Cal Oct OT

Thank you for joining us in this month’s Sensory Challenge in honor of Sensory Awareness month! 


Here is your FREE Fall Sensory Activities booklet for you to print. 


Flip through the booklet and add creative sensory input to your day.  Invite the whole family to take part in these activities that can build on or add to a sensory diet.  


Complete one sensory activity each day.


Print off your October calendar to keep track. Just highlight the activities that you complete and fill in the whole month.  Follow the dates outlined or go through the activities on your own.  


Have fun this month and enjoy all the sensory experiences that October has to offer!
Looking for more ways to explore all things sensory this month?




Are you looking for more information on Sensory Processing and Proprioception (or any of the sensory systems and how they affect functional skills, behavior, and the body’s sensory systems?  This book, Sensory Processing 101, will explain it all.  Activities and Resources are included.  Get it today and never struggle to understand or explain Sensory Integration again.  Shop HERE.

Until October 10, we’ll be spreading some sensory love with this amazing deal:


The Sensory Processing 101 ebook (regular price $19.99)


AND



AND





The ebook will remain on sale for $9.99 for the rest of October, but the bundle will only be available until October 10 – so be sure to grab yours ASAP!

In-hand Manipulation for Functional Tasks and a Letter Activity

Kids require a lot of skills to write with a pencil, button a coat, zipper a shirt, and manage a handful of coins.  Today we’re sharing ideas to help your child with in-hand manipulation.  This skill is important for moving that pencil, erasing mistakes, and fine motor tasks like managing buttons and zippers, coins, small items that fit in the hand, and pretty much a ton of functional tasks. SO what is in-hand manipulation and what can you do to improve all of these skills in kids?  Here are a few ideas for you!  This fun and easy activity is part of our 31 Day series of Occupational Therapy series where each post this month are functional and creative activities that can be done in Occupational Therapy treatment or in activities for kids who might need to work on certain skills through play.  All materials are free or items that might be found in your home.

Toys and tools for working on in-hand manipulation skills in kids, perfect for handwriting, pencil use, buttoning, scissor use, zippering, and more from an Occupational Therapist.



In-hand manipulation activity for kids learning letters

This post contains affiliate links.  This easy play activity was a fun one to set up for my four year old.  She is practicing letter recognition and letter sounds so we practiced identifying letters with this foam puzzle that we have.  We found ours at a garage sale, but you can get one in dollar stores or 

a similar puzzle here.  Simply grab a pile of whatever you’ve got on hand to fill the letters.  We used beads, but you could use dry beans, corn kernals, dry split peas, or any other small item.

Toys and tools for working on in-hand manipulation skills in kids, perfect for handwriting, pencil use, buttoning, scissor use, zippering, and more from an Occupational Therapist.


Letter Recognition Activity for Preschool

To practice letter recognition, I called out a letter and my preschooler filled that letter with beads.  It was a great way for her to work on letter identification.  We also did a little phonetic awareness and I named a letter’s sound.  She then filled the letter that makes that sound.  She enjoyed testing me, too.  “I’m filling a letter that sounds like this: /mmmmm/.  What letter is that, Mom?”

Toys and tools for working on in-hand manipulation skills in kids, perfect for handwriting, pencil use, buttoning, scissor use, zippering, and more from an Occupational Therapist.


In-hand Manipulation 

So are you still thinking, “Ok, cool. I like it.  But what the heck is in-hand manipu-what”?

In-hand manipulation is essentially is the ability to move small objects around in your hand without using the other hand to help.  This skill is essential for managinfg small items within the hand for accomplishment of tasks. There are three parts to In-hand manipulation…translation, shift, and rotation.  We shared two fun activities to work on these skills here.  

In-hand manipualtion begins to develop around 18 months, with the greatest skill development occuring between 2 and 2 1/2 years old.  

Toys and tools for working on in-hand manipulation skills in kids, perfect for handwriting, pencil use, buttoning, scissor use, zippering, and more from an Occupational Therapist.

Parts of In-hand Manipulation

Finger-to-Palm Translation: Movement of an object from the fingers to the palm i.e. picking up a coin and moving it to the palm.

Palm-to-Finger Translation: Movement of an object from the palm to the finger tips.  (i.e. moving a coin from the palm to the fingertips to insert into a vending machine.)

Shift: Slight adjustment of an object on or by the finger pads. (i.e. adjusting a pencil up and down in your hand.)

Simple Rotation: Turning or rolling an object 90 degrees or less with the fingers moving as a unit. (i.e. unscrewing a toothpaste lid)

Complex Rotation: Turning an object more than 90 degrees using isolated finger and thumb movements. (i.e. Turning a paper clip)

Each of the above skills can occur with items “squirreled away in the palm using the pinkey finger and ring finger.  This is called “with stabilization”.  If other items are not pocketed away in the palm while in-hand manipulation occurs, it is called “without stabilization”.  Stabilization typically occurs around 2 years of age.
Toys and tools for working on in-hand manipulation skills in kids, perfect for handwriting, pencil use, buttoning, scissor use, zippering, and more from an Occupational Therapist.
Toys and tools for working on in-hand manipulation skills in kids, perfect for handwriting, pencil use, buttoning, scissor use, zippering, and more from an Occupational Therapist.
Activities to work on in-hand manipulation using (almost) free materials.  These a few of my favorite activities from my Occupational Therapy treatment bag and ones that should be pretty easy (and inexpensive!) to set up:
  • Roll play dough into small balls using only the fingertips.
  • Tear newspaper into strips, crumble it, and stuff an art project.
  • Use tweezers to pick up small items.  This works on the intrinsic muscles of the hands.
  • Lacing activities.
  • Eye Droppers to drop water into recycled lids.
  • Coin or button matching, sorting, and stacking.  We loved playing with coins for fine motor fun.
  • Small pegboards, tucking extra pegs into the palm of the hand.  You can use cut up straws and play dough, too.
  • Dropping small items into bottles with a small opening like we did here.
  • Pick up beads from the floor and drop into ice cube trays.
  • Push coins into a piggy bank.
  • Press buttons into a slit cut in the lid of a plastic tub.
  • Pick-up sticks.
  • Games with small chips.
  • Beading.
  • Twisting lids on/off water bottles.



In-Hand Manipulation Toys and Tools for Fine Motor Skills

Toys and tools for working on in-hand manipulation skills in kids, perfect for handwriting, pencil use, buttoning, scissor use, zippering, and more from an Occupational Therapist.
These are some fine motor tools that kids will love.  While they are definitely not free, they are additional ideas for in-hand manipulation play and learning.  These are toys that will help with handwriting, buttoning, zippering, managing snaps and shoe-tying, among other functional skills, and all through play.  

Lite Brite
is a classic art creating activity that works on fine motor skills, and especially in-hand manipulation. Prop the board up on a on angle and you’re getting excellent wrist extension which helps with translation from fingers to palm and vice versa.



 Lacing & Tracing Dinosaurs can help kids with lacing, managing strings, threading, bilateral hand coordination, and strength.  It’s a great activity to work on in-hand manipulation.  Try these Lacing & Tracing Sea Life cards, too.


HABA Color Peg is a fun creating activity to work on in-hand manipulation to translate the small pegs into the slots. 


 This Peg Board with 1000 Pegs
was one of my absolute favorite treatment tools in pediatric Occupational Therapy. I love the small size of the pegs that allow children to manipulate and manage the tools within their hands. The key to working on in-hand manipulation is to use items that are smaller than the child’s hand and these colorful pegs work on so many other skills besides the vital in-hand manipulation. 



 Manipulating coins is such a great way to work on in-hand manipulation. This Coinasaurus Bank
is a fun bank to practice with! 



 Spinning tops is a nice way to work on rotation. These Standard Tops
are fun! 



 The game, Ker Plunk Game
is an in-hand manipulation powerhouse. Handle the marbles to work on translation, and rotate the sticks with the thumb and the pointer finger. This is a game that will work on so many fine motor skills.

Toys and tools for working on in-hand manipulation skills in kids, perfect for handwriting, pencil use, buttoning, scissor use, zippering, and more from an Occupational Therapist.
Toys and tools for working on in-hand manipulation skills in kids, perfect for handwriting, pencil use, buttoning, scissor use, zippering, and more from an Occupational Therapist.

Healthy Yogurt Parfait Bar Snack

When you have kids in your house, snacks are a must.  With four kids, I go through a ton of snacks. We try to keep our snacking on the healthier side, with lots of fruits and vegetables and wholesome foods that will fill up the bottomless pit bellies that my kids have.  Do your kids do this too?  How do you keep your kids full without constantly feeding them?  Today, I’ve got a snack idea that was a total hit with my kids.  We made a Mini Yogurt Parfait Bar, loaded with fresh fruits and Greek Yogurt.  This was such a fun experience as well as a filling snack that kept the complaints of “I’m Hunnnnnngry” away, for a little bit longer than average!

This yogurt parfait snack bar will fill up the kids with wholesome fruit and Greek Yogurt! #SnackandSmile #sponsored



Greek Yogurt Parfait Bar

This snack idea was such a hit with all of my kids.  We made it as an after-school snack one afternoon.  You know that time of day when the kids are famished after a long day at school and homework just doesn’t seem appealing when the kids are dragging.  When we made these parfaits, it was all smiles and kids happily doing math (or in the younger kids’ case, staying out of the bigger kids’ hair while they ate their parfaits!)  It was so easy to throw together, that I will definitely be making this for play dates, birthday parties, and cousin sleep overs.  To get the kids really smiling, add a few fun containers for the fruits in the parfait bar.  



To make your Yogurt Parfait Bar, head to the store and grab your favorite kid friendly fruits.  We used Yoplait yogurt, blueberries, halved grapes, sliced bananas, strawberries, sliced kiwi fruit, apples, and our homemade granola. The fruits can really be customized to what you’ve got on hand.  For the yogurt, we used Yoplait Greek 100 Whips that we had found at Walmart.  The size of the Yoplait yogurt cups were the perfect size for my kids’ snack.  We could open two or three yogurt containers and it filled all four of my kids’ parfait snacks. Using a healthy option like Greek Yogurt makes for a filling and protein-packed snack, perfect for after-school.  It was so nice to grab everything I needed for this snack in one trip.  (Anything that makes things easier with my crew of 4 helps!)


This yogurt parfait snack bar will fill up the kids with wholesome fruit and Greek Yogurt! #SnackandSmile #sponsored



This yogurt parfait snack bar will fill up the kids with wholesome fruit and Greek Yogurt! #SnackandSmile #sponsored

Get your kids involved in the food prep for this snack!  My kiddos love to help me cook, so when I pulled out yogurt and their favorite fruits, they were ready to help with chopping and dicing. 


This yogurt parfait snack bar will fill up the kids with wholesome fruit and Greek Yogurt! #SnackandSmile #sponsored

This yogurt parfait snack bar will fill up the kids with wholesome fruit and Greek Yogurt! #SnackandSmile #sponsored

Scoop the fruits, yogurt, and granola into containers and arrange on a table or tray.  Next, show the kids how to layer the yogurt and fruit.  We used spoons for each fruit, but you could use toothpicks with older kids.  


This yogurt parfait snack bar will fill up the kids with wholesome fruit and Greek Yogurt! #SnackandSmile #sponsored

Once your parfait is done, enjoy!  How would a yogurt parfait snack bar work in your house?  Would you make one for an after school snack like we did or as a special weekend treat?  What is your favorite way to snack with Yoplait?  Let us know in the comments below!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of General Mills. The opinions and text are all mine.

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