So yesterday, I quickly made up a lap tray of activities for Liam’s ABA therapist to take into the playroom with them. This is definitely a throw it together collection of activities hence the name Throw It Together Tuesday! Might catch on! As much as I would have loved to have been organized to have a theme, I wasn’t and Liam didn’t notice. 😉 I’m always hoping to do more themes or make super pretty activities but in the end I remember something my husband has said before but half quoted from someone else: “Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress”. So maybe it’s not pretty or thematic but we did actually spend quality time together.
I have always been interested in Montessori style activities and have found that Liam can tolerate them and learn some good skills from them as well. He has a very hard time with open-ended play. This morning we just did table work but we do work on both types of activities! ( I put some background info on Liam at the end of the this post if you want to know a little more about him and his goals/needs.)
I found this dump truck counting and number recognition printable worksheet from The Measured Mom and we chose to use our duplos for filling the truck. We actually played around with adding and subtracting not just clearing the truck and starting over each time. It has numbers up to 20 but that was a little long for Liam so we stuck to 1-12 and went out-of-order so I would choose a higher number and then a lower number to give him a break. He is not able to sit by himself yet with a task like this and needs constant verbal exchange to get through it but is happy to do that so I agree. I would love it if one day he could move through a little of it on his own. Really he does know what to do but would rather have an adult sit with him at all times!
Liam enjoys dot painting but needs to have a pattern to fill in and he will methodically work away. Blank white paper is really tough for him and I would need to keep talking him through it, like let’s do three more pink over here and another blue over here… I printed this flower from 3dinosaurs. They have many great ones for Spring just out! At first he needed a high-five after every dot but I managed to limit it after he finished a color and then a big high-five at the end. There are a good amount of dots on the page good for working on control. Since he doesn’t have an interest in most things, he often rushes through everything. He was pretty proud of his flower though!
The fun keeps going…..
This is a little counting and grid game from PreKinders. We have printed out a few of these and he always enjoys them and they are pretty quick to do too. Usually we have a large set of dice but I didn’t want to waste time looking for it while I still had him sitting so we used the lower numbers from the dump truck activity. He would randomly draw one from the pile and place the corresponding amount of lady bugs on the leaves. Pretty straightforward but it is good for him to do it slowly and at points we stop and count how many lady bugs we have on the mat and how many empty leaves are left.
Not sure how much he actually enjoys this one but seems to be willing to do it anyway. This is terrific for his pincer grip or his pinchy fingers as we call them. He doesn’t like many fine motor building toys or coloring/drawing but still needs to develop the pincer skill and strengthen the muscles for it. This is also great for patience and frustration and is actually a pretty long task. I featured it in an earlier DIY post since it is pretty easy to throw together. First he separated the beads by color, one at a time, into the paint palette. He needed a lot of prompts to get started and he did better after he chose to do one color at a time. He likes to try to pick up multiple beads but I encourage him to slow down and pick up one at a time. After he was all done, he counted each color back and marked how many there were with a clothes pin on the appropriate number. He likes clothes pins. This activity was really heavy-duty on focus and I was a bit surprised we made it to the end. He does look forward to counting things.
There you have it, my throw it together Tuesday but carried over to Wednesday tray! Liam and his therapist did a few of the activities yesterday but he seemed willing to do them again, so hey why not? Together, we “played” over an hour and then went on to read several picture books before getting ready for school!
Depending on his interest for all activities, I stretch them out or shorten them as needed so he can be successful enough to keep wanting to do them with me! We don’t always play by the rules but in a good way and hopefully as his skill level increases, we can increase the difficulty of activities to maybe what the directions originally were.
Here is a little background info on Liam and Liam’s room: He has an awesome playroom separate from his bedroom which has been great for doing one on one therapy and helping him to use his toys. We also have an awesome wooden climber for getting out energy! At the moment there isn’t a work table up there but I think I will move our Nilo table up there. This is also an awesome table especially when you can get a used one like we did! though, before the table goes up, something has to come down. I try to keep the room as uncluttered as possible so Liam has an easier time making choices. Also I am in the process of developing theme boxes. His Occupational Therapist had suggested that he is better off sitting in a chair to play or having his toys at waist height on small tables instead of on the floor. We have always noticed that he does not chose often to sit on the floor and it looks like he has a harder time when he does. She said this is because of some sensory processing issues and his equilibrium when bending at the waist.
ABA therapy has made a huge difference but we have a way to go! Some of Liam’s goals in therapy are to be able to attend longer to tasks, do tasks independently, and to increase patience and fine motor skills while decreasing frustration levels. He doesn’t have strong preference for anything in particular like trains or cars or legos so nothing really draws him in to expand his play independently. Liam seems to prefer tasks that have a clear beginning and end but often won’t do the same task twice unless he really, really and I stress really wants to. This is not often! He is much more gross motor oriented! Instead of buying toys, games, puzzles, and building materials, I do a lot of printing from the computer. Believe me, we have more than enough of the other in case he wants to do something. My closet is like a toy store. Using the printable packets, we can work on skills without having to do the same activity twice and I get to see an enthusiasm for engaging with me that I don’t often see if we try to play with his toys in traditional ways. Fortunately, he loves being read to and can sit everyday for long periods of time listening to stories. This has been a lifesaver for bonding and enjoying time together.