Rock, Paper, Scissors!

Do your kids know how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors? We have had to use it to settle a few debates at our home during this closure, so if your kids are not familiar with it, this may be a good time to try it out! This activity has 3 parts: a read aloud, a cutting activity, and then a writing/graphing activity. First, a read aloud of one our favorite books. It’s funny for big kids, little kids, and even the grown-ups!

Next, you can get some fine motor practice with a cutting activity. For this cutting activity, you will need scissors and paper. Cutting practice is a great activity no matter your child’s age or skill level. Cutting skills address bilateral coordination (using 2 hands together) and visual motor accuracy (using hands and eyes together).

Begin by drawing lines and shapes on paper based on your child’s skill level. For preschoolers, try drawing short lines along the edge to work on snipping or a single thick line across the paper.

For older students, try zig zag lines, wavy lines, or small shapes. Cutting along curved edges is more challenging than snipping or straight lines.

The final part of the activity includes handwriting and graphing practice. First, make a prediction about which one with have the most wins – rock, paper or scissors. Then play 10 rounds with a partner. Record the results in the list each time and then fill in the graph by coloring the box with the correct number of wins. Was your prediction correct? Here is an example of how I simplified this at home without a printer…

And I also developed a worksheet/document that you can print and complete if that works for you. It is attached here…

Rainbow Activities

There is something magical about rainbows, no matter your age! My kids always have fun looking for a rainbow after a spring shower. Here are a few rainbow themed activities to enjoy this Spring.

First, a quick warm up… head outside and find a dry spot to sit in your driveway. You will need some chalk. Sit with your legs crossed on the ground. Make 2 small marks – these will be the start/finish of your rainbow. Encourage your child to stay in the criss cross position while connecting the 2 marks with a big arch. Repeat a few times and then switch colors. This activity targets crossing the midline, visual tracking, and upper extremity strength.

Ready to start
Connecting the X with an arch
Our rainbow!

Next, a quick and easy rainbow craft. Here’s what you will need:

  • colored paper (rainbow colors) cut into 2 inch squares
  • white glue or glue stick
  • scissors
  • piece of cardboard or cardstock cut in the shape of a rainbow
  • cotton balls (optional)

Creativity is encouraged here! I asked the kids to glue the sqaures onto the cardboard in any way that they would like to make a rainbow. For me, this about the process and the skill… not the product. You can use a glue stick or white glue. Using a bottle of glue is always a good skill to work on. It is hard for kids to make just a dot of glue. This activity requires executive functioning skills to be able to plan and execute their plan for their design. It also will take self regulation skills to use the glue and complete the project. We added cotton ball clouds at the end.

Adaptations:

  • To make this activity easier, make a mark on the cardboard where you want your child to place the colored square. You can limit the amount this way.
  • To make this task harder, make the colored squares smaller. This will require increased fine motor precision, as well as self regulation to complete the task.

For older students, you can extend this activity with a writing prompt to work on handwriting. Here’s what we did…

I hope you all have been having more rainbows than rain during this difficult school closure time. Please send any questions or comments my way!

Ghost Writing

Ghost writing is a really fun way to work on a few skills including spelling, sight words, snap words, and handwriting.

For this activity, you will need paper, a white crayon, and markers. You can also use watercolor paints, however we found that markers worked better and were quicker.

My 2nd grader needs to work on spelling snap words. He was able to work on spelling and handwriting for this activity. I read off a word he needed to practice, he wrote the word in white crayon, and then he colored over it with marker to reveal his writing. So simple, yet so engaging! You can practice this on lined paper or even make boxes for the words if size/spacing is something your child needs to work on.

For younger students (preschool/kindergarten), we tried copying shapes from a model (rather than words or letters). Here’s an example:

If your child is not ready for shapes and words, drawing/scribbling and then going over the crayon with watercolor paints was fun, too! For a student who may be reluctant to hold a crayon or paintbrush, the idea of searching for a mystery shape or picture may engage them in this task.

Comment below with what mystery words, shapes, or pictures your child was able to reveal with ghost writing!

High Kneeling Ball Activity

Hi friends! Here is my first blog post with an idea for an activity you can easily do at home. I am home with my 3 kids. I have a 2nd grader (age 8) and 2 preschoolers (ages 3 and almost 5). The activities I post will easily be adapted for children ages 3-10 and I will give suggestions on how you can do that at home. One of our biggest struggles since we have been home is balancing screen time with school work. So many of the suggestions sent our way have been related to school work on the computer. While it is incredible the amount of resources available to us online, I have struggled with limiting screen time at my house. My hope is to send you ideas that will not include or will limit using a screen to complete.

For this activity you will need paper and markers/crayons and a small ball. If you have colored construction paper, that would work best. You can use crayons or markers though if you do not have colored paper.

First, decide what skill you would like to address with your child. Here are some suggestions based on age:

Preschool – colors, shapes, uppercase letters, numerals 1-10

Early Elementary (Grades K-1) – upper and lowercase letters, numerals 1-100, sight words, single digit addition and subtraction

Upper Elementary (Grades 2-5) – math facts (double digit addition/subtraction, multiplication, division), sight words, vocabulary words

For my kids, I chose colors and shapes for the preschoolers and math facts for my 2nd grader.

Next, cut the colored paper into about 3X5 rectangle. If you are working on shapes or math, etc. draw the shapes or write the numbers on the paper. Tape them to the wall about 3 feet off the ground. Here’s what it looked like at our house:

My preschooler working in high kneeling on identifying shapes

Last, I put a yoga dot on the floor to mark the spot for them to kneel, but you could use another piece of paper, a piece of tape, or a small pillow.

Now, you are ready to play. Make sure your child is in the high kneeling position. If they sit on their heels, remind them to lift up into high kneeling. This position works your child’s core muscles, which supports their postural strength and stability.

Call out the colors, shapes, numbers, etc. and have your child throw the ball at the target and try to catch it while maintaining the high kneeling position. This activity works on eye-hand coordination and shoulder stability, as well.

Adaptations:

  • If the kneeling position is too challenging, allow your child to alternate between kneeling and standing.
  • Change the size of the ball based on ability. The smaller the ball, the bigger the challenge.
My 2nd Grader working on math facts
My youngest preschooler working on identifying colors

I hope you find this activity to be fun and easy to try at home! Leave a comment to let me know which skill you worked on while high kneeling!

Welcome to Play Learn Shine!

Welcome! My name is Kathy Cook and I am a school-based occupational therapist. I have 18 years of experience of working with children 0-18 years of age in their homes or school. I decided to start this blog to provide my students who are home due to school closure with weekly activities to promote skills and participation in school (and life!) related tasks. I hope that the information you find here will support your child’s learning and growth while keeping them happy and engaged.