Motor Skills Development As Part Of Our At Home OT Program

There are as many reasons for working on motor skills development as there are diagnoses. In our home, we have a combination of dyspraxia, autism, dysgraphia, and SPD. From the very beginning, motor skills were a big focus with our occupational therapy.  It’s really not as hard as you may think if you do some research and get a plan in place.

I prefer having tools that are ready to use and easy to understand when it comes to therapy at home. If they are really affordable, that’s even better. Fundanoodle is designed by pediatric occupational therapists and early childhood educators to be a tool that can be used at home, in the classroom, and without any special training. All the products, save one, are under $20.

The method is fun for learners and for parents. The zooming, zipping, hopping, and swooshing make writing fun. The pounding is excellent for sensory seekers. The scissors only cut paper. These are some seriously good tools to use with your kids.

At Home OT: Motor Skills Development

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Muscle Mover Cards

Muscle Mover Cards come in both Upper Case and Lower Case. They come with a dry erase marker as well as a metal ring to keep them together.

Ways to Use Them:

  • Handwriting practice and letter recognition by tracing the letters with the dry erase marker and identifying the letters.
  • Each letter has an animal on the front. Each animal is described as doing an action, for example the A has “Run like an Antelope”. When the wiggles get out of control or I can sense a need for directed movement, we use these cards to have a purposeful “time out” to regroup or as a reward for a completed task. Gross Motor Skill development has never been so fun! We also use Get the Wiggles Out Game for similar activities to keep it fresh and fun.
  • Muscle Mover Cards are portable because of their size. We take them with us to appointments, doctor visits, long car rides, etc. They give the boys something to do that isn’t screen oriented.
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The “I Can Pound” Set

Due to our varied challenges, we have worked on hand eye coordination, fine motor sequencing, visual motor skills, color patterning, and visual perception on and off for 4 years now. The I Can Pound set addresses all of these in one activity that children love!

  • The hammer is specially designed by OT’s to be top heavy and to assist with strengthening the muscles needed for handwriting.
  • Sensory seekers love the pounding.
  • The foam board is very sturdy and lasts a long time. If it does wear out, it can be replaced individually.
  • The I Can Pound kit addresses manual dexterity, math skills, body perception, tactile input and exploration, logical thinking, and improved concentration.
  • This kit has helped my 6 year old with self-regulation, he uses it to get out frustration and agitation instead of being rough or retaliatory. Yay for sensory input.
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The I Can Write Series

Fundanoodle’s writing program includes Upper Case, Lower Case, and Cursive pads. Each pad is bound on the top so it is good for both right and left handed writers. The letters are arranged in order of easiest to write rather than alphabetical. The stop and go lines provide visual cues  that help children to align letters and stay within writing boundaries. The sheets have enough squares that you can do half at a time for children who fatigue easily.

We have had more success with this in working around dysgraphia than with any of the other programs we tried. The pages have a single very simple graphic and the colors are limited. The simple layout keeps children from being overwhelmed with a busy and colorful sheet so they are able to focus better. Our OT has even commented on the progression.

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I Can Build Letters and Dry Erase Magnetic Board

I Can Build Letters Upper Case and Lower Case sets assist with visual memory, letter/shape recognition and formation, facilitate finger tracing for correct muscle memory and for letter formation, and increase fine and visual motor skills overall.

Children use color cues to build the letters enforcing letter formation in a fun new way. The magnets are strong and help to build muscle strength. The dry erase magnetic board has the same stop and go lines as the I Can Write pads for additional practice. The back side of the board is blank and makes a great work surface for the I Can Build Letters magnets. It is small enough for a child to keep on their lap and travels well.

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Fundanoodle Activity Pads

Fundanoodle Activity Books Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 and I Can Do Fun Activities pad all contain fun writing exercises to help improve hand control and endurance. These fun activities help develop fine motor skills and build confidence for the child. We have found them very useful as activities during integrated therapeutic listening time, as well.

With the right tools, occupational therapy can be successfully enhanced at home and at school. What are some ways you encourage handwriting development a home?

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Lara: Saved by God’s amazing grace. Feeder of the family which includes: Husband John, Mr. T, Mr. F, Peanut the hamster (who likes to escape), Aslan the wonder dog, and Lucy, Lizzie, and Henrianna; the resident providers of breakfast. Writer, hypothyroidism fighter, gardener, and Spartan sprinter wannabe.

Finder of grace at Everyday Graces.