With the increased presence of technology in children’s products and toys, you may have come across the term smart toys. […]
C.H.E.S.T.: A Smart Guide to Printing Uppercase Letters was developed to improve the handwriting of children by providing specific therapeutic techniques. One of the most common errors that occur with children’s
handwriting is the formation and directionality of letters. This refers to the direction the child moves
the pencil to form letters. Since all
uppercase letters begin on the top line, it makes sense to associate letters by
groups according to the curved or straight lines used to form them.
The uppercase letters are separated into six groups to
help children relate the letters to common objects. In addition, seven action word phrases are used to help a child memorize how to form individual letters. This provides a multisensory approach as the child feels the motion of the pencil, hears the words, and sees the strokes as they are being formed into letters. In addition, there is a helpful mascot cheering along as a child works his or her way through the book.
This workbook was created to help parents, educators, and occupational therapists. Its concept is smart and
effective and can be introduced as early as 4 years of age when children
typically begin to draw simple shapes. However, it is most
effective when started around age 5 or when a child is able to neatly and
easily copy strokes on command and has strong foundational skills including a
functional pencil grasp. It is meant to be completed before its companion workbook for lowercase letters.
The 26 uppercase letters of the alphabet are separated into six formation groups that spell out the acronym CHEST: Clocks, Hats & Hooks, Ears, Slides, & Trees.
C is for Clocks. These 5 letters curve around like a circular clock: C G O Q S.
H is for Hats. These 5 letters have a line across the top like a hat: E F I T Z.
H is also for Hooks. These 2 letters curve up like a hook: J U.
E is for Ears. These 4 letters have a bump on the right side like an ear: B D P R.
S is for Slides. These 5 letters slide down to the side like a playground slide: A V W X Y.
T is for Trees. These 5 letters zip straight down and have branches like a tree: H K L M N.
26 uppercase letters of the alphabet can be formed using seven simple phrases called Action
Words: Curve Around, Make an Ear, Make a Hook, Slide Down, Slide Up,
Zip Down, and Zoom Across.
introduce the Action Words pages. They are used to introduce the language used
for the formation of the curved and straight lines. The Coloring Pages are then used as introductions
to the different groups. The groups do not need to be completed in the
order they are presented.
Next, each letter will have a page within a group. Action words printed in bold
should be said aloud to guide the
child. Using a parrot voice makes it
more fun and encourages the child to say the words as well.
Lastly, there are additional pages including reviews of the groups, copying words, and activity pages. The workbook also includes a visual chart and a guide with all the action words for the 26 letters on one page.
Visit www.playapy.com to purchase the award-winning Treasure C.H.E.S.T. and its companion workbook Heads, Tummies, & Tails: A Smart Guide to Printing Lowercase Letters.
Watch this video for an example of a child using the Action Words.
In recent decades
yoga has become increasingly more mainstream as a form of exercise. Most
fitness centers offer a variety of classes, and more often parents are allowing
their children to participate with them. It may seem strange to think a child
would have the discipline to attend or enjoy an adult class, but many young children
are being exposed at a early age to yoga in schools that understand and value
As a pediatric
occupational therapist, I have been incorporating elements of yoga with my
young patients for years to help with skills such as concentration, coordination,
flexibility, strengthening, self-control, balance, relaxation, and body
awareness. Since many yoga poses have corresponding animal names, I find it
easy to get children to imitate poses and engage in challenging poses for
extended periods of time. The increased use of muscles not typically practiced
in traditional play allow a child to benefit physically as well as the mental
health boost that comes with stress relief and increased confidence.
Some common yoga
postures with animal names include: cat, cow, down dog, and dolphin. These and many others are easy to search
on-line and can be completed separately or in a sequence. Although it is
important to practice intensive yoga with a trained instructor, parents can
easily incorporate simple poses into play without much worry. For assistance in
learning more, many product brands also sell flash cards that are created
specifically for use with children including YogaCards by Think Fun and
Yogarilla by Super Duper Publications.
I hope you find
this insightful. If your youngin struggles with coordination skills, balance,
strength, or flexibility that has negatively affected other skill areas, consider
consulting with an occupational therapist to develop a plan for your child.
Have a playful day!
Amy Baez, OTR/L, The Smart Play
Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational
therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and founder of Playapy. For more
information about Playapy services and products, visit www.playapy.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.