Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fine Motor Skills in the Kitchen

Lots of preemies (and lots of other kids too!) qualify to receive therapies through different Early Intervention programs. My little C. currently receives speech and occupational therapy. It is my belief that, while it is an amazing resource to have these trained therapists come into our home, it is not "one hour a week" that is going to help my daughter grow and improve. It is just as essential that I pay attention during these therapy sessions and try to adapt some everyday activities to include appropriate challenges.

I absolutely love to have my children with me in the kitchen. They are my ever-willing and always enthusiastic assistants. It also doesn't take too much to impress them. And it is in my kitchen that I have found some great ways to work in some "occupational therapy (OT) homework", if you will.

There are two main things our therapist works on with our daughter: fine motor skills and sensory processing. When my children are with me in the kitchen- particularly when I'm doing something they really can't help with (e.g. chopping veggies, frying meat, etc.)- here are a couple of great OT-related activities:

Manipulating beans between the sections of an egg carton takes precision and a good neat-pincer grasp. Adding numbers to each "cup" ups the difficulty level for the 3-year old.

Flour is a fabulous sensory material! Little hands can explore, rub, lift to smell, you name it. Note how close that little foot is to the plate. Trust me- it made it into the flour too. Rice, sugar, sprinkles, and oatmeal are easy substitutions. And they all sweep up in a jiffy.

There are innumerable ways to practice OT skills in the kitchen. It keeps my toddlers happy, helps them build skills, and lets me get my kitchen work done. Perfect!

For more kitchen tips, check out Kitchen Tip Tuesday, hosted at Tammy's Recipes.


Anonymous said...

Those are great ideas? Do you have problems with your daughter trying to eat anything that she is supposed to be playing with?

Anonymous said...

SOOO SORRY!!!!!!!! That should definitely NOT be a question mark in my previous comment. That's what I get for answering the questions of a 3 year old and typing at the same time.

Those really are great ideas!!!

JessieLeigh said...

Amy- I spend a lot of time answering 3-yr old questions too. : ) My daughter (who's 2) really doesn't put many things in her mouth anymore, but I do tend to stick to things that (while they may not TASTE good) won't really hurt her either. With the dry beans, I still keep a close eye on her. My 3-yr old won't mess with them. Thanks so much for the comment(s)!

BarbaraLee said...

When my kids were that age I would have them help cook. They would cut up fruit, like cant., after I cut it in half they would clean it then I would slice it into sections and they would take a butter knife and cut into chucks. What a thrill they had.

Ryann said...

Addy likes to be in the kitchen with me also, but since she has just started walking, it can be not so safe if she is underfoot. I sit her in the bumbo seat in the middle of the island (gasp!... I know this isn't the safest mommies, but I'm never more than an arms reach from her - trust me! My kitchen is tiny!). I have been using tupperware containers and adding a few pieces of dry pasta to it. She likes shaking it and making noise. I also give her a wooden spoon to bang on the bumbo tray. As she gets older, we'll attempt more fine motor activities such as these. Thanks jessieleigh for the great ideas!