Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stick It To Me!

According to my friends at Red Tricycle today is National Sticker Day which I love to know.  I have always loved stickers.  As a matter of fact, I have a little folder at home with some of my favorite childhood stickers and my daughter loves to look at them!  Stickers play a huge role in my work life as well.  They are used for way more than just a reward at the end of a great session.  Stickers can be used to work on improving fine motor skills, grasping skills and a ton of visual motor and perceptual skills.  You can work on improving bilateral coordination and crossing midline by taking the stickers and placing them on one hand and having them take the stickers off with their other hand.  I have also worked on improving upper body strength by placing a piece of paper on a wall above a child's head, placing stickers on the floor or on their feet and have them bend down to take them off and reach up high to put them on the paper.  Below, you will find a few more ideas of what you can do with stickers with your kids.  The best part about these all of these activities are ones that they are easy enough to do at home with them.

Writing-I have found that once kids learn how to write the letters of the alphabet, they need to start using that skill in a functional way.  I have used stickers of sports teams, characters or various objects to do just that and kids adore it.  I actually just started a Shopkins Book with one of my little guys who was clearly getting bored of just practicing his letters.  I couldn't get over how motivated he was and how all those letters that he had been struggling with were written with ease.  I was also excited because he was asking how to write the letters he didn't know and immediately practiced them.

Cutting-using stickers during cutting activities is a great motivator as well.  I will have kids put stickers on the top of a piece of paper and then draw lines from the bottom of the paper up to the sticker.  Depending on the child's skill level, the lines will be straight, curved or zig zags.  When cutting out shapes, I place the stickers along the shape (i.e. at the corners of a square or triangle) which gives them a visual reminder to turn the paper once they cut to that sticker.

Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics-I have probably talked about these a million times on this blog but they are the best and can work on so many occupational therapy goals.  These little sticker squares are great for working on improving grasping skills, grasp strength and eye-hand coordination.  At the end, the kids get a piece of art or some kind of cool project that they have completed that they get to show off.  My daughter's favorite are these Silly Snack ones because they remind her of her current obsession, Shopkins.  The variety in the Orb Factory line is amazing and you won't have any problem finding a set that will be sure to bring a smile to your child's face.  These are also a great activity to use during therapy sessions.  Place it on an easel to work on improving shoulder stability and upper extremity strength or have them work on it while they are lying prone over a bolster or on a new swing.

Sticker Puzzles-another one of my favorite therapy activities.  These sticker puzzles by Lee Magic Pen are an incredibly motivating activity for my little friends at work.  They also come in a variety of sizes so you can find ones that are good for preschoolers and ones that are good for the older kids in your life.  The goal is simple:  you have a grid with numbers on them.  You then take the a sheet of stickers with numbers on them (in mixed order), peel the stickers off and place them in the matching square.  These tend to be even more motivating for the kids on my caseload because there are 8 different puzzles in each booklet and they feature popular characters.  The Frozen and Cars ones are by far the most popular amongst my kids.  Great for working on improving fine motor skills like grasping and strengthening, eye-hand coordination and visual tracking skills.  I like that you can grade the activity based on each child's skill level.  For example, if you are working with a young child, you can give them the stickers in order so they don't get frustrated.  For older kids, you have them do it indepenently.  Best part, these are crazy inexpensive, lightweight and travel easily to keep your kids occupied on a plane, in a car or at restaurants.

Stickers in general are a great thing to have in your bag of tricks. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to carry around.  If you check out your local toy stores or stationary stores, you will be shocked to see the variety of great stickers at an affordable price.  My favorites are Smickers scented stickers and books and the Kawaii stickers.  Another big hit amongst my kids (especially my own daughter) are the Usborne Sticker Dolly Dressing books.   What I love about them is that you can be creative with them and kids love them so you can really hide the fact that you are doing "work" with them.

Now that I know it is National Sticker Day, I plan on having a lot of sticky fun with my kids today.  What are your favorite things to do with stickers?  Do you have a favorite sticker book or collection that you would reccomend to me and my readers? I am just a click away I love hearing from you all and value your ideas!

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