Sunday, March 16, 2014

Homemade Binoculars & Bear Hunt // Fine Motor, Visual Motor, Bilateral & Play Skills

This morning, my boys were obsessed with going on a bear hunt around the house. I'm not sure why, but bears have been a hot topic around the house this winter! So, to make this activity more interesting, we decided that we needed binoculars before going on our hunt. I rounded up some toilet paper and paper towel rolls out of the recycling bin (happy environment :), and our activity began! I did the cutting of the paper towel roll for this one, but if your kids are older than mine, I would let them cut the paper towel roll in half with adult scissors (works on fine motor, visual motor & bilateral skills). The rolls are a nice resistance to help increase hand strength as well. Next, and the rest of the steps the boys did mostly on their own (they are almost 4 and almost 2), we glued 2 rolls together and let them dry (fine motor skills/strengthening & bilateral skills). I also had the boys blow on the glue, incorporating oral motor skills, to help it dry faster, as patience is limited with my youngsters, but something we work on improving. 

**Now, this is a complete side note from the activity, but looking at the picture above, there is a lot going on, to say the least. When I took the photo, I honestly didn't pay enough attention to the snowsuit drying on the chair in the background, the empty fruit bowl, and the different placemats on the table. Although you can get the gist of the activity from the photo above, a child with any visual challenges may have a hard time deciphering what this photo is showing, as it is visually overstimulating. They may get lost in the chaos of the picture, and making this point is exactly why I kept the picture on this blogpost. This is important to remember when working with kids, especially kids that are showing challenges related to visual perception or visual motor integration. A note teachers and parents, keep worksheets "easy on the eyes," and when setting up activities, have workspaces clean and organized. In other words, simply limit visual chaos when you can, allowing kids to be more successful and be able to focus better on the task at hand!** 

Once we were done blowing on the glue, we got our paint ready. The only colors that we had left in the house this morning were the primaries, which ended up working out great to teach Henry about mixing colors. Right now, his favorite color is purple so we took some blue and red, blended, and Voila, purple! To Lukey, everything is blue right now, so he just had fun painting!

After mixing, the painting followed. First, painting hands (tactile system targeted), then, painting the binoculars in the making. In the photo below, you can see Henry holding the rolls with one hand and painting with the other (bilateral skills), he is also working on his fine motor and pre-writing skills, along with incorporating visual motor integration deciding where to paint while remaining on the rolls. His proprioceptive system is also playing a role here, letting Henry know how much force to use during   the activity!

 Binoculars painted and drying. Again, working on patience, and teaching the boys that satisfaction is not always immediate. Developmentally, they don't have the capacity to comprehend waiting forever for things. However, I feel that children nowadays get immediate gratification with everything, mainly due to technology. Teaching them to wait from time to time, is a great life lesson starting young, and will help hopefully help my boys as they get older because gratification shouldn't be immediate, if it's worth it at all!
 Now that the binoculars were dry, it was time to poke holes in the side and make our holder. I used the sharp part of the scissors to poke a hole through simply because I didn't have a one hole punch available. If you do, allowing the kids to use the hold punch is great for working on fine motor skills, improving intrinsic hand strength along with bilateral skills. I let the boys string the string through the holes (fine motor, visual motor, bilateral skills) putting on the finishing touch, and then it was time to hunt (play skills).
Henry was a bear himself getting mad at me for the final photos, so this is the happiest face that I could get! But once we started playing and pretending, it was all smiles from that point on!

I hope that this helps give you an activity idea to do with your kiddos at home or with your clients in OT! Something so fun for the kids, is again, developmentally so beneficial on numerous accounts. It's also an activity that can be graded for different ages, I briefly discuss grading activities in a previous post Saturday Morning OT..In the Comfort of your own Home?!

Happy Hunting!

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