Fun Learning Activities for Children with Special Needs

3/02/2017

"For any child, life remains a sea full of rich experiences just waiting to be explored." - Natan Gendelman

Writing and pencil grip is one of the most difficult task to introduce to a child with special needs.

And based on my personal experience with Zac, I knew it's going to be tough because there are early signs of struggles involving hands and fingers like tying shoelaces, holding utensils, rotating door knobs, and even basic things like holding scissors, pencils and colors. In other words, he has poor fine motor skills. But for a determined mom like me, there's nothing that could stop me from doing the best that I could to help my son. It may take time but with effort and with the aid of the SPED teachers of Marcelo H. Del Pilar Memorial School, he will eventually learn it.

During study time, Zac gets tired easily and usually ends up not finishing his home work. So I thought it's best to incorporate fun activities on our home study sessions and try to make it different every time so he has something to look forward to. Also, I don't force him if he's not in the mood. And this is when the fun activity takes place.

Below are some of the finger exercises we do (at home and in school) to help Zac improve his fine motor skills that can also help improve his handwriting ability. This exercises are applicable for beginners. If your child is already good at these types of finger exercises, you may consider a more versatile activities.

1. COIN BANK

Use a regular piggy bank or a recycled container. Ask your child to hold 2-5 coins. Let him put the coins on the slot/opening, one coin at a time, without dropping the other coins in his hand. Rotate the piggy bank once in a while so your child will have to adjust his hand and fingers to match the slot. Use more coins as your child gets better at this task.

I used a recycled can as our coin bank. I love this can because I can just take the lid off to get the coins if we want to do the activity again. A lot more convenient than using a real piggy bank.
Be aware of the choking hazard with little kids.

2. CLOTHESPIN

Your creative ideas for making different activities using clothespin will come into play. You can use a round cardboard, paper or any flat object where he can align the clothespin. You can also use it to pick up objects and let your child transfer the items in a box. Just make sure that the tripod fingers (see image below) are used correctly. Tripod fingers is the proper pencil grip so this activity can really help in your child's handwriting skills.


3. STRAW & BOTTLE

Putting the straw inside the bottle and taking it out. You can also incorporate numbers/counting and colors to this activity as your child puts the straw inside the bottle. You can try one color a day and once he can already identify each color, start combining all the straws together and see how he would respond when you ask him to "Put the red straw in the bottle". This activity also tests his visual and memory skills.



4. STACKING BLOCKS

Don't underestimate this type of toy because it's really a great help in developing your child's fine motor skills and imagination. As they hold and build the blocks, it strengthen their fingers, hands and arms. It also develops hand-eye coordination which is also important for kids with poor eye contact. It also helps in enhancing their creativity when figuring out how to stack it and create different designs out of it.


Don't limit your child from doing the same activity over and over again. These are just a few examples of fine motor activities you can do at home. You can also get some advice from a professional or a developmental pedia or a SPED teacher on other activities for your child, which is more appropriate for his age and diagnosis.

I hope you found this blog helpful and feel free to share this post!

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