In my last blog post, Lauren Stern OTR/L and I discussed the art of obstacle courses in order to address the individualized therepeutic goals for a child. Obstacle courses are a great way to work on your child’s strength, balance, coordination, motor planning, handwriting, and fine motor skills while providing a variety of sensory input to his/her body. Here is another recipe that incorporates handwriting skill development and generalized strengthening.
Don’t forget about the different secret sensory ingredients you can add to any obstacle course to meet your child’s sensory needs.
A Spectacular Sentence Salad
Once children have mastered writing letters, they are expected to begin forming words and sentences. Elements of legible handwriting include appropriate spacing of letters and words, placing letters on lines, and sizing of letters.
Serves: School aged children
Large tactile bin (check out these fun ideas)
Tunnel to climb through
Couch cushions or large pillows (optional)
3-inch binder or slant board for writing surface
Pencil grip if needed
Plastic chopsticks (I like Zoo Sticks)
1. Hide the letter pieces in the tactile bin and have the child search with their hands (hiding their vision will make this more challenging!)This is great for tactile discrimination!
2. Taking the puzzle piece the child crawls through the tunnel.For an increased challenge of balance and strength, the tunnel can be placed on top of couch cushions. This is also a great way to add a secret sensory ingredient for heavy work and joint compression.
3. While laying on their stomach on propped elbows, have child write a sentence, “One/Two word(s) that start(s) with the letter A is/are…”This position works on shoulder stability. The paper is resting on the binder or slant board to promote a neutral wrist position. Add on a pencil grip, if needed, to promote a functional grasp that will aid in motor control. Be sure to encourage proper spacing, placement, and sizing of letters & words.
4. To promote fine motor skills, using chopsticks the child will place the letter into a small bin.
5. Last, wheelbarrow walk back to the starting point.
Repeat steps 1 through 5
What are your favorite obstacle course ideas???
- Sari Ockner, OTR/L Thanks to Lauren Stern OTR/L for contributing her creative ideas to this post!