As a busy mom of three, as well as a pediatric OT and author, I love ideas that fit seamlessly into an existing routine. So much so, in fact, that I have written many articles on the topic (check out http://www.autismparentingmagazine.com), and my books are full of tips along these lines (http://www.jkp.com/author/authors/view/id/lauren-brukner-8312).
When I came across Fine Motor Boot Camp (https://finemotorbootcamp.net), my mommy-heart and therapist brain lit up! I loved it! I knew that such a great product needed to be shared with fellow parents, therapists, and educators.
Fine Motor Boot Camp is a unique, simple-to-implement play-based program developed by a speech-pathologist and occupational therapist, designed to work on a host of important developmental skills, including (but not limited to) the following:
-Fine motor coordination, strength, and dexterity
-Visual motor coordination and perceptual skills
– Motor planning
– Expressive and receptive language skills
-Activities of daily living
-Cognitive perceptual skills
The program is comprised of 25 individually-packaged activities. Each activity takes between 5-15 minutes.
Each activity is accompanied with a very descriptive plan for how to administer the task, along with what the program developers call “Simplifiers” and “Challengers”. Thus, the administrator of the activity can grade and adjust the level of difficulty according to where the child is at skill-wise in this regard.
The program comes with a beautiful and comprehensive manual that has a host of warm-up exercises, picture schedule, data tracking sheets, among other information.
As the child continues to work on the activity over time, the individual administering may in fact find themselves adjusting it to make the task more difficult!
As I previously mentioned, each activity is said to take between 5-15 minutes. I have found that, often times, as a child continues to work on the same activity over the course of a set and consistent amount of time (i.e.- one week), the length of time required for the task tends to go down, as well.
Activities are very structured, and have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Integrating this program with academic work (even novel academic work) could be very beneficial, especially to children who have difficulty with changes in routine and find comfort and regulation in predictability.
Going back to usability as parents, I love completing this as a before dinner/after homework activity with my three kids. They view this time as play, it takes only a few minutes, and we go back to our regular routine:)
Think about a time during the day that your kids may benefit from 5-15 minutes of just-right play with developmental benefit (and no distractions!). This may even make your day (or evening) run a little smoother.
As I mentioned earlier, I have three children. They are 8, 7, and almost 6. I am able to work on the same activity and simply differentiate it to adjust for their developmental readiness. They play happily and are engaged for the duration of the task, and often ask to do one of my “work packets”. (They know my work is fun, and that I often have great games that I get to play with them, as well!)
Our current favorite activity involves beads and pipe cleaners (you would be amazed at the sheer volume of games that we can get out of two manipulatives!)
Thoughts of how therapists can implement this program in a school-based practice:
– Recommend this as an RTI, before a child is put on program!
– Rotate the 25 activities between 5 classrooms, for 10 months.
– Send home a packet for a child’s family to work with them for one week. Once they send the packet back to you, send the next one. Many of the items can be bought at $1 store, so hopefully many families can replicate many of the items for home use and continued work. Provide concrete suggestions for replacement items.
– Suggest that your school use activity packets for indoor recess, outdoor recess, etc.
– Offer packets as a choice for fine motor/visual motor stations, choice time, etc.
-Brainstorm with educators in your school and see how the activity packets can be integrated with academic instruction.
-Inservice the staff at your place of work on how to utilize the program.
I believe that Fine Motor Boot Camp be utilized by:
-Pediatric OTs (clinic, school, private)
– School districts: Fine Motor Boot Camp
can set up a vendor-ship with your state.
-Speech Pathologists: Fine Motor Boot camp addresses expressive and receptive language, praxis, and other goals relating to your practice in a multi-sensory approach.
-Educators (general education, special education, special instruction, ESL, etc.): Utilizing this program can work on underlying fine motor difficulties while addressing other important developmental skills that are the building blocks for academic success, such as visual motor skills, praxis, etc.
-Counselors: Fine Motor Boot Camp can be utilized in your Practice by combing hands-on activities with work around emotional regulation, social skills, attention, etc.
-Behaviorists: Utilizing this program along with your work (i.e.-targeting participation in tasks, following directions, attention, play, etc).
– Caregivers: I’ve already mentioned how well this fits into my daily routine. Did you think about how it fits into yours? Every day may be different! The good thing is that these activities are portable and you can bring them with you in the car/bag, etc.-if you get a moment!
– Daycare centers/EI Centers/Nursery Schools: Targeting these skills young is a great option. Rotating the activity packets around the classrooms would be a great developmental boost for all the kids.
-New Therapists: When I first started out, I ran to many expensive therapy stores and bought…well…too much! I was overwhelmed and inexperienced. This is a nice option for when you are first starting out, as the program truly has it all spelled out for you (and the materials all packaged up!)
How to Purchase Fine Motor Boot Camp: (Info is from their website)
Total Fine Motor Boot Camp Program
Fine Motor Boot Camp manual
ALL 25 activities individually packaged in portable poly envelopes
1 toolbox (ruler, tongs, color sort, upper/lower case alphabet strip, number lines (1-5, 1-10, 1-20, 1-30), size sort, equal sort, less/more sort, scissors, dry-erase sheet/marker, # die, color die, bowl, spoon, lace, pipe-cleaner)
Fine Motor Boot Camp Starter Program
The starter kit includes: manual(includes all 25 activity directions, warm-up exercises, picture schedule, data sheets, inventory) toolbox & 5 Fine Motor Boot Camp activities.
Here is the digital download version of our manual.
*2 Downloads permitted per purchase.
Fine Motor Boot Camp DIY Manual
The manual includes a list of fine motor and language skills targeted, all 25 activity directions (with a list of items needed), warm-up exercises, picture schedule, data sheets, vertical activities and inventory.
Set of 5 Activities
You will receive a set of 5 individually packaged in poly envelope activities please choose A through E. Manual is not included.
One Packaged Activity: Containing poly envelope with directions and materials.
Fine Motor Boot Camp Tool Box
Toolbox includes 6 legal sorts (size, color, number, letter, equal, less/more), ruler, number die, color die, dry-erase board, dry erase marker, bowl, spoon, lace, pipe-cleaner. Comes in a legal size reusable poly envelope.
Digital Toolbox PDF’s of 6 legal size sorts
1 Alphabet strip upper/lower case
Number strips/line 1-5, 1-10, 1-20, 1-30
1 Less/more sort
1 Color sort
1 Equal sort
1 Size sort
Available for immediate download after purchase.
Is this a product you are interested in? Let me know!:)
Full disclosure: Emily and Julie send me a complimentary “Starter Program” to review, in order to share feedback with them (and you, of course!) . I was also lucky to have awesome phone conversations about the process behind the product, and try it out often with my kids:).