Monday, August 8, 2011

Everyday therapy

You know those little guides on toy packages that highlight the various skills the toy is good for - fine motor development, hand/eye coordination, etc. - well I never paid much attention to those before Aiden. I'd buy toys for Ethan, my first-born, without any specific criteria in mind. Rather it just had to catch my eye, feel soft and look cute.

Once I had Aiden, that all changed. It was no longer just about aesthetic appeal. Buying toys became an opportunity to stimulate his senses, develop his mind and work on certain motor skills. It was something I took quite seriously.

As my thoughts on toy-buying shifted, so did pretty much everything. I'd get ideas from his weekly therapy sessions and elaborate on them throughout the day. With a little imagination, normal items around the house became a tool to help Aiden fine-tune certain skills. Sometimes I find myself having to just STOP and let him play, rather than turn everything into therapy.

Recently, as I was perusing the clearance bin at Barnes & Noble, I came across something that I just have to share. It was a little box of awesome called a "Preschool Prep Kit" by Grasshopper. This item was probably created for the teacher set, but was such an amazing find for an ordinary mom like me who is so focused on finding ways to incorporate skill building into creative play.

The boys couldn't wait to open the box and see what it included. Inside was a flip-chart style activity guide with clearly marked instructions and difficulty levels. Every single activity was geared towards a specific fine-motor skill.

For instance, they traced a picture with squeezable glue, then used small plastic tongs to pick up pom-poms and place them along the glue line to make a picture.

So simple and it kept them occupied for quite a while (which allowed me to empty the dishwasher and clean the kitchen :) And that is just one of the many activities outlined in the kit.

Anyway, just thought I'd share. Perhaps you can keep an eye out for this as you shop for birthday or Christmas gifts for your kiddos. I'm sure there are many other products geared towards skill-building for kids. If you have any you'd like to share, leave a comment below!

* I was not asked or compensated in any way to post about the above and all opinions about the product are my own.

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