and bilateral coordination skills.  Depending on the skill level of your child and what cereal you use, you can change what you want from each child.  If you have a younger child who is working on improving fine motor skills, you can keep it simple; put all the cereal in a bowl and have them place them on a pipecleaner.  If you are working with an older child, use a set of Zoo Sticks and have them take out a certain number of cereal.  Want to throw in an extra challenge, using Fruit Loops you can have a child follow a pattern as they place them on the pipe cleaner.

5.  Paint Chip Bookmarks-I have seen so many great projects with those paint chip samples that you find in the paint section of hardware stores.  I have used them to practice cutting and color recognition in the past.  If you grab a bunch of the pink samples (which I plan on doing tomorrow), you can make some really cute bookmarks.  In addition to the paint chips, you will need a heart hole puncher and some pink ribbon.  Have the children punch a single heart on each color/rectangle and one in the middle of the top rectangle.  Help them string the ribbon through the top hole.  Great for working on increasing grasp strength, bilateral coordination skills and color recognition (you can do this with any color paint chip sample).

Here are just a handful of ideas that will not only end up being cute, they are easy and require very little supplies or setup.  While I have tried some of these, I look forward to testing out the new ideas with my kids at work and with my daughter at home.  Who out there has some great Valentine's Day craft ideas that they have had great success with that they can share with me and my readers?  Would love to have a bunch of ideas to choose from in the next few days.  I am always a click away and love hearing from you all.  Share the love with us please!

May you all have a love-filled Valentine's Day with those you love!

1 comment:

  1. Love these ideas! How did you go about bending the wire hanger into a heart?