Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lots of Activity at the Activity Table

My new favorite toy for my 8 month old baby is his activity table! I wanted one to encourage standing and found it to help with so much more. Keep in mind that these little tables can be a bit costly when you purchase new...anywhere from $40-$75 dollars depending on the brand, so I headed to our local child consignment shop where I found a very gently used LeapFrog brand table for only $10! This girl LOVES a bargain so that price most definitely helped this table earn a "favorite" spot in my book.
First of all, Liam likes getting his chunky little legs up straight and tall to stand and play with the lights and buttons on the table! He's only 8 months old so he needs close physical supervision as he will tumble right over (or backwards) when he gets distracted or tired. He still leans into the table and it helps to have it pushed up against the couch so it doesn't get away from him. Within the next few weeks, his standing practice will lead to "cruising" practice as he learns to take some steps around the table while holding on.
It seems that most brands have removable legs on the activity tables so for little ones who aren't quite standing, you can use the table top on the floor. In this case, I actually boosted it up just a bit on a pillow so that he could reach the buttons better. I've found this to be a great way to practice dynamic sitting balance as he tries to reach across for all of the lights and sounds but still has to try to maintain his sitting. He's getting much better at this!
Instead of removing ALL of the table legs, I can also remove just 2 to make more of an inclined position. This is another option for sitting to encourage higher level reaching and eye-hand coordination. He can also be placed on his tummy which is ALWAYS an OT's favorite position for babies! In this picture, he is on his tummy over the pillow, mainly for comfort so he'll play here a little longer. He had started on his tummy without the pillow before I added some cushion. Ironically, once he was on the pillow, he was quickly enticed by the TAG on the pillow and of course had to check it out! Who needs all of those lights and sounds when you can chew on a tag, right?!
This was well worth my $10 investment! Liam is strengthening his motor skills and is quite entertained as well. Did I mention that words and songs can be played in English OR Spanish? Put it all together and it makes for a very happy baby (and mommy)!
Jen Dermody, OTR/L

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Writing "Window"

When kiddos are learning letters and practicing how to write their name, it often helps to isolate the letters they are learning to recognize. A simple way to do this is to use the writing "window"~~ cut a small magnifier type window and laminate so the child can look through the window at the letter they are trying to copy. This is so simple yet so helpful for focusing attention and reinforcing recognition of each letter. Kiddos quickly learn to request the window when writing and always love this little tool!

Jen Dermody, OTR/L

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Winter is certainly upon us and what kiddo doesn't love a good snowman?  Here's an idea for playing with the "snow" inside any day of the year!  Draw a snowman on large paper and laminate it or cover it with clear Contact paper.  Hang it up on an easel or tape it to the wall.  Now put on that favorite smock because the "snow" is actually shaving cream!  Fill a small container with shaving cream and let your kiddo "paint" the snowman.  This is a super fun sensory task but it's also fantastic for doing some work on a vertical surface, which helps to improve upper body strength and stability, important for pre-writing/writing skills.  Kiddos can erase and paint again by using a small wash cloth to wipe the surface clean.  Yet another great upper body task that incorporates using large muscles to help strengthen the shoulders for fine motor work.

Kiddos love this activity and it will only cost you a couple of dollars. Enjoy!

Jen Dermody, OTR/L