Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In My Therapy Bag | Lauren from The Inspired Treehouse

Today I am so excited to welcome Lauren from The Inspired Treehouse! Lauren is a pediatric physical therapist and is part of the amazing trio that makes up The Inspired Treehouse, an educational blog packed full of great child development tips from pediatric physical and occupational therapists. Read on to see what Lauren has in her therapy bag and then be sure to hop on over to their blog for more great tips!

What's in my therapy bag?


My therapy bag is a huge abyss of toys that the kiddos I work with dig through with a vengeance the minute I set it down. One of the most popular toys in that bag is my set of Stepping Stones. This simple toy is perfect for tackling all kinds of developmental skills - teaching balance and coordination while providing sensory feedback in the form of proprioceptive and auditory stimulation (they are filled with air and make a great little gushing noise when you step on them).   I use them the traditional way -- encouraging kids to step on them -- and I mix it up and use them in ways that are certainly unintended but definitely beneficial for child development!  I also have a set of Flip Flop Faces that get thrown in the mix of stepping stones too!

How I use stepping stones in therapy:


The Stepping Stones come in a set of 6 and can be used in a million ways to create all kinds of great gross motor activities.  Here are some ideas:

-You can space them out to create a path that your child can walk on through their very own “garden”.  If your child is smaller, be sure to put them closer together to make it easier to get from stone to stone.  Place your garden objects randomly on the ground along this path and have your child try to pick them up as she goes! The challenge for the child is to stay on those stepping stones as she walks and as she squats down to pick up the objects.  When I do this in therapy sessions, I tell the kids to pretend that there is a river that they are trying to cross.  If they fall off, their feet will get all wet!  Every child LOVES this challenge!

-Walk without shoes to make this a bit easier — greater proprioceptive input!  :)

-If walking across the path is too difficult for your child, have the child try standing on two stones — one foot on each.  Just balancing here may be difficult enough to start!  When that gets easier, try playing catch with him while he’s balancing on his two stones!

-Space the stones even farther apart for a greater challenge or put them in a curvy line instead of straight.

-Place objects between the stones that your child would have to step over before getting to the next stone for an added dose of motor planning, balance, and coordination practice.

-These stones are numbered so mix up the numbers and ask your child to hand you 5 flowers or 3 sticks…whatever corresponds to the numbered stone they are standing on.

-Need some friendly competition and have a few kiddos around?  Have each child try to stand on one foot on a stone.  Who can do this the longest without falling off?

-Need a creative way to use stepping stones without really stepping on them?   Your kiddos can use them as bowls to catch a tossed beanbag or walk with them on their head to encourage good posture!

Your child will probably come up with a few ways of her own to play with these super fun “stones”.  If so, please let us know what they are…we may be able to add them to the tricks in our therapy bag!  :)

Connect with The Inspired Treehouse:

Website: www.theinspiredtreehouse.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/inspired.treehouse
Instagram: www.instagram.com/insptreehouse
Twitter: www.twitter.com/inspiredtree
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/inspiredtreehou/
Google+: www.plus.google.com/u/0/+Theinspiredtreehouse/posts

Be sure to check out all of the other great posts in this series to find out what must-have items therapists have in their therapy bags.

Do you have an item in your therapy bag that you'd like to share? I'd love for you to share it in an upcoming post! Just send me an email, AbbyPediatricOT {at} gmail {dot} com for more information. Open to all therapists! You don't have to be a blogger to participate!

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