Saturday, September 24, 2016

Structured Motor/Sensory Room Activities

Do you have access to a motor room at your school but don't know how to utilize it? Are you looking for some new ideas? Do you wish you had a routine that was easy to teach for your students and/or your paras? Keep reading to see how we manage motor room time at our school.
We start out by having each student grab their motor room visual. This allows our kids the opportunity to be "independent" in the motor room. It is also a great mini-schedule for your students who need to know exactly what is going to be done in the motor room. The kids also have access to dry erase marker to cross off the activities once they have completed them. Each group of my students spends 30 minutes of structured time in the motor room a day. 

(5 minutes) Each week our OT (occupational therapist) selects one of our gross motor activity visuals and posts it under the gross motor sign. The visual shows a picture of the object the kids will be using and a description on how to use it. Our students are not allowed to visit our motor room alone, so there is always an adult there to read it, check for understanding and possibly show the students what to do if they don't understand.

Here are the gross motor activities we have prepared for the students this year:
Yoga Ball: 
-Sit on the ball with or without support.  Bounce.
-Sit on the ball with or without support.  Lean side to side, front to back and try to keep balance.

-Sit on the ball with or without support.  Try to reach for different items on the floor and toss into a bin.
-Sit on the ball with or without support.  March legs up and down.  Tap opposite hand on knee when it is raised.
-Sit on ball with or without support. Play catch.
-Roll on belly on ball with arms extended to floor.  Walk hands forward and back trying to keep balance.  May need support.  Roll back to knees.
-Keep balance on ball on belly with arms extended on the floor.  Try to pick up items to put in a bin.
-Dribble ball.  2 hands, one hand, dribble in a pattern
-Play catch with the ball rolling or bouncing it between people

-Scatter things around swing and have child move the swing on belly to retrieve or look for certain items and throw or place in bin.
-Try to swing back and forth, side to side, diagonally

-Stand and try to rotate around hips (standard hula hooping)
-Hold hoop on side and have kids crawl through (bear or crab)
-Use hoop like a jump rope and rotate around head and step through.
-Place on floor and hop in each hoop.  Use 2 feet together or one foot.

Medicine Ball
-Hold ball and move in a circle close to body (both directions)
-Pick up ball and throw to ground

-Move on belly or seated around the room.  Go to called out items to pick up.

-Jump on 2 feet (with or without support)
-Jump on 1 foot and then the other.
-Jump with a pattern, (2 left jumps, then 2 right jumps)  
-Clap hands while jumping.
-March on tramp (high knees)
-March on tramp and touch opposite knee with each hand (crossover march)

Ribbon Sticks
-Make letters, words, names, numbers in the air (use both hands)  

-Pick up scarves off the ground and toss into air
-Pick up scarves and when they are floating down catch them on a called out body part. (Left elbow, right knee, right shoulder, left toe, head etc)

Balance Board (2 sizes, lower one is easier)
-Stand on board to balance (with or without support)
-Stand on board (with or without support) and rock side to side and balance.
-Play catch while standing on board

-Have kids hold parachute and lift and lower sitting or standing
-Put a ball on parachute and try to keep it on
-While lifting and lowering parachute as a group, have kids take turns going under it.

Half Ball balance game
-Set out half balls and have kids try to stand on them one one foot or two with or without support
-Make a line of half balls and have kids walk over them with or without support

Moon Shoes
-Put on moon shoes and walk around, with or without support.
-Put on moon shoes and bounce in place, with or without support.

Animal Walks
-Have kids try to walk like different animals (bear, elephant with arms clasped like a trunk, crab, snake, etc)  Can go on mats all the way around swing.  Can try to go backwards.

Obstacle Courses
-Line up a few activities for kids to go through. Ex: jump on tramp 10 times, walk like a bear, climb through hoop, do the “try this” activity, 10 jumping jacks, then walk over half balls, repeat...

(5 minutes) Now that the kids have warmed up their bodies it's time to have them warm up their hands. Just like the gross motor station, we have a weekly visual for our fine motor activities too. 
Here are some of the fine motor activities we have prepared for our students:

Tweezers/tongs with puff balls

-Use tweezers to pick up pom pons and place in a bucket
-Use the twisty dropper to suck up and squeeze out water
-Use the twisty dropper and have a "puff ball race". Squeeze the dropper to have it blow air

Nuts and bolts
-Screw the nuts on and off the bolts
-Match the colors of the nuts and bolts before putting them together

-Squeeze the clothespin to open and close it 10 times
-Pick up items with the clothespin and transfer them to a new place

Rubber bands
-Group spoons together and wrap a rubber band around them.
-Use rubber band to make shapes on the Geoboard
-Collate notecardsand secure with a paperclip
-Open paperclip box, dump out paperclips, put them back in the box and close it

-Smash it like a pancake
-Roll it like a snake
-Spell your name by rolling out the letters

-Build a tower
-Make uppercase and lowercase letters. (Check these visuals out for FREE)

-Deal the cards
-Flip the cards
-Hold 5 cards in your hand and spread them out so you can see them (like you're playing)

Stacking coins
-Stack coins to make a tower

-Line them up
-Stack them

Stringing Beads
-String them to make a necklace
-Pick them up with: tweezers or clothespins

-Tear it
-Hole punch it

-Make letters, numbers, shapes

(15 minutes) Now that their bodies and hands are warmed up they are ready to work. This is where the students will complete those fine motor goal work activities. We have created folders for the students that have papers to match their goals.

Here are somethings the students work on:
-Writing their name
-Writing the alphabet (upper and lowercase)
-Copying sentences
-Cutting (lines, shapes)
-We even have some students complete their writing assignments from their general education teachers.
(5 minutes) Now come on, after all that work your kids deserve to have some time to do what they choose to do. We have so many fun gadgets in our motor room that we don't utilize during our other activities and this is when the kids can choose to use them. Now, some kids do choose to pick gross/fine motor activities that we did from previous weeks....of course we allow this. 

Here are some choice time activities we have:
-Hide in the tent
-Play in the ball pit
-Crawl through the tunnel
-Play in the body sock
-Turn off the lights and plug in the disco ball
-Blow bubbles 
-Jump from the trampoline on to the crash mat
Before the kids leave they are expected to clean up the room and make sure it is set up for the next group. They also clean off their schedule cards and put them in the basket.

Grab the visuals here!

I hope I was able to give you some new ideas. What fun activities do you do in your motor room? Do you structure your motor room or is it a free for all?

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  1. Hi there- I am a 2nd year resource room teacher in Michigan and love following your blog as a new sped teacher! I was wondering if your motor room visuals are available in your TPT store? I can't seem to find them and they are amazing! Thanks so much!

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