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It is great to work on fine motor control away from the body, as that gives more of a challenge to the muscle control. You have to have control and coordination to balance and stack small objects onto a surface. i have the game scatterpillar scramble, and wanted to make a similar motor activity that I could us in multiple ways.

I wanted to make it easy to use to match colors, so I printed colors at the right intervals on a piece of paper and made a tube out of the paper. Then I put colored craft sticks through the tube to make a balance tree. The craft sticks come out of all sides of the tube, and match the colored parts of the paper.

First I printed the paper and then laminated it. I then cut slits at the colored areas large enough to slide the craft sticks all the way through to the part on the other side of the tube. I then added velcro hook and loop to the long ends of the paper in order to be able to hold the tube together, but make it collapsible so that I can easily transport it.

I love to use the mini fruit munchy ball food to place in the “tree” and have the kids roll either a color dice or a fruit dice that I made to see what they needed to get out of the tree. To make it harder, I have the kids get the fruit out of the tree with tongs or training chopsticks and then they have to feed the fruit to the Munchy Ball. I also put letters onto the craft sticks and have the kids write the letter that was on the stick they got the fruit from. It helps them work on memory as they feed the munchy ball and then they have to remember their letter to write it down (or a word that starts with that letter. The kids really enjoy the balancing and novelty of the balance tree.

I also use the dinosaur putty pets to balance in the “tree”. They are harder to balance so it is a little bit more of a challenge. It is very similar to the save the dinosaurs activity, but stacked up in a tree.

You can print out a download of the balance tree template so that your color areas will be in the right place to put the craft sticks through.

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Tonya is a pediatric Occupational Therapist, and loves creating things to work on skills and solve problems.

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