Thursday, April 4, 2013

DIY Autism Therapy: Fine Motor Coin Drop Game

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, I thought I'd try and get some blogging in on some cool autism related projects that you can do at home that might help out your special kiddo.

I'd like to take credit for this idea, but I can't.  Actually, Jenny, one of the OT's at Mountain Magic Therapy for Kids (where my son goes) came up with this idea and gave me permission to pass it along.  Why did I want to?  Because this was, what I like to call, Alvah's "gateway toy" in that it was the first toy that someone had tried with him that actually engaged him for more than 30 seconds.  Double bonus was that it is a GREAT fine motor tool.  The slot on top of the toy makes for a good pincher grip exercise and it also can give you a really sneaky way to get your kiddo to cross the mid-line.

If your kiddo ends up liking this game get creative on where you put the coins because it's a great way to get kiddos to twist around and actively seek where the coins are.  Kera, Alvah's OT, even got him to switch coins from one hand to the other and other great exercises with this game.

I hope maybe it'll help some of you too!

Yes, my coin game has taken a bit of a beating *laugh*
Fine Motor Coin Drop Game

You Will Need:
  • 1 long transparent container with a lid you can make a slit in (tennis ball containers are awesome for this, which is what I used and what Mountain Magic used as well)
  • 1 Pair of heavy duty utility scissors
  • 1 Package Transparent Counters (preferably multi-colored)  I linked to the ones I bought on Amazon.
  • 1 Container to store your counters in (I use a 1/2 pint mason jar)

1.  Take your transparent container lid, take your scissors and make a slit JUST big enough to fit your counters through.  You want the slit to have some resistance to it so that a child will have to push the counter through the slot to help develop those fine motor skills!  Once you have the slit done, you can take bright duct tape and surround the slit (if you are using a pop off type of lid, I'd suggest doing this so you don't inadvertently break the lid with light use).  I had a pretty hefty lid, so I just took a sharpie and outlined the slit so that it would make it easier for my son to see where the slit in the lid was.

2.  Fill the transparent container with water.  You want to go up pretty far so that the coins will really float down through the water.

3.  Screw on the lid (or pop on the lid) and sit down with your kiddo and show them how the transparent counters will float down through the water after they press it through the slot.  This entertained my son so much he would laugh through 20 minutes of exercises with this toy.  It was awesome!  Some ideas?  Place the counters behind your child so they have to reach backward.  Place coins on the opposite side of their body from their dominant hand so they will cross the mid-line to get the coins.  Get creative!

Once done with the toy be careful when draining out the water so you don't end up with counters down your drain and then just let everything air dry until the next game time!


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