Friday, November 18, 2011

Mac Discount for Educators

If you are looking to use a Mac computer or Apple software technology with some of your kiddos, here's a deal!  I just learned that any employee of a K-12 or higher education setting is eligible for a discount on Mac computers, Apple software, and some accessories. You're also eligible if you are serving as a PTO officer or if you're a college student or a parent who is buying for a college student. Good to know if anyone you know (or maybe yourself!) will have an apple under the tree this year :)

You are also eligible for decent discounts on productivity software (like Office) from websites like .

You can check out all of the details at

Jen Dermody, OTR/L

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Homemade Playdoh Recipe

Here is a traditional playdoh recipe that some nice teacher passed on to me many years ago.  Kids love playdoh AND they love to COOK so be sure to get them involved with the pouring and the mixing too!

* 1 cup flour
* 1 cup warm water
* 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
* 1 teaspoon oil
* 1/4 cup salt
* food coloring

**You can also add all sorts of yummy scents to add a bit more sensory input!  Maybe try pumpkin pie spice with your orange playdoh or some peppermint oil for the holidays.....YUM! 

Mix all ingredients, adding food coloring last.

Cook over medium heat until smooth. Continue cooking after the mixture thickens, and continue to cook until the dough comes together in the pan to form a ball. Remove from pan and knead until blended smooth. Place in plastic bag or airtight container when completely cool.
Store in a cool place and avoid allowing condensation to form in the storage container.

If there are lots of little people in your world, make up a big batch of this playdoh and divide it up in small containers.....add a couple of cookie cutters tied up with a bright colored ribbon and you've got an instant smile to share!

Jen Dermody, OTR/L

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Successful Snipping

Oh my goodness, the school year has picked up speed and we're well on our way through the 2nd quarter already!   New referrals are coming every week and the paperwork is piling up....I've got all sorts of things I want to share on Jen's OT For Kids but can't seem to find even a few minutes in the day to get it done :(  I promise to keep trying so be sure to keep checking back.

I did want to share a quick tidbit about getting kiddos to improve cutting skills without having to keep those darn scissors on the line.  Try playdoh!   Playdoh is awesome for a whole bunch of reasons but you'll see your "non-cutters" getting excited about using scissors when they have an opportunity to cut something other than paper.  Here you'll see one of my preschool friends who needs hand over hand assistance with cutting on a line having a grand ol' time cutting her playdoh into a bunch of pieces all by herself! 

Without any reminders she is using her left "helper hand" to hold the playdoh and snipping with her right hand.  Cutting paper is difficult for this sweet little girl who is often "FINISHED!" before we can really get practicing.  HOWEVER, she stuck with this activity for a much longer span and had lots of practice with the motor skills required to "open/close" the scissors. Along with the cutting, kiddos can roll the playdoh into balls or snakes and use lots of fun tools to dig into the fun.  
I promise to get a playdoh "recipe" on here soon so that you can make your own!  It makes a ton very inexpensively and is even better than what you buy at the store.  Kids LOVE to help make their own playdoh, plus you can pick and choose the colors and even the scents you want to use.  So much FUN!

Jen Dermody, OTR/L

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkin Pounding

You have to love preschool teachers for being so darn creative!   This week the children had an opportunity to do a little pumpkin pounding using golf tees and a small hammer.  There were 2 large pumpkins and a bunch of golf tees in a jar (they even had practice opening a jar) and the children could pound as many golf tees as they wanted into the pumpkin. Kiddos can even create patterns or designs if they want!

Of course no builder is complete without his

I love this activity for encouraging bilateral hand use and fine motor coordination.  There is even some hand strengthening involved and visual motor skills to get the hammer to hit the tee.   The best part is that kids are super motivated to do any activity that involves a big pumpkin!

Happy Fall!

Jen Dermody, OTR/L

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Free HWT Webinar on November 8th

Handwriting Without Tears is offering another FREE webinar---this one is Design to Teach: A+ Worksheets and will teach you how to utilize their free online worksheet program.  You'll learn how to design worksheets that reinforce skills and support student learning.  I use this all the time with students and it's so helpful!  If you'd like to register, go to
and sign up for this November 8th program before it's filled up!

Jen Dermody, OTR/L