so last time i wrote (which seems like eons ago but was really only five days ago) i told you i'd share a super fun, but also therapeutic (if we are using "therapeutic" in the getting-more-sensory-input sense of the term, not in the mama-needs-a-break-from-reality sense of the term) play idea.
the very first time juliana came to play with us she asked harrison what he wanted to do and he suggested candyland. the board game. the let's-all-sit-around-on-the-floor-and-not-move, very sedentary board game. sure, there is some conversation that needs to take place - who gets to go first? what color guy am i again? oh, yes, i'm winning! oh, man, i'm losing! - but, mostly, it's just a draw a card, move your guy, wait your turn kind of game.
well. no longer. because sweet juliana had some tricks up her sleeve and she taught us how to turn boring old candyland into what we like to call extreme candyland! as you can see from harrison's sentences below (for a homework assignment he had this week), it's now his favorite game. or his favrit game. either one.
so how do you play? i'm glad you asked! first, you sort out all the single square cards and set them aside. extreme candyland is played with the double squares and the character cards. it makes the game go faster.
then you make a plan. you decide on an action/activity/interaction/exercise/etc for each color card and write it down. it could be anything from "wiggle your hips" to "do jumping jacks" to "army crawl across the floor" to "walk on tip toes" to "shake your booty" to "spin in circles"...something that you could do ten times or for 10-20 seconds. have fun with it! be silly with it!
here's the plan juliana made the first time we played (we make new plans each time we play just to change things up a bit)...
once you have everything in place you're all set to play! i'll show you some of the fun actions we do...
donkey kicks - they are kind of hard to describe. basically, bend at the waist and put pressure on your hands/arms while kicking your legs and toosh upward and then coming back down to land on your feet. does that make any sense at all?!
the next two are a variation on the same thing. here's the superman - lie on tummy while lifting legs and chest off the floor. hold for a ten count.
or you could do seal claps - lie on tummy while holding legs and chest off the floor. clap your hands ten times.
make a silly face - here's the progression of how silly faces turn out at our house...
please pardon my son's nakedness. he's a wild one.
wiggle bugs - lie on back. pull knees to chest. pull head off floor. wiggle arms and kick legs for a count of ten.
another one we've added recently is to bounce on a ball ten times...
any type of jumping is usually the favorite movement around here - kickbox jumps, scissor kicks, jumping jacks - and at the end of the game, no matter who wins, we've all had a great time!
and managed to get some sillies out!
and get some sensory input in!
what i've learned from the occupational therapists whom we've been blessed to know (and from the speech therapist who used to come play with harrison so long ago), all it takes to elevate a normal activity is a little bit of imagination. all you have to do is ask, "how can we do this differently? what can we do to make this more active instead of passive?"
the answer is usually simple. it doesn't have to be hard. that's the beauty of it.
so, as i've said before, god bless occupational therapists! and in this case, god bless juliana!
without her, candyland would still be just a sit-on-your-toosh board game.
we are all thrilled she showed us a more "sensational" way to play!