Barb DeLong-Lieb, OTRL
MedCentral Pediatric Therapy
Kids love to be creative, whether it is making a craft or cooking. During this busy season, you and your child can have fun in the kitchen. Occupational Therapists often use cooking to improve two-handed, fine motor, perceptual, sensory, cognitive and visual skills. The kids have fun and don't even know about the hidden therapeutic benefits.
Cooking or craft activities require a child to use:
- Two handed skill to roll dough, break pretzels, open and close containers or spread icing or peanut butter.
- Cognitive skills to identify colors, count and follow picture, written or verbal directions.
- Fine motor and hand strengthening skills to roll dough, pick up and release small objects with a pincer grasp or open containers.
- Perceptual and visual skills to identify and choose the correct color, complete the correct shape and placement of M&Ms or other parts, reading and attending to picture or written directions.
Pick a theme like reindeers. Now you can be creative. Will it be a cookie, a sandwich, a candy pretzel rod or something else? You can vary toppings and cookie shapes. Shape cookies, break the pretzels, decorate or spread icing or peanut butter and jelly.
Ideas for cookies: Use peanut butter or sugar cookie dough (your own recipe or pre-made). Form dough into an oval shape or a ball. For the eyes, use brown M&Ms or chocolate chips and the nose, red M&M. Make antlers from a large pretzel, or use broken pretzels.
Cupcakes: Make eyes with marshmallows, the nose with a red gumdrop, the mouth with a red M&M and antlers with broken pretzels.
Sandwiches: Fold peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into triangles with small pretzels, raisins and red M&Ms.
Pretzel rods: Use dipping chocolate, M&Ms, mini chocolate chips and fruit roll ups.
Enjoy the holidays, and check out this website for more reindeer activities: www.teachingheart.net/reindeerunit.html.