DIY Abacus Counting Frame (Rack Rack)

This activity provides many benefits while creating the abacus and while playing with the finished product.

To create the abacus:

Use 2 toilet paper rolls or cut a paper towel roll in half.

Use the pencil to mark and puncture equal height dots on each paper roll. The pipe cleaners will be attached there.

Cut the pipe cleaners to be equal length. Each one should be about 6 inches in length.

Insert one side of the pipe cleaner to the top hole on the paper roll.

Put 10 beads on the 1st pipe cleaner, and repeat these last 2 steps until you put all the pipe cleaners in the holes, and string all the pipe cleaners.

Insert the other end of the pipe cleaner into the 2nd paper roll.

Let your child be a part of putting this together to promote pincer grasp, bilateral hand use, and eye-hand coordination.

Don’t have pipe cleaners? Use a string instead.

Don’t have beads? Use Cheerios or buttons.

While playing with the abacus, the child gets to practice these skills as well.

Pickup Relay Games

Place two buckets in opposite sides of the room.

Fill one bucket with objects (Lego pieces, beads, plastic eggs, marbles, or anything that the child can pick up using tongs).

Have the child use the tongs to pick up an object from one bucket, run across the room, and drop it in the other bucket.

Grading Option

Place the objects in container or bucket full of sand or water.

Create an obstacle course for the child to go through.

Feed Me

In this activity, imagination and creativity are key components.

Begin by drawing the face of a child, a character (clown, robot, princess, etc.), or an animal that the child likes on the shoe box’s cover. Then, cut out the mouth of your figure so that it looks like the figure is opening its mouth. Make sure the opening is big enough so that the child is able to place the small objects through the opening.

Place the cotton balls (see additional ideas for objects below) on the table in front of the child or in a shallow bowl.

Give the tongs to the child and instruct her to hold it with her thumb, pointer, and middle fingers only, while tucking the pinkie and ring fingers into the palm of her hand. Then, ask the child to use the tongs to pick up one object at a time and feed the figure by placing the object into the figure’s open mouth.

This is where creativity comes into play as you can use the child’s imagination to decide what kind of food the cotton balls represent.

If you chose to draw an animal, you can have the cotton balls be the type of food this specific animal eats (i.e. monkey = bananas, dog = bones, bunny = carrots, etc.)

Based on the child’s developmental skills, you can have her draw the figure (can be a very simple figure) and cut the mouth opening independently.

Additional ideas for small objects (depending on the child’s age and abilities): pasta, beads (large and small), beans, cotton swabs, marbles, and Lego

Clothespins Butterfly

ClothespinsButterfly-front

Body Shape

Take one of your clothespins and paint it with colors. This will be the butterfly body.

Wings

To make the wings, take some colored construction paper and fold it in half.

Draw a pair of wings on the folded side of the paper, and cut around them using the scissors.

Unfold the wings and you will have two sets that are exactly the same.

Draw colorful lines and patterns over the wings.

Assemble Everything Together

Pinch open the clothes peg and glue the wings onto the top prong.

It is best to clip the clothes peg onto something so that it doesn’t get glued shut.

Decorate the body of the butterfly with your buttons and beads, and stick the googly eyes onto the top of the peg.

Playdough Therapy Treasure

OTPlanDough Unicorn kit

For this activity, you can use pegs, beans, beads, coins, and small toys.

Hide the small objects in the play-dough and ask the child to dig his fingers in and search for the hidden treasure.

Encourage the child to stretch the play-dough and work his fingers in.

When the child finds the treasure, ask him to take the object out using his thumb and pointer to promote pincer grasp.

If using pegs, you can use the pegboard and have the child design a picture on the board or you can ask him to draw lines, shapes, or letters.

If you choose to use beads you can have the child lace them on a string and make a necklace.

Fine Motor Beads Kids

Beads Fine Motor Activity

For this activity, you will need 2 pipe cleaners to form the body structure.

Shape the Body

Twist 2 pipe cleaners together in the middle – about 2/3 of the way up.

The twisted part will be the body.

Thread 3 large beads through both pipe cleaners to form a body.

Create Arms and Hands

Take both pipe cleaners and separate them, pulling each stick to either side of the body.

Thread about 5 medium beads onto each arm.

Curl and wrap the end of the pipe cleaner around the last bead to secure it in place.

These will be the hands.

Create Legs

Thread about 8 medium beads onto each leg.

Curl and wrap the end around the last bead to secure it in place.

These will be the feet.

Head Shape

To form the head shape, using the scissors cut one pipe cleaner in half and bend to form a circle shape with the ends twisted and touching.

Insert the ends of the pipe cleaner head into the top bead of the body to secure it in place.

Can You Feel It

Fill up a large container or a bucket with beans, rice, macaroni, sand, or birdseeds (you can mix a few media together if you wish to).

Let the child put his/her hands in the container and pour, sift or move the media from side to side.

When using bird seeds it is recommended to powder the child’s hands with some baby powder to keep the birdseeds from sticking to the palms of the hands.

Mixing small plastic shapes, plastic letters and numbers, small plastic animals and any other educationally related items in the media can be a fun way for the child to develop his/her stereognosis sense.

Decorated Bead Box

Place the beads in an open container.

Ask the child to dip the paint brush in glue or for tactile perception use his fingers. Cover one side of the plastic container with glue.

Using 2 fingers pick up one bead at a time and stick it on the plastic container.

Rotate the plastic container and repeat covering each side with glue and sticking beads on it.

For grading, use the tweezers to pick up the beads and stick on the plastic container.

Bean Mosaic

On a sheet of construction paper, sketch a simple picture, or allow the child to draw a picture/shape.

Using the glue, instruct the child to trace the outline of the picture.

Once the picture is outlined with glue, ask the child to pick up one bean or button at a time, and glue it along the outline of the picture.

If you wish to promote translation skills (finger to palm and palm to finger), ask the child to pick up 2 or more beans, transferring them one at a time into the palm of their hand, then transfer them out, one at a time, to be glued on the outline.

Let the child continue pasting the reminder of the beans on the picture, putting the beans close to each other.

To grade the activity up, provide the child with tweezers to pick up the beans.

Use larger buttons or pom-poms to grade the activity down.

Beads for All

Provide the child with different size beads and encourage him to use only his thumb and index finger to pick up one bead at a time.

The child strings the beads using his dominant hand to manipulate the lace and his non-dominant hand to hold the bead.

You want to make sure the child does not stabilize his arms on the table or push his elbows into the sides of his body for stabilization.

Remember that stabilization should occur at the shoulders and make sure the elbows are a couple of inches away from the trunk.