The concept of using your hands to do two different things was first introduced to us by Ivan’s Occupational Therapist in Early Intervention.
As a parent I had never really thought about it, but having your left hand hold a loaf of bread while your right hand slices it with a knife is actually a pretty complicated task, especially when you take into consideration that your left hand is controlled by the right side of your brain and vice versa.
This is also true for crossing midline (when your right hand crosses over to the left side of your body, for example). Jessica Kovacs does a great job explaining the intricacies of midline and why it’s important to work on these kinds of activities on her blog.
But back to Ivan and his OT. She suggested finding simple activities he could do that would require him to use one hand to stabilize while the other hand is engaged. Making a Bead Container is a super simple and inexpensive way to do just that!
What You’ll Need:
- Any type of container that has a small opening, we used a Gerber Oatmeal Cereal container
- A bead necklace (easy to find at party supply stores)
All you have to do is clean your container (bleach wipe containers work really well for this too), cut your bead necklace in half so it’s one long string of beads and place the beads in the container. That’s it!
We began playing with this simply as a sound shaker. Those beads in that plastic container make a great sound!
I then took one end of the necklace out of the container and showed it to Ivan. I said, “Look what was making all that sound! Can you get it out?”
And this is where it gets tricky and (hopefully) fun! Because the opening is so small, you can’t shake the beads out or stick your hands in to get them out. Nope, you have to hold the container with one hand while your other hand pulls out the beads.
This is a really difficult exercise for some kids, so help them out and use lots of hand-under-hand guidance. You don’t want the game to end up in frustrated tears! But keep working at it… your child just may surprise you!