Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Deck The Halls...

Deck the halls with holiday lights....Fa-LaLaLaLa...LaLa-La-La!  Thankfully for you there's no volume button for this post so you'll have to sing it yourself :-)   When I arrived at school today, the halls WERE decked with these festive holiday lights that were adorable and oh so very OT-ish! The students had to CUT out the lights, COLOR the letters, and STRING the lights together by LACING in and out of the holes they made using a HOLE PUNCHER.  Whew!  Those little fingers were workin' for this one and the kiddos were proud of their efforts.  Younger students admired the fun colors and holiday "lights" in the halls.  A whole bunch of them hanging together on the wall simply "lit up" the halls!   Here's a little peek~~
This is a good one to try at home too where you can challenge your little elves to hang LOTS of lights!  For pre-readers, the lights can be cut and laced without letters or you could spell out names of the children.  I've never met a kiddo who doesn't love to decorate for the holidays so take advantage of that enthusiasm!

Jen Dermody, OTR/L

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Zaner-Bloser Handwriting

Zaner-Bloser HANDWRITINGWhile I'm a self-proclaimed fan of the Handwriting Without Tears program, I was invited to attend a Zaner-Bloser course last week and I took advantage of the offer!  Lots of schools use Zaner-Bloser handwriting books and I was interested to hear more about the curriculum they offer.  I was so happy to hear that Zaner-Bloser is now including music, movement, and a multi-sensory approach as Handwriting Without Tears has always done.  There are also digital resources to use with smart board applications that could be very helpful when teaching!   It was great to hear about the resources offered by ZB, however, it was a surprise to me and to the other OT's I  met at the course.  I'm hoping ZB will be getting the word out more to OT's and teachers/administrators who use the ZB program with their students so they can USE what's out there.  In the mean time, I'll do my part of sharing the link to their Facebook page at and to their website at .  If you are currently using the Zaner Bloser handwriting books/curriculum, I encourage you to check out the resources offered and see if you might find something you like  :-)

Jen Dermody, OTR/L

Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide!

It's already December and holiday shopping is in full force!  If you're wondering what to get the special little person in your life this year, here are a few things you might find on an OT's list to Santa:

AGES 0-3:
  • Grocery cart push toyTouch and feel books
  • Colorful rattles
  • Oral motor teething toys
  • Music
  • Activity center (for TUMMY TIME!!!)
  • Tubby toys for bath time
  • Blocks
  • Unbreakable mirrors
  • Textured balls for sensory awareness
  • Push toys such as a mini-grocery cart or toy stroller
  • Pull toys
  • "Pop" together beads
  • Shape sorters
  • Balls
  • Hammering toys
  • Ball pit
  • Sorting toys
Teething ring
Good Night Moon

  • EASEL!   (EVERYTHING on a vertical surface is great for fine motor development!!)
  • Stacking/building blocks
  • Crayons
  • Finger paints (be brave parents!)
  • Fiskar scissors and some things to cut---construction paper, ribbon, play-doh
  • Paint and brushes
  • Puppets
  • Craft items/sets
  • Musical instruments
  • Play-doh and some rollers, cookie cutters, etc.
  • Pegboards
  • Stringing beads
  • Lacing cards
  • A piggy bank and rolls of pennies (kids put the pennies in the slot one at a time---great fine motor task!)
  • Magna Doodle or Etch a Sketch
  • Dry erase board (hang it on the wall for a VERTICAL surface and it's even better for development!)
  • Stickers and sticker books
  • Dress ups
  • Water/sand table
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Toy kitchen
  • Toy workbench
  • Sorting toys
  • Sit n' Spin
  • Tricycle
  • Kaleidoscopes               
  • Bean bags
  • Puzzles
  • Board games (Candyland, Lucky Ducks)
  • Card games (Go Fish, Memory)
  • Lite Brite
LITE BRITE LED Flat Screen (Boys)Sand & Sea™ Play Table                           
AGES 6 and UP:
  • LEGOS and other block sets for building
  • Jump ropes
  • Tanagrams
  • Puzzles
  • Beads and strings to make bracelets, simple jewelry

  • Arts and crafts

  • Stencils

  • Connect 4 game

  • "Just Dance" for Wii or similar video movement games

  • Musical instruments

  • Model kits to construct

  • Bike

  • Scooter

  • Balls

  • Dolls with accessories/clothing for practice with dressing/fasteners

  • Sand and water toys

  • Gardening kit

  • Lincoln Logs

  • Tinker Toys

  • Puppets

  • Sidewalk chalk

  • Ping Pong

  • Roller skates/roller blades

  • Basketball net

  • Sled

  • Board games (checkers, chess, Chinese checkers)

  • Dominoes



Jen Dermody, OTR/L