If you work with young students then I imagine you love Dr. Seuss and will adore the fun of celebrating his birthday. His birthday is March 2, 1904. Occupational therapist can even get into the fun. Here are some things I do that first week of March to celebrate his life.
I love to do a basic obstacle course or a gross motor task using “_ at” words such as: cat, hat, Pat, mat, rat, sat, fat, Nat. Here I use large wooden blocks I found in a kindergarten classroom. I put them on a yoga mat to help them not slide. In my main school, I have about 12 sturdy kids stool that I use for reciprocal walking in a line or in a circle. The students have to crawl through the tunnel, then reciprocal walk over blocks, stay on blocks/ stools with their feet apart while picking up the word, and take it to the board to write. Here I have them stand on a balance disc to continue to work their balance muscles and the ability to focus on print while their body has to focus on balance. Often I will do things to work their working memory, spelling, or sentence development while doing the obstacle course. This can include me saying the new word when they finish writing one word so they use their working memory by having to recall it after crawling through the tunnel. Or to spell the word when crawling. Or to develop a sentence while moving through the obstacle course.
I came up with this fine motor coordination task a few years ago. I tell kids that they are building Dr. Seuss trees. They are golf tees pushed into packaging foam. Then they must try to put a small puff ball on top. The sparkly ones are harder. Surprisingly, it is a hard thing to do, in particular if you have motor coordination issues. You can make it even harder to have them put them on using tongs or just use the tongs to take them back off.
I also use my sparkle pom poms with a very easy fine motor task of pushing the through the opening of a water bottle. I found this probably at Target in the dollar section at the end of February. Remove the bit that you would suck water through but leave the small opening. Pushing balls that are slightly large than the opening to work those tripod fingers that are critical for holding pencils and crayons correctly. This would be an activity for a preschool class or a low level self contained classroom. Keep a close eye on your child that they do not put them in their mouth.
I also came up with these cutting crafts. I got two of my initial craft ideas from Pinterest and developed them further.
This first one, I have the student cut out one hat and a circle on card stock paper. I have a red hat already cut out to use for the strips. Or just cut out red long strips then trim after gluing on the hat. I love to use the plastic plate to help make the cat hair, as it forces them to stabilize with one hand while using the other. If you do not have a plate the correct size then just cut out a smaller circle out of firm paper or cardboard.
Click below for a printable of the hat
Click below for a printable of the circle, hat, and of Thing 2 craft.
I decided that I needed something a little easier for my students that are working on cutting across paper and snipping with scissors. This is normally a 3 year old skill. So I decided that the Thing 1 and 2 guys’ hair would be perfect for this. I could not find a good image for this concept so basically I used two images I saw online to draw a template for my craft folder (and now you have it also, see above link). I have the students cut across blue card stock paper. Then they take those strips and have them snip them for the blue hair. If snipping is not something your student/ child is able to work on then tearing paper is another perfect fine motor skill! Tear long and then tear little bits, or just have them tear the little bits from strips you made. This is another great way to work hand muscles. I covered up the head part, with a piece of paper, while my students colored their bodies red. Also note my short crayon, another way to force/ work that tripod grasp. Of course you can also use this as a coloring page. Coloring is an important skill for all children to work on (mainly ages 3-8) as it works on motor control. Even if they just scribble on the paper that is a good thing!
I also decided I needed something for my students working on a harder level of cutting. Being able to cut out a design should occur around 5-6 years of age. For this I made a Dr. Seuss Red Fish Bowl craft. I drew a picture of a Dr. Seuss fish bowl and enlarged a picture of his fish. They cut out and color these designs. Then we put it inside a blue sandwich bag (I find them at Walmart in the Spring time) Cut off the top part and use a glue stick to seal it shut. Then the fish can move around in its bowl. 🙂
I also like to do the pencil mazes, off course! Here are two that I like Click here for the harder maze in the picture And here is the link for an easier one This is another fun and different way to work on motor control/ coordination with a pencil. A skill that is needed to control print size and placement to the baseline.
Now I love this site for a great visual perceptual task along with reading and writing. You can basically read the book Wacky Wednesday from this site with your kids. On each page you find what things are wrong. It is a basic visual perceptual task but a good one. I will also use this for the kids that I want to write multiple sentences on a topic. Click here to read the book Wacky Wednesday or go to your local library to check this book out! I will add that I just found this book at Walmart with their Dr. Seuss celebration book display. I love the actual book even more! Such a perfect way to work visual scanning and visual perceptual skills.
With time, I hope to come up with more fun ideas. But this is a good place to start, for all of us. So have some fun celebrating an amazing author.