Children learn through play. As an occupational therapist who works with children and youth, I use games and toys almost every day to help develop important cognitive, visual perceptual, motor, sensory, social, play and leisure skills. While many different types of activities can be used in therapy, this blog focuses on off-the-shelf games and toys that are accessible to most. Whether you are a therapist, parent, teacher, or a game lover like me, I hope you discover something useful while you are here. Learn a different way to play a game you already own or discover a new game for your next family game night. Either way, just go play. It's good for you!

The OT Magazine named The Playful Otter one of the Top 5 Pediatric OT Blogs.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Life Skills Activities for Special Children, Grades K-5

Another very practical and easy to use book by teacher Darlene Mannix. Written in the same format as Life Skills Activities for Secondary Students, these life skills are geared toward younger kids, grades K-5. The table of contents alone can be a useful tool in writing goals and planning activities. Sections and chapters can be viewed as goals with lesson skills serving as objectives to measure progress. The introduction states that the book offers research-based resources, for those who appreciate evidence-based practice. The book has four sections:
  • Basic Survival Skills - Relating basic information, telephone skills, money skills, time skills, reading and writing skills
  • Personal Independence - Clothing and dressing, keeping yourself clean, keeping your room clean, food and eating skills, living a healthy lifestyle
  • Community and Independence - Community places and people, helpful and safety information
  • Getting Along with Others - Being a good citizen, working with people, having a social life
Each section is then broken down into chapters and each chapter is divided into lessons. Each lesson includes:
  • Objective - Skill you will be working on, written as a goal
  • Discussion - Questions/statements to introduce and start a discussion on the new lesson. Introduction and instructions for the activity sheet you will pass out.
  • Answers - Answers for the worksheet
  • Extension Activities - Two additional activities you might consider adding to the lessons.
  • Reproducible Activity - Page to copy and hand out to participants. Examples of how questions are answered or scenarios are evaluated include choosing the correct answer from multiple choices, answering yes/no to a list of questions, finding information from a picture of a map or phone book page, etc. Most activities involve writing of some kind but could easily be done verbally instead.
I add my own extension activities to each lesson, as many as it takes to teach the skill, but I have found this book a great aid in breaking down goals into relevant measurable objectives and tracking progress on them. Each chapter also includes a check-off list of all the lessons in that chapter (a way to make sure you are staying on track and documenting what you have covered) and a parent letter. This letter can be sent home to let the parent(s) know what you are working on and it suggests practical activities they can work on with the child (home program ideas for home health). To see the entire table of contents and several pages of the book, check out this Amazon link and click on the picture of the book for a Look Inside.
If you are interested in purchasing this book or just want more information, click on the image below.

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