This week our theme was Chinese New Year for our Fine Motor and Sensory Groups. Our Language Group looked at words starting with the letter R.
Sensory Group—Chinese New Year
We started by reading Cara’s latest book “Its the Chinese New Year” with its really colorful pictures. Our students are getting very good at reaching for and activating the voice output device for the repetitive line.
Our first sensory box was filled with red paper shred (we just ran some red paper through the shredder). Its a Chinese custom to give monetary gifts in red paper envelopes. We added some of the animals from the Chinese zodiac to the box, including a dog, monkey, snake, pig and a DRAGON! We added a little plastic moon, since the calendar is based on the lunar cycle. We also included some red and gold mardi gras beads, red pom poms, and a play food lettuce leaf (lettuce wraps are frequently served at new year parties).
This box was so much fun and our students loved the grabbing and shaking the paper shred.
Red is considered a lucky color in Chinese culture.
We also put a little spoon in the back to allow our students the opportunity to practice their scooping skills.
Fireworks are also a big part of the Chinese New Year celebration. We brought them into our classroom in two ways. First we used our toys with flashing lights, which are very visually appealing to our students. We turned off the over head lights to enhance the effect.
One of our students, who has just learned to self propel, kept rolling herself back and forth across the wrap. The smile on her face was priceless.
Of course, our ambulatory students also got the opportunity to walk and jump on the wrap. We found that the wrap with the bigger bubbles was easier for them to pop.
And yes, the adults joined in—-we couldn’t help ourselves 🙂
Rice is always so much fun to sift through and scoop. Our students love it.
We made a goo bag by mixing red food coloring and hand sanitizer in a zip lock freezer bag. It turned into this beautiful, almost iridescent color. We double bagged it (making sure to place the bag openings at opposite ends)—if quick little hands can open one end we are quick enough to stop them before they get to the other!
Our students were able to practice their pre- writing patterns, letters or a Chinese character, using their fingers (also giving them opportunities to practice finger individuation).
As usual, our students really enjoyed playing with the water, which is wonderful for tactile awareness as well as calming for some of our students. They are all starting to anticipate the hand lotion experience and it is so cute to see those little hands reaching out for their turn. For the ones that can apply it themselves, they are getting the opportunity to practice bilateral hand skills and crossing midline. For our students who do a lot of hand mouthing we apply the lotion on their upper arms or on the back of their necks.
Fine Motor Group—Chinese New Year
We read Cara’s awesome book and took turns stomping or rolling over some bubble wrap when we got to the page about the fireworks. Then we proceeded to make a chinese dragon mask (thanks to Martha the OT intern for coming up with this idea).
We pre cut the masks and taped on some dragon teeth. Then our students tore and crumpled tissue paper to glue onto the mask. This is a great way to recycle all that tissue paper that you get with presents! Of course, we talked about all the different colors and gave our students opportunities to practice choice making.
Tearing and crumpling the tissue paper is good for bilateral and hand intrinsic functions.
Dipping the tissue paper into the glue (a recycled lid makes a great dipping bowl) is great for promoting pincer grasp skills and placing the tissue on the plate addresses eye hand coordination.
We put 2 dots of glue and placed the circles on top.
Then we glued the “nose” onto the plate.
This deserved a big Ta-Da, don’t you think!
On Thursday, we continued our celebration of Chinese New Year by reading “Its the Chinese New Year” again and then making a dragon puppet.
First, we found a chinese dragon picture on google images and enlarged it. The images were glued on to poster board (we found that using a glued stick works best) and had Jeannie’s practicum students cut them out.
Then our students used markers to color them. We like using markers because of their low friction component and intense colors. This makes it easier (as opposed to crayons or pencils) for our students to make marks.
Joy the OT just has to comment on this lovely little functional grasp of the marker 🙂
We particularly like this little tripod marker that works perfectly for this student.
Of course, we never pass up an opportunity to add glitter and googlie eyes 🙂
And here they are—-some pretty spectacular chinese dragon puppets!
Happy New Year!!!!!
Language Group—Letter R
The students used a car shaped eraser (too cute) on the dry erase board. We drew a large circle to encourage crossing midline and placing it on a vertical surface promotes shoulder stability.
Tong activities are great for hand strengthening, eye hand coordination, and developing the graded motor control needed for scissor skills.
We hot glued a shower curtain ring to the back of the toy and some hook velcro to its mouth. When the velcro comes into contact with the pompoms, they stick pretty well.
We counted how many Radishes each student gave the Rabbit to eat, addressing math access points. Discussing the spherical shape of the pompom also addresses math access points.
Some of our students used standard water color brushes but others needed ones with larger handles. We were so proud of this student for really staying on task—nice job!
We counted how many Robots were on each students page and named the colors as the students chose them.
We found putting just a little water in a plate helps cut down on spillage and water logged papers.
What a great week, we had so much fun! Please come back next week for more fun Group by Group!