As occupational therapists, it is our core function to ensure that our patients are able to function at their optimal levels in the activities of their everyday lives. WFOT defines occupations as the “everyday activities that people do…to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life. …include things people need to, want to and are expected to do.”
When you teach children, there is far more to know than simply the curriculum. A child is a developing person and their brains and neural systems follow a well-planned path of development. Understanding this developmental pathway is important if we are to notice where there may be glitches and then to correct them before they become entrenched and cause difficulties in later development.
Bilateral Integration is one of these key developmental areas that we need to understand. We need to be able to identify the symptoms and behaviours that show us that a child is struggling to develop his bilateral integration.
So, what is bilateral integration? The term “bilateral integration” really means exactly what it says: integration of two sides. Our brains comprise two sides, or “hemispheres” they are connected by a kind of bridge of neural tissue called the Corpus Callosum which has to send messages from one to the other, ensuring that they work together as a team. Bilateral integration is essential because the left hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of our body, while the right hemisphere controls the left side of our body.
You can see now that even walking needs close communication between both hemispheres. Balance in standing, walking or even sitting needs the muscles on both sides of the body to interact so that their movements complement each other and you don’t get one side pulling too strongly. Bilateral integration is part of normal development. When babies begin to wriggle and move in the womb, they are already beginning to develop their bilateral integration. But there can be times when it seems to stall. If you see your baby “bum-shuffle” instead of crawling correctly, he may be struggling with his bilateral integration. When he crawls correctly, he is reinforcing and improving his bilateral integration.
If we don’t have good bilateral integration for our movements, writing becomes arduous because sitting posture and stability will be affected. As we move our hand across the page, we need to make small postural muscle changes to keep our body still and stable.
Bilateral integration also affects our vision and how we see the world. The right side of the visual field sends its neural messages to the left visual cortex in the brain, while the left side of our visual field is perceived and interpreted by the right visual cortex. This is when you see children who twist and turn as their work crosses the page: they are trying to keep the work in one visual field only so that they do not have to rely on their under-performing bilateral integration. Some children start writing far from the left hand margin or stop writing shortly
after they get to the midline of the page. This too is a sign of under-developed bilateral integration.
In fact, even eye control needs well-developed bilateral integration. We have tiny muscles behind our eye-balls that control their movement. Each eye has its own set of tiny muscles and because each eye is on the opposite side of the body from the other, the two hemispheres have to communicate very closely to ensure that both eyes move together. If your child has signs of a “lazy eye” which seems to move less efficiently it is essential that you have him assessed
by a developmental ophthalmologist as soon as possible. If both eyes do not work together efficiently and our brain receives conflicting images, the brain decides to shut down the neural feed from one eye. This can cause permanent visual loss if not corrected early.
Bilateral integration is also important for learning phonics, spelling and reading. Not only do we need bilateral integration to control both eyes and then to combine the pictures from the left and right visual fields; but the part of our brain which interprets visual cues, such as shape and size of objects is on the right of our brain, while the left hemisphere interprets sounds and
auditory stimuli. When we learn phonics, spelling and reading, we need to recognise the shape and direction of letters and we must notice how close or far apart they are to know if they are
part of one word or separate words. This is all done by the right hemisphere. We need to immediately identify the auditory stimulus that the letters and the words represent and this is done in the left hemisphere. The Corpus Callosum needs to be quick and efficient in sending its messages through. We have to have good bilateral integration.
Knowing the signs and getting early help for children who are struggling to develop efficient bilateral integration, gives each child the chance to develop to their best potential.
CLICK HERE TO SEE A READING PROGRAMME THAT INCLUDES BILATERAL INTEGRATION WHEN TEACHING READING.
We need to become innovative and introduce movement into our lessons to bring out the best in ADHD children. Why are we surprised that children that children need to move to learn? Watch any of our pets and we see that we are wired to learn through movement. ;ADHD children need movement even more than others; and when you build movement into the lesson, they're able to show you just how clever they really are!
When ADHD children have to sit still to listen, they are working against their inner chemistry. Their dopamine pathways in the brain are inefficient and their attention wanes markedly. When they move, they become more energised and alert. You will even see their eyes take on a new sparkle! Suddenly you get answers to the questions you ask and they begin to make connections between what you taught before and what they’re learning now.
Over the years I worked with many children with ADHD, helping them catch up what they have missed in class due to inattention. I have developed ways to help them focus while I’m teaching them and shared ideas with their teachers. When we take the frustration out of fighting against inattention in ADHD, we find that they are simply wonderful, innovative, imaginative and
creative children to teach!
In case you’ve wondered: YES YOU CAN HOMESCHOOL YOUR ADHD CHILD! Homeschoolers have flexibility because they do not have large classes. Homeschoolers can design their lessons to suit the needs of their children. Homeschoolers can take their children into the park, garden, museum or aquarium to teach their lessons. So when you realise how
beneficial movement can be for your ADHD’s attention, you can design lessons for your ADHD child to enjoy and truly learn.
Here are some ideas:
* Go into the sandpit, or onto the beach. Draw the lines in the sand and
let your ADHD child write using his index finger or a stick.
* Paint a wall with black matt paint to make an old-fashioned “blackboard”. Let you ADHD child write his letters on it with chalk
* Your ADHD child can stand facing the “blackboard”. Give him a ball and tell him he’s going to learn to write the “Ball-family” of letters. Tell him to repeat: “ball” and then to tell you what the first sound on his mouth is when he says it. That sound is ‘b’, the first letter in the “Ball-family”. Show him how the ball will only bounce if he throws it down first. Then tell him to throw the ball down and punch it to the right when it bounces up. Show him that all the letters in this family are written like that: “down and bounce to the right”. Let him repeat that mantra as he throws down the ball for each letter in the family and then repeat it again as he writes the letter on the “blackboard”. The letters in the “Ball-family” are: b; h; m; n; p; r. I have managed to keep ADHD children practicing their letter formation for a solid hour by starting with this game! They throw the ball, write on the board and then write on paper; all the time repeating the “mantra’ for the “Ball-family”.
* Let your ADHD child set up an obstacle course and then write the instructions for you. This teaches organisation, planning and written language as well as pure writing.
* Let your ADHD child set the table and count how many knives, forks and spoons. Let him add them all together and count again. Show him the sum for that. Show him that when there are 4 knives and 4 forks and 4 spoons it can be represented as 4+4+4=12 or as 4x3=12.
* When he is sharing sweets or cutting sandwiches into quarters, show him how this is really mathematics. Show him the sum. Let him count the pieces he has and compare the answer to the answer he gets to the written sum.
* Many people have stopped teaching times table because it is difficult and boring to teach and to learn; especially for ADHD children! But knowing your tables is very helpful and time-saving in tests and even when shopping. So what on earth can you do to help your ADHD child learn this very repetitive set of information? Let him skip with a rope or bounce a ball, or teach him some clapping rhythms and let him recite them while he is doing this fun, rhythmical activity. The rhythm of skipping, clapping and bouncing all stimulate the pathways of our brain which reinforce the rhythmical recitation of times tables.
* Once he has rote-learnt his tables, let him play with cutting paper into pieces to represent the table (eg: 4x table: take 4 pieces of paper; for 4x1 simply leave each piece whole and let him count how many pieces he has; for 4x2, let him cut each piece in 2; 4x3 is done by cutting each of the 4 into 3 and so you go). This develops the link between his rote learning and understanding.
I developed a complete reading programme for the many ADHD children who come to me with difficulty learning to read. ADHD children often do have co-morbid Dyslexia; but even those who are not dyslexic often have difficulty because of their inattention when phonics and spelling are being taught. They begin to dread reading as they try to remember all the phonics rules. But you should see their faces beam when I tell them to get onto a skateboard and twirl
around while spelling or accessing first, middle or last sounds of words. Using hopscotch to teach them how letters blend together to form words or getting them to roll across an exercise mat to find the correct letters to spell words, is novel, fun and presses the right buttons to allow ADHD children to switch on their attention.
Click here to have a look at one of the games.
If you want to know more about the reading programme, click here.
SEE ALSO: My Child is Inattentive and Busy; Does He Have ADD/ADHD?
YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO READ: ADHD: A Talk to Playgroup Teachers
What is reading? Is there a part of the brain which is the "reading centre"? Is it a natural development for people to read? When we begin to ask ourselves these questions it helps us understand the complexities and why so many children have difficulty with reading.
Reading is not just a visual processing task. There is so much more involved. Reading is a visual processing task that is also an auditory processing task. We see visual cues that represent sounds and spoken language. So reading is in fact high level de-coding of a visual and auditory code.
There is not just one specialised area in the brain that is dedicated to reading. The visual processing of the code is done in the visual cortex near the back of the brain and the right temporal lobe, while the language processing is in the left temporal lobe. Then we have to remember that we have two eyes and two ears and these, effectively are on opposite sides of the brain. There is a lot of communication that needs to happen in our brains to see and recognise a symbol (letter), link it to the sound it represents and then combine both the visual sequence of the codes with the sound sequence and then remember what the resultant word means. This seems very complicated and it is! Yet, when we are reading we do this in a flash, faster than a millisecond! You see: c a t and your brain tells you what sound each visual symbol represents. You recognise the sequence as being different from: a c t and straight away you know that you have read about a little furry pet!
In Western countries we read across a page from left to right and Hebrew and Arabic are read from right to left. In order to make sense of a line of script and get smooth reading flow both our left and right fields of vision must combine smoothly. (This might be less important for languages where each column is read from top to bottom, rather than reading row by row). When given the choice, many of the children who come to see me, prefer to read columns of words rather than across the page. this way they keep in the same side visual field for longer and don't need to cross the visual field as they read.
We “see” the left field of our vision with our right side of our visual cortex and the right side of our visual field with the left side of our visual cortex. So information from both eyes; but only half of the visual field, goes to each side of the visual cortex. At the same time, our brain’s motor cortex controls muscles on the opposite side of our body; with the left motor cortex controlling the muscles on the right of our body and the right motor cortex controlling the left side of our body. So, just think of it: for our eyes to work together, both sides of our motor cortex in our brain must communicate and work together and to create one fluid field of vision from the two halves, both sides of our visual cortex in our brain must communicate and work well together.
For us to read a line of text across the page we need very good communication between the left and right sides of our brain at an eye-movement level, a “seeing” level and also from the level of interpreting and transferring a “visual code” into a representation of meaningful sounds and language!
So when we teach reading to children, we need to facilitate the communication across the brain. In occupational therapy we have found that using movement which stimulates the vestibular processes and uses coordinated, fun movement across the two sides of the body helps children develop their midline crossing and communication within the brain, even for non-movement processes. As soon as I began combining the occupational therapy approach to vestibular processing and bilateral integration with reading, many of the children made dramatic progress.
In this article I have only mentioned the link to bilateral integration. I will post an article to show you why I found vestibular-stimulating activities also important to reading.
To see GAMES and ideas of how to introduce movement when you teach reading: CLICK HERE
Have you ever thought about the complex visual perception needed for reading? Little lines and curves arranged in 26 shapes and then these shapes arranged in a multitude of combinations to reflect millions of objects and ideas.
Homeschoolers are in the perfect position to teach their children through play.
Using games and activities that really build our children's skills and guide them through all the tasks of learning in a way that helps every child use his whole brain.
Children therefore need the visual perception to notice these differences in shapes. Visual perception also reveals similarities between letters written in different fonts. Previously I showed you how to make your own Spot-the-difference games. Here is a Tangram game for
Tangram is an old game of simple shapes cut from an original square to form an almost unlimited number of different forms and shapes. It’s a wonderful game for developing your child’s visual perception!
Print and cut out the shapes on the large square above (the one with the little jumping boy). Show your child how they all join together to re-form the square. Now let him copy my house, cat and tree (see below). Draw some of your own Tangram forms for your child to copy; or print 2 sets of my Tangram square and you make some shapes and let your child copy yours.
In order to copy the different forms, your child will be developing his visual perception of shape, direction and spatial relations. He will also be developing his figure-ground perception. This visual perception enables him to notice which way a letter faces and helps him to notice and remember which shape represents which letter. Figure-ground perception is the ability to notice the main figure from the background. In a garden, figure-ground perception enables us to see the weeds from the flowers and know what to pull out. In reading, figure-ground perception helps us see the words as separate from the sea of writing on the page. In spelling, figure-ground perception helps us see which letters combine to make the word. Size perception is also developed in Tangram. Your child has to decide whether to use the big, middle or smallest triangle to copy the pattern correctly. Size perception is a common problem for children when they begin to learn to write. It is a lot easier to teach your child that ‘i’ is
smaller than ‘l’ once he has developed a strong perception of size-constancy.
Humans are designed to learn through play. Play with your child, enjoy having fun together and feel righteous in knowing that while you are having fun together, you are also developing his perception and helping him learn to read!
CLICK HERE TO SEE WHERE TO BUY A READING PROGRAMME THAT TEACHES YOUR CHILD TO READ THROUGH PLAY
Let your child try to copy the designs below.
Victor Hugo wrote in Les Miserables: "To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." That sums up so well the fire of excitement and knowledge that can roar inside us once we can read. The world is brought to our finger tips and we can explore and imagine beyond limits.
But reading is not a natural development, like talking or walking. Even number concept is more naturally innate and small children quickly grasp who was given more or fewer sweets! No, reading needs many parts of our brain to work together and it takes learning and teaching; and reading uses both sides of our brain at the same time, improving
communication within our brain, thus improving creativity and innovation.
In these days of easy access to entertainment through electronic media children are less motivated to put in the hard effort to learn to read than previous generations were. We need to motivate them more. Once they begin to learn the joys of reading, our job will be done and the flames we have lit will fan themselves!
What can we do to encourage our children to read?
I was very lucky to be asked to share some of my ideas and experience on teaching reading and literacy on #PTchat. The questions raised:
i. When a child gets in a rut of reading the same author/genre; encouraging variety & not discouraging reading for fun?
ii. What are some ways we can inspire children to read beyond what’s required in the syllabus?
iii. What are some tips for home/school to help children better comprehend what they’re reading?
HERE ARE SOME OF MY IDEAS:
1. Start a “Book Club Lesson”. Divide the class into groups and each child chooses to read a book of their preferred genre. They are given a week to read it and then return to their groups to tell each other about the book they read. They then swap books, reading a book of a different genre or by a different author, chosen by a classmate. The teacher can introduce some element of competition: the person who describes their book in the most interesting way and has the most people wanting to read it wins points or tokens.
2. Each child must read at least 3 different books (from the initial ones of the “Book Club” – so each child reads their own preferred genre, followed by at least 2 of the different genre’s chosen by their peers). Then the class votes and chooses the book they feel will be best for them to turn into a movie or play. The class then sets about creating the play / movie (if the school has video facilities, the children will get even greater enjoyment by filming the
“movie”). This encourages children to broaden their selection of genres and authors to read, using peer input. It also encourages greater comprehension because each child has to describe and explain the book in a way that will make others want to read it. By making the film or play at the end, the class is further reinforcing comprehension and seeing how much fun books and stories can be.
IV. Kids are already using it, so what ways can the internet and
technology be used to increase interest in reading?
A. Divide the class into groups. Every child in every group downloads a free e-book to read (the teacher can limit genres). The groups then come together and each child describes their e-book and explains why they believe the group should choose that one for “the project”.
Ideas for “the Project”:
1. Create a comic book around the story in the selected e-book.
The children use “Clip Art” and “Paint” (or a similar drawing programme on the computer) to create a comic book. The children could simply draw (not using the computer – this depends on the class’s computer skills).
2. Perform a play based on the selected e-book
3. Write a letter from one of the main characters in the e-book to another one. The letter should be around one of the main topics of the story.
B. There are many sites on the internet where one can download and read strange and funny sayings or quirks of the English language. An example of one I have read is: “The English Plural According to George Carlin”. These are fun to read and can be used in class to stimulate reading as well as discussion around grammar.
v. What can be done at school to help students who may not have the
support or resources at home?
This is a big problem in some areas in South Africa. Using old magazines to find and cut out the words needed to “write” their own book is a method some teachers in poor schools in the Western Cape (South Africa) use to teach and encourage reading. I have taken the idea and run with it a bit to come up with the following:
1. This is mostly for children in the earlier grades.
Let the class begin to construct their own short story –brainstorming who the “hero” will be and what will happen in the story. The teacher then works with the class to construct simple sentences to comprise the “book” and writes the sentence on the board. ·
The children then page through old magazines, looking for the words that are in the sentence, cut out the words and paste them onto a page in the correct order to “print” their own book.
The children can “illustrate” their book either by finding and cutting out pictures or by drawing them.
The completed book is then proudly displayed and read to the parents or to another class.
2. I have developed a reading programme and published it as a book (Teach Your Child To Read With Movement, Fun & Games). It designed to use minimal equipment and teach reading from early auditory processing, through phonics, to sight words and finally actual reading. If one book is obtained, the letters, words and phonics in it can be cut out and used for as many children, over as many years as people need. This makes it a cheap option where there are a lot of children. The games are fun and appeal to children who want to play and use their imaginations. Children who find sitting still to learn difficult, love learning through active games such as these.
3. You will notice in by book that I also use children’s nursery rhymes to teach and support reading. Almost everyone has access to nursery rhymes – you can download them from the internet and change the font size and then use them to help children learn word recognition and develop confidence and flow when reading. You will be pleasantly surprised at how learning rhymes encourages your child's early reading.
vi. Helping kids find books they like can be difficult for parents, what are some tips/resources to get them started?
Reading is linking our listening parts of our brain with our seeing parts of our brain. When we read, we are “listening” to someone’s story. It is more difficult than purely to sit back and receive the mostly visual input from a film or TV; so children prefer to watch TV or movies rather than read. But storytelling is as old as humanity itself. Everybody loves to hear a good story.
The warmth of the relationship between a parent telling a story and the child, make up for the extra effort in having to use more of his brain to get into the story. Children love it when a story is read to them with enthusiasm and conviction. So the first thing the parent must do is choose a book that he/she themselves enjoys. Begin reading it to your child, use animation and a little dramatics to increase his interest. Then stop and let him read a few pages to himself before he goes to sleep.
There has recently been a resurgence of professional Storytellers and taking your child to listen to one (instead of just going to see a new-release film) will further stimulate the listening side of our brain. Listening to stories and reading stories allows our visual side of our brain to conjure up our own images of what is happening. It stimulates creativity and inspires further reading and maybe even writing of our own stories.
Click here if YOU HAVE EVER WONDERED WHAT READING ACTUALLY ENTAILS. How does the written word transport us across galaxies of our imagination?
Our world is filled with sensations! We see, smell, feel, taste and hear what’s happening in the world around us. Our senses tap into our emotions and make us feel happy or excited, frightened or even aggressive.
Homeschooling gives parents the opportunity to tailor lessons to use our
senses to improve our children’s attention, concentration, learning and
The very concept of a Carnival of Homeschooling conjures up images of colour and fun, busy, happy crowds, music, and smells of food stalls.
Words and senses link to each other, so that words can evoke memories of
smells and sights and sounds, even of feelings; and senses can evoke
memories. When we talk of muti-sensory or multi-modal teaching, we mean that we need to teach using many different sensory inputs. All teachers know and try to do this but Homeschoolers are in the best position to have the flexibility to tailor their lessons to use the senses that work best for their own children.
Not all senses evoke happy or positive memories. Think of that feeling of apprehension you get when you smell something which reminds you of childhood visits to the dentist! Not to mention the irritation we feel and difficulty we have concentrating on anything when we have an itchy or stinging insect bite!
For some of us, lying on a blanket under a tree, surrounded by grass, flowers and birds is our idea of heaven. How comforted we feel when we cuddle up into a warm, soft blanket! Some of us would sooner choose to spend our time in a warm bath, with candlelight; while others just want to be in the middle of a big, noisy party!
Yes, we all have different sensory processing and therefore different reactions to the sensory world around us. Some of us are sensory-seeking and want lots of movement, action and sound around us. This energises the sensory-seekers among us and they can actually function and concentrate better when they have intense sensory input. Others of us are sensory-avoiding and feel like curling up in a corner to hide when there is too much noise or action around us. These children can go into a “shut down” state and you will notice that they seem unable to think or follow your instructions.
If a child is in the wrong sensory environment for their own specific sensory processing, it will have a strong effect on their ability to concentrate, focus attention and process the information you are trying to teach him. Often children are labelled as having Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit - inattention type (ADD) because their sensory processing is responding to a sensory environment in a way that makes it very difficult for them to learn. Whether or not your child actually has ADHD or ADD, they will be more in control of their own
behaviour and more able to learn if they are in an environment best suited to their sensory processing needs.
Homeschooling allows the flexibility to present your lessons using the
sensory diet that is best suited to your child’s needs. If your child is a sensory-seeker, you can fill the lessons with lots of pictures, movement, touch and even smell; but if your child is a sensory-avoider, you can find out which sensations help him to feel comfortable and happy for learning. Sensory avoiders will have strong negative reactions to some sensations (for
example, a noisy classroom can make them retreat into themselves and not be able to focus or even think clearly); but even sensory avoiders respond well to certain sensations and lessons which present more input of that sensory type, will stimulate them and allow them to work at their real potential.
If your child is homeschooled, you will be able to give them the sensory environment most closely suited to their own learning needs. This must be one of the main benefits of homeschooling - you can arrange the environment according to your child’s specific sensory processing and thus help him to concentrate optimally on the work he is learning.
As a homeschooler, you can choose whether your child’s worksheets and books use a lot of colour and pictures or are “quieter” books with less visual stimulation. Homeschoolers can easily arrange for their child to leave his desk and have a short movement break, such as shooting a basket-ball through hoops for five minutes before returning refreshed and re-energised to learn the next part of the lesson. Learning mathematics tables
while bouncing a ball can easily be part of a successful homeschool lesson. On the other hand, if your child needs a quiet, still environment in order to
concentrate and be in the ‘just right’ energy state for optimal learning, you
can place his desk in a quiet part of the house, talk quietly when teaching and not have too many pictures and posters around him.
What is important for homeschooling Mums and Dads is that you make a conscious note of your child’s sensory needs. Watch him carefully and find out what seems to energise him and what seems to drain his energy or interfere with his concentration. Then work with that. As a homeschooling parent, you can adapt your lessons directly to optimise your child’s attention. This is not pandering to your child, this is optimising his
learning! That is what every parent and teacher wants.
What about children who are not homeschooled? Is there any way teachers can help them achieve the just-right sensory environment for their attention and cognitive energy? Homeschoolers might be able to stop a lesson for a child who needs a movement break but a formal class, with twenty or more pupils, is going to be very disruptive if every time a different child needed to move, the lesson is stopped for a short game of basketball.
Also, the movement that brings one child into a just-right level of energy, can send another child into a hyperactive energy level that stops his concentration; and what then about the child who goes into“shut down” when surrounded by all this movement and excitement?
Teaching in a formal school setting is more challenging than it is for
homeschoolers; but adaptations can be introduced to even these formal school lessons to ensure that all the children in the class are able to function at their true level and show themselves and the world just how clever they are. Being aware of the different sensory processing the children in your class have is the key to effective lessons, with happy children and a happy teacher.
Great lessons make great learners. Let learners can become great minds.
No Foundation-phase or Junior Primary toy-box is complete without playdough. If you homeschool your children, this is as important as having pencils in their pencil box in the early grades. It is easy and cheap to make and will last years if stored in a sealed container. Add different colours and even add uplifting aromas and your child can spend hours having fun creating models and characters for their imaginative games. The good, non-sticky texture encourages children who dislike getting their hands dirty. Playdough is truly an excellent homeschooling tool for building fine motor development for developing your child’s pencil grip.
Homeschoolers can also show him how to roll long sausages to form numbers and letters. So that he can learn correct letter formation while he is still building his finger and hand strength and dexterity. I use it often to teach correct letter and number formation and recognition, particularly when a child has weak fine motor development. It prevents him developing a poor pencil grip while he is still trying to develop his fine motor strength and coordination.
Whether you homeschool your child or just want to give him some extra support while he is starting school and beginning to learn to read and write, it is very important that your child only begins writing and drawing with a pencil when he is truly ready. Starting to learn to write too soon can cause your child to develop an inefficient pencil grip which is difficult to correct later and realy slows down his writing and can have damaging effects on his learning as the written work increases.
Some ideas for using playdough to build fine motor development:
Form the playdough into a ball. Play throw and catch with your child. It is fairly heavy and his fingers can sink into it, so it feels good and strengthens his grip as he catches and throws it.
Roll it into a long, thin sausage. It is important that your child uses his fingers and NOT the palm of his hand to roll the sausage. Rolling with the fingertips uses the muscles which you need to strengthen for good pencil grip; while rolling with the palm of his hand encourages finger extension. The sausage can be rolled up to be a coiled cobra (snake) or he can break it into pieces to mould the shapes of numbers and letters.
Pinch small pieces off and roll them between the fingers to form small “snakes eggs” and “baby snakes”. Pinch and mould cups and saucers, people and animals.
Use a rolling-pin to roll it flat then let your child use scissors to cut out shapes.
If you want to make finger-paints, add a little warm water and oil to some of the playdough.
½ cup salt ; 1 cup plain flour ; 1 cup water ; 2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 desert spoon oil ; Colouring ; Aromatic oil (optional)
Cook, stirring gently. Leave to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes.
Knead with cornflour.
Store in an air-tight container.
Have fun helping your child develop his fine motor coordination and pencil grip. Stimulate his imagination and introduce correct letter and number formation for reading and writing in happy, relaxed play.
Click on the image below to learn about other interesting, fun educational games you can use for Homeschooling. All developed by an Occupational Therapist from her years of experience working with learning difficulties.