I was looking for an activity that would give a good challenge to the visual motor system as well as challenge fine motor control. I wanted quite a bit of visual motor reaching and grasping while in prone. In one school that I work in, I have access to suspended equipment, which is rare, so I decided to use the platform swing there.
I looped a rope around the top of the platform swing so that the ends of the rope hung down in front of the swing, about a foot apart. I then had the student lay prone on the platform swing, support themselves with one hand, and clip clothespins to the hanging rope with the other hand. It is important to alternate hands, and you can have the student cross midline by putting the clips onto the rope that is hanging on the opposite side of the body.
This activity can easily be done with a scooterboard as well and you can place the clothespins in one area to go get them and bring them back to the hanging ropes.
I loved the visual motor challenge that the activity provided, so I wanted to make something that I could take anywhere and that I didn’t have to have the suspended equipment in order to use the activity. I made some flowers with stems that have letters on them, and I duct taped them to some dowels. I then stuck the dowels into florist foam in a bucket (and it works to use rice, play doh, or beans also) so that the flowers are growing up out of the bucket. I then had the kids clip matching clothespins onto the right letter. You can paint the clothespins green and write the matching letter on them so that it is like clipping on the flower leaves. I also had the kids write a word for each letter that they clipped onto the flower.
The flower garden was exactly what I wanted, so I made some other parts to go with the garden by adding some color matching, letter matching, and a game board with bees to collect pollen and clip the pollen onto the bees (and add up points). If you want to include a social aspect to the game, I also created some questions for the kids to ask and answer.
The full game has three parts, not including the free version. There is the simple flat one page of flowers to clip matching letter leaves onto. It is a simple letter or color matching activity for those who need the simplicity.
The second game is the flower garden using popsicle sticks. You velcro the flowers with capital letters onto the popsicle sticks, and have leaves with lower case letters to match them to. The popsicle sticks poke into rice or play doh so that they stand up, and the kids have to scan all of the flowers to find the one that they need. I stuck the flowers onto the popsicle sticks with velcro and put more velcro below the flowers for the matching leaves to be placed onto. It is a visual motor challenge to scan and find the right flower or color in the pack of flowers. Fine motor skills are used when you pull the flowers out and stick the matching leaf on.
The third game includes a flower game board that uses clothepins to move around each petal on the board. You roll either a color die and move to the next petal of that color, or you can roll a regular die and move the number of petals. Each petal has a number on it, so when you land on a petal you pick out that number of pieces of pollen and clip the pollen onto the bee. You can use either the blank pollen and count the number of pollen at the end to see who wins. You could also use the pollen with number on them so that when you pick a pollen, you have to tally up the number so the winner is the person with the highest total number rather than more pieces of pollen. Some older kids need more of a challenge and more rules to keep them interested. I also have created some cards that can be read, answered and written after each turn. This adds a social aspect with writing etc.
In all of the games, I generally have the kids write the letter that they are matching, or write a word that starts with that letter.