Those packing forms that are all kinds of shapes have been very useful for some unique and free artwork around Learning Charms. I let the kids pick the form that they wanted and then they turned it into whatever they "saw" (visual closure). We painted them, but markers & crayons would work too. They are so lightweight that they can be hung with a string and a pushpin. Time to go recycle bin diving!
The best way to work on letter identification is through sensory- motor based learning. What I mean, is that when we crawl, hear hop, look, stretch, run, feel, climb, touch, and push, the brain is at an optimal state for learning and retention.
In this activity, we were working on upper case letters (remember that its best to teach letter identification for uppercase then lowercase letters). We had been working on the Frog Jump Capitals (Handwriting Without Tears) and so I took 4 of the ones the child new and added the next two. The letters were written on one of the foam shapes and then scattered upsidedown in the gym. The letters were also written on the chalkboard. I wrote several on the chalkboard that were not hiding so that it increased the visual discrimination work that was demanded. Then I called out the letter that the pirates were looking for (I was the pirate and the child was the pirate on the treasure hunt) and he then had to follow the path (steps/foam blocks) to retrieve only the letter that was called out. Since the letters were written on the chalkboard out of sight from where the letters were hidden, the child had to rely on auditory memory and visual memory. The child then brought back the foam letter to the chalkboard and squeezed the clothespin to place it above the stimulus letter. The game could easily be modified for any level of difficulty. Fun!
I love this stuff. Way back, us therapists had to order blah putty from rehab suppliers and although it worked, it was just, blah. Crazy Aaron has a variety of putty and kids love it. Adults love it. Other than being fun, and a tactile experience, what do therapists use it for?
Most of my kiddos I see at Learning Charms need hand and finger strengthening and tendon excursion. These things are necessary for proper fine motor skills (think handwriting and arts).
Often I use it initially for preschoolers who are not exhibiting a functional crayon grasp, such as in the picture here. In this picture, this little girl is using a whole hand grasp for drawing. She also has difficulty with buttoning, cutting and manipulating small items.
Welcome! I am excited to announce Learning Charms to you-- a creative enrichment center for kids. You can read more about Learning Charms in "our story" on the home page, and I am extremely excited about the concept and working with kids to give them an educational and developmental boost!!
Summer camps will be posted later this month. The camps will be half day enrichment camps that will be super fun while sneaking in a ton of learning opportunities. Camps will start June 14th and will run until August 27th. We will have several grade level handwriting and cursive camps, speech camps, fine motor camps, and even kindergarten boot camps. We have camps for ages four years through rising 5th graders. We are going to have a blast playing in our 1000+ square foot gym and even checking out composting and wiggly worm composters in our yard area. All curriculums have been created by occupational therapists and speech therapists. In addition, camps will be led by these therapists as well.
We will also be offering individual tutoring, small group reading classes, small group pre-reading classes, small group handwriting classes, and small group speech classes, to name a few. Shew, are we ever busy!
About the blogger: Stephanie Wick is a pediatric occupational therapist that founded and is lead O.T. at Learning Charms.
Read past Blog here