Is my child ready for school? How can I give them a balanced sensory diet? Have they learnt the necessary skills to make life in the classroom easier? Below are some ideas of things that you can do with your child to aid in their development.
Developing Eye Tracking
- Bean bag toss 2 hands 1 bag: Hold the bag in 2 hands. Focus the eyes on the bag and nose should be pointed at it. Toss the bag straight up – just above head height. Track the flight of the bag up and down with the eyes. Catch the bean bag with both hands. Repeat a few times. Practice until this can be done without dropping the bean bag.
- Bean bag toss 2 bags 2 hands: Hold a bean bag in each hand. Follow the same procedure as above; however, catch a bean bag with each hand.
- Figure 8’s: Place a sticker on your thumb nail. Hold the hand out directly in front of you (straight arm). Focus on the sticker. Move the arm in a figure 8 motion (crossing from one side of the body to the other). Follow the sticker with the eyes during the motion.
- Balloon Games: There are a variety of games that can be played using balloons. One idea is to use a cardboard tube as a bat and try and bat the balloon up into the air as many times as possible. For more advanced options, the child can have a designated area (such as within a hoop), that they need to try and keep the balloon in.
- Swingball and other ball activities (rolling, catching, kicking, throwing)
Holding a Pencil Correctly
It is very important that a child can hold a pencil correctly. Below are a few ideas you can do to strengthen the muscles in the hands and develop the ability to control the pencil. We also sell pencil grips which help to teach the child the correct technique.
- Finger Strengthening: Give each child a clothes peg. Place it between the thumb and index finger of the right hand. Press down 5 times. Now follow the same procedure but use the middle finger and thumb, followed by the ring finger and thumb and lastly the small finger and thumb. Do the same with the left hand.
- Walking fingers up and down the pencil Hold a pencil in each hand. Start from the point. “Walk” the fingers to the top of the pencil and down again. Do this a few times.
Body Map and Awareness
- Pointing to and naming body parts (example: arm, elbow, wrist, finger, knuckle, nail etc) on self and on others
- Naming body parts when eyes are closed: child closes eyes. Parent/caregiver touches body part and child needs to name it.
- Walking heel-toe along a line, pavement edge, beam etc
Balance and Coordination
- Balancing on One Leg (4-year-old = at least 8 seconds)
- Jumping Activities
- Using Playground Equipment
- Playing Ball Games – catching, throwing, kicking
- Riding Tricycles, Balance Bikes, Bicycles or Scooters
- Walking on a Balance Beam, the Lines in the Sidewalk, on the Sand
- Dunes and the Beach.
Creating a Balanced Sensory Diet
- Eye Tracking Games
- Be aware of the Quality of light, especially when reading
- Be aware of the Effect of colour on mood, behaviour and emotions
- Crafts, learning to sew, cutting and pasting
- Draw, dot-to-dot, mazes
- Match, sort and classify objects
- Play card games
- Find hidden objects in pictures
- Mentally manipulating objects in space
- Use music as a background to another activity
- Become aware of background noise
- Use different tones of voice
- Rhyming words
- Memorising songs and singing in tune (or maintaining a tune)
- Correcting sentence structure and tense
- Avoid baby talk above 1 year of age
- Make opportunities to feel a variety of textures
- Cooking tasks – stirring, mixing, kneading
- Rubbing lotion
- Water play and splashing in water
- Playing in the sandpit
- Pick up small objects with tweezers
- Introduce foods with a variety of textures, flavours, consistencies and spiciness
- Include foods in the diet that require sucking, licking, chewing over a long period, biting and crunching
- Teach your child to hum, whistle, sing and play with blow toys (eg: harmonica)
- Make your child aware of scents
Credits – https://www.smartlearning.co.nz/play-with-a-purpose