When you work with kids sometimes you get to be a kid! Please enjoy our kid moments in these videos.
When working with kids over a long period of time I often have to figure out ways to make therapy interesting while still working on the skills that they need. We recently held a dance party for one of our kiddos. Now, this took lots of preparation because it involved practicing our dances over several sessions, as well as costume coordination and finding just the right songs! You can even get creative and make up your own dances. We went back to some oldies but goodies such as ‘The Shopping Cart’, ‘The Sprinkler’, ‘Fork in the Garbage Disposal’, and the one you will see in the video ‘Hot Potato’. Other dances that could work are the Macarena for the arm movements.
For children who have challenges with isolated muscle control and separating out the use of their left and right upper extremities dance moves can be a great way to work on this. For this child we are also working on balance by having a multisensory environment with lots of sound and activity as well as standing on a mat which is not as firm as the ground. In addition he is moving his arms and talking while trying to maintain his balance. For kids who are unable to stand yet you can do dancing from a seated position to work on sitting balance with upper extremity use. Some of the songs and dances we used challenged him to cross midline, do different activities with his left and right arms, bend his knees and twist his trunk.
For kids that have harder time with motor coordination and planning these are great ways to have them work on imitation and learning novel movements as well as taking it from a slow learning speed to full speed with music. Wii has a great game called ‘Just Dance Kids’ that provides different levels of difficulty for kids dancing that allow for visual cues and coordinated movement of upper and lower extremity. Using the Wii can allow them to think that they are not ‘working’ but rather playing a game.
Depending on the needs of the child you can provide visual and verbal cues to help them with the movements. You’ll see in one of the videos that I used my hand to show him where I wanted him to reach to. Using this visual cue can really help with isolating out the motor control. In the video you see there is a lot going on as well as an extended period of standing so the movement become more challenging then when we did them in a practice setting but part of the fun was planning the Dance Party!
Anyone else who has great ideas for fun coordinated movement activities please feel free to share!