Understanding directionality (top/bottom, left/right), as well as being able to draw the line strokes (vertical, horizontal, curved, diagonal) are important prewriting skills needed in order for children to learn to form letters correctly. Often times children with developmental delays have difficulty learning these concepts.
Therefore, we begin with fun, engaging activities that involve full body motor planning to teach these skills. The themes of these activities are zookeepers who are performing chores around the zoo in order to take care of the zoo animals.
For example, we teach children the concept of a vertical line by having the children pretend they are taking zoo equipment from a shelf and placing it in a wagon.
Our animal letters are what make Paw Prints truly unique! Every letter of the alphabet is represented by an animal whose name begins with that letter (Ben the Bear for letter B).
The body of that animal was carefully designed to look like its letter!
What is the point of using an animal image? First and foremost, children love animals! Second, saying to a child “Draw a little curve to make the bears head, and a big curve to make the bears belly” is much easier for a child to understand then saying, “Make a small and big curve,” especially if they have visual perceptual difficulties. It also makes it easier for a child to remember the instructions in the future because they will remember the cute animal they learned about and were able to draw!
Have you ever watched a child write a letter and wonder how in the world they came up with that method? We created a list of common mistakes to look for because we believe correcting these mistakes early on before they become a habit is important for learning correct letter formation.
Each animal has its own story filled with words beginning with that letter to further provide phonetic awareness, as well as to get children excited about learning letters.
B Story Excerpt
One day, Ben the blue bear was blowing bubbles in his backyard. Suddenly he heard a buzz and saw his friend, Buzzy the bee, bursting his bubbles with his big stinger! Ben blew as fast as he could to see how many bubbles Buzzy could burst. When Ben was out of breath, Buzzy asked if he wanted to rest and make beaded bracelets. Ben made a beautiful bracelet for his brother.
We understand the pressure therapists are under to come up with fun activities for young students to do that keep certain principles in mind, like working on therapy goals, using a multisensory approach, while making it enjoyable. Have no fear! Paw Prints is packed with activities that do just that!
For every letter of the alphabet we have come up with five activities that provide some form of sensory stimulation, and work on skills needed to improve handwriting skills such as fine motor, gross motor, visual perceptual skills.
To make it even easier, for each activity we:
- List the supplies needed (most that can be found around the house).
- Provide easy instructions on how to complete the activity.
- List the senses and skills the activity is working on (i.e. tactile or fine motor).
- Explain how that activity can be adapted based on the child’s skill level.
Check out some of our activities below!
Playing in shaving cream provides tactile stimulation.
Manipulating and gluing the Cheerios provides tactile stimulation and increases fine motor skills. This activity reinforces the formation of the letter O.
Playing in the rice/beans provides tactile stimulation.
This activity teaches lacing and improves fine motor skills and bilateral coordination.
Squeezing the glitter glue pens increases fine motor skills and strengthens the hands.
Manipulating the textured squares and gluing provides tactile stimulation. This activity reinforces formation of the letter
Manipulating the clothespins increases fine motor skills.