Working with a therapist is a great way to help your child develop their gross and fine motor skills however; most children on a regular O/T schedule only receive the services of a therapist once per week. As parents of special needs children, it is up to us to continue “therapy” after hours.
According to Berk, the development of fine motor skills can be supported by a daily routine of various activities (Berk, 317). Common activities that facilitate this development include doing puzzles, drawing, painting (finger painting is great for sensory stim), sculpting and crafts that involve tearing paper and pasting.
Helping out in the kitchen can be a great form of O/T and the internet has an endless array of kiddo friendly recipes. The most recent creation that my son and I have cooked together is tomato-cheddar crescent rolls. This is a great, simple and yummy activity for the development of fine motor skills and also lends a sensory experience.
For this project we used:
Refrigerator crescent rolls
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped cherry tomatoes
Generally when we work in the kitchen, I like my little guy to utilize a stool and the counter as a work space but since there are more steps and ingredients involved in this project I opted to do the prep at the table.
Of course, the first thing we do is wash our hands. We like to sing the Itsy-Bitsy Spider while scrubbing to ensure that little hands are squeaky clean. Moving on to the table, I have set out the cheese and tomatoes in separate medium sized plastic containers. I have already separated the crescent rolls and laid them out on a piece of waxed paper. One by one we add cheddar and tomatoes, and then we roll the crescents and place them on the pan. We use our fingers as much as possible with cooking projects; my son is highly avoidant of anything sticky or gooey so it is good practice for him to get his hands working with the ingredients. After the rolls are done cooking and are cooled we pull them open and enjoy.
Cooking with your kiddos is a great way to get them involved in activities of daily living, help them develop motor skills and address any sensory challenges that they may have.