Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Revving Up the Coloring

Jack is not known for being a big fan of coloring but he is well known for enjoying playing with anything with wheels. I saw Vroom Vroom at No Time for Flashcards and it reminded me of a great idea a friend had given me to have Jack color with car crayons. I never found any so I was thrilled to finally get to try out the idea.

I already had candy molds that I used to make Jack dairy free chocolates back when we thought he was allergic to all dairy products. And I had some crayons that we had previously melted to make thinner and easier for his little hands to hold. I just remelted them.

Here was my finished product.

The truck, airplane, and train turned out best. Next time, I won't use previously melted crayons. I think I would have gotten better results. I also probably won't use the muffin cup liners. Last time I melted the crayons straight in the pan and that seemed to work better.

And a little tip....if you are messy like me and excess crayon is cruded on your candy mold, just boil some hot water and pour a little over the mold just where the crayon is stuck. It melts the excess and you just rinse it away. (That is okay since crayons are non-toxic, right?)

I chose the best looking ones to present to Jack.
We got a bit of zoom zooming out of them.
Jack wasn't really thrilled with them though and he has learned a grasp that works for him with regular crayons. I'm not sure that he could really tell what they were supposed to be except for me telling him because of his visual limitations. I do think that a visual child would love them though. So we'll be filing this away under creative gift ideas.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jack's first regular paper actual "dot to dot". He did not enjoy this as much as our chalk sticker dots and definitely not as much as the animated Ipad dot to dots but he did tell me the next number and held the crayon as I guided his hand to the next dot.

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Sorting by Color

As I was scouring the web for ideas, I came across The Easiest Toddler Color Sorting Activity. I loved the simplicity yet effectiveness of the activity.

I do have construction paper and various colored pegs and what not around and could have done the activity just as laid out here but I decided to try it with Jack's light box hoping that it would help him to more easily distinguish the colors.

 I pulled out the blue and red overlays,

the red and blue pegs,
and also the red and blue bowls*.
*Jack has fine motor issues and difficulty distinguishing colors so I decided to decrease the challenge a bit for the introduction of the activity. I pre-sorted the pegs into their correctly colored bowls.

Here's the set-up with the overlays side by side on the lightbox.


Here's what it will look like with two of the pegs correctly placed.


Jack seemed to have real difficulty with this activity.


I helped him place one blue peg in the correct spot to get him started.

He really acted as though he did not get what I was asking him to do. I previously mentioned that we were concerned that he might be color blind. At times, he seems to recognize colors in isolation but it's not 100%. Even though he knows color names now, it's hard to tell if he's not paying attention (looking at the object) or he just doesn't know the color.

Off to the web I went to try to understand why this task might be difficult. I found this comparison of what a person with and without colorblindness might see when looking at a color wheel.

See how similar the red and blue appear?

So the big question.....was the activity difficult because he just plain old wasn't interested or is he color blind and finds it difficult to distinguish the two colors?

And I wonder if using the light box and light box materials exacerbated the difficulty of identify the colors.....

I'll take any suggestions especially from those of you who are color blind.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jack's Kind of Sensory Play-Vestibular

When the trike tilts up on 2 wheels as you round the table, you definitely activate your vestibular senses.

Sensory Play

I've seen this idea on lots of different sites and lots of blogs so I don't really remember exactly where I first heard the idea but here's our incarnation.

You need a large container of some kind.

We had this great cookie tin that our neighbor gave us last year. I chose it because the beans make a nice sound when stirred around in the tin.

Add your beans.


Select some small toys and/or prizes that will motivate a reluctant kiddo to reach in for the sensory play.


Bury your toys/prizes.
Hmmmmm......if you are like me and you run out of beans and your toys are not buried, add rice.

You can do surprise digging from here or you can make picture and/or word cards to give the kids a specific item to dig for.

I elected to make cards to encourage Jack to dig. I then labeled the cards with black marker and braille.

Since I had cookies in the "sensory tin", I waited until after lunch when the inevitable cookie request would be made. I explained that we were going to play a game to get his cookie.

I showed him the cards to show him what was buried.

Then I introduced the tin....


Hmmmm....I am not impressed.

He was a little hesitant to stick his hand in so I helped him move the rice and beans around hand over hand.


Got what I'm after!

 Once he found the cookie, he was all done! Well, at least he did not fuss and did reach his hand in. I'll save our rice and beans in the tin for play another day.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hodge-podge of Stuff

First up, I recently discovered ABC Jesus Loves Me which has a nice preschool home school curriculum for FREE if you are looking for a specific plan to follow. We do not follow a regimented curriculum but rather work learning experiences into our everyday fun but the site has great information regarding handwriting. Then, a good friend recently introduced me to I Can Teach My Child. There are lots of fantastic ideas on that site! I combined ideas from these two sites to create our own no fuss handwriting practice.

Jack has found immense enjoyment playing dot to dot on his Ipad. When I saw a post on Christmas sticker letter dot to dots I thought that the idea presented a perfect opportunity to capitalize on this new found enjoyment.  It reminded me a little of the handwriting worksheets from  ABC Jesus Loves Me.

So I combined the two ideas....
1.  I used a highlighter and wrote out Jack's name at the top of  a piece of construction paper.
2.  On the bottom of the paper, I used the highlighter to draw three straight lines for Jack to practice.
3.  I used sticker dots to create the start and end dots for the letters of Jack's name.
4.  I used larger stickers to create the start and end points for the straight lines.

and added an idea or two of my own....
5. I put it on a fairly light colored construction paper so bright white or some other bright color would not     cause Jack to turn away from it.
6. I put the "worksheet" on Jack's textured clipboard. Back when Jack was still receiving therapy through our local school system, his vision teacher gave us some textured contact paper that we put on a clipboard creating a textured writing surface to give Jack some sensory feedback when writing/coloring/drawing.
7. I used a fat piece of sidewalk chalk as our writing utensil. We have recently been enjoying chalk drawing together and I was hoping that this activity could be an extension of that.


We traced his sticker dot to sticker dot name hand over hand then we did the first sticker to sticker straight line hand over hand. The other two he did readily without any assistance at all. The entire thing took just a couple of minutes. He did not fuss one little bit and seemed pretty proud of himself when he was all done.



Next up, I had a "how-to" idea of my own. I have been trying to find something to put on Jack's jacket zipper pulls to make them easier for him to hold onto while learn to zip and unzip.

I saw this cute little charm on clearance for $2.

Most jacket zipper pulls have some kind of hole on them somewhere.


I attached the charm to the hole in the zipper pull.

He's still getting the hang of it but at least now hanging on to the zipper is not the problem.


Finally, I leave you with a picture of our favorite kind of "sensory" activity.....

We call it pile o'friends and if you look carefully, Jack is in there!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We drew me!

I drew a circle and handed Jack the chalk. He drew the body. I drew the arms and legs. We did the hair together.