You will need:
- Colorful necklaces (available for purchase at MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop)
- Exercise ball (available for purchase at MissMancy’s AMAZON Shop)
Many of the children that OTs work with have weak core muscles. This includes abdominal muscles and back muscles. It is very important to work on core first as it is the center of ones body. A strong core means stability and we always strive for stability before mobility. In other words, before working on movement such as coordination, balance etc…, we must make sure that we work on building a stable/solid core so that the child doesn’t compensate during movements but instead completes activities with proper form.
Core work is also important for children with handwriting issues. A child with a weak core will use his arms to prop himself on the table as to support his trunk instead of freely using his hands to write. You can now understand how important it is to work on core strength (and why us OTs are always on the search for activities to work on these muscles in a fun way of course! 🙂
I like using this activity to help children strengthen their abdominal muscles. I give them as much support as they need to succeed but be challenged. Sit your child on an exercise ball and kneel in front of him. Provide support at the hips and let them rest their feet on your lap. Proper form is important.
Place the necklaces behind the ball. I use two to three of each color. Ask your child to lean back and pick up a necklace.
Depending on the child, I will use this opportunity to teach concepts.
Color concept: Pick up a necklace the color of a strawberry (red)
Letter concept: Pick up a necklace with the color that starts with B (blue) or one with the color who’s last letter is W (yellow)
Word concept: Pick up a necklace that IS NOT yellow OR pick up two necklaces that are the SAME or that are DIFFERENT
Help your child pull himself back up to sitting. Make sure he tucks his chin IN on his way up and provide as much support as needed on the way up and down. If your child has difficulty tucking his chin, place a little bean bag for him to hold with his chin when coming back up to sitting.
Once in sitting have the child place the necklace around your neck. I find that with children who have difficulty making eye contact, this is a wonderful way to encourage eye contact with you in a non-threatening way.