Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bowl o' Rice Activity

My four-year-old attends physical therapy for a condition called Congenital Hypotonia.  Sounds ominous, right?  It actually just means he was born with weak muscles.  No other explanations.  He may or may not outgrow it.  Basically at this point in his life, it means he has some motor skill delays.  Not the end of the world, but definitely affects life every day for him.  So, after his last session, his therapist suggested he needs to spend some time working on making pincer-grips.  This set me back a little bit.  Isn't the pincer grip something that all new mothers are SO excited about in about a 7-month-old baby grabbing a cheerio?  Well, nonetheless, he needs to work on it, so how can we do this?  (He has a very short attention span for these "assignments" because they are hard for him and he tends to avoid all hard things.)  I thought about it for a little while and decided we'd try a little experiment I remembered from a baby shower game of all places (digging safety pins out of rice).  I went to the store and bought a cheap 5 lb. bag of white rice.  I brought it home and dumped it equally into two large plastic bowls.  I then added a whole bunch of little things to it: pennies, buttons, paper clips, large confetti, bobby pins, rubber bands, beads, etc.  Basically, I just went digging through random drawers and boxes looking for whatever looked somewhat interesting and safe for young kids (and non-perishable).  In the process I discovered that small pom-poms, foam, and paper do not hide well in rice.
This turned out to be a great activity for both my 4-yr-old and my 2-yr-old.  I had both their attention for quite awhile.  I played a game with my older son where I would set a timer and he would see how fast he could collect all the objects hidden in the rice.
So, if you have bored kids who are suffering from cabin-fever, or you are dealing with some motor delays like we are, I highly recommend this activity.  It's cheap, it's easy, made with stuff you probably have hanging around the house, is reusable, and it is good for the motor skills.  If you have kids who are a little more advanced, give them a pair of tweezers and let them try it out that way.

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