March 7th is National Cereal Day!
At POTS we celebrate with cereal every day! We use Cheerios or Fruit Loops as therapy tools to help our clients master the pincer grasp, and for sorting, pressure modulation, one to one correspondence, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, letter formation and so much more. Here are our top 6 ways to use Cheerios for skill mastery.
1. Eye-Hand Coordination for younger Children - Place a hole in the top of a lidded jar and have the child drop Cheerios through the hole into the jar. Start with a large hole for those just learning to control release. Progress to smaller holes that require higher-level eye-hand coordination skills as well as pressure modulation and a refined pincer grasp.
2. Eye-Hand Coordination and Fine Motor Coordination - Stringing cereal helps develop eye-hand coordination as children can string cheerios onto different media. To ramp up the challenge to fine motor coordination, start by stringing cheerios onto a coffee stirrer, next move onto a chenille stick that’s still stiff, but has some flexibility and then to shoelaces which require fine motor control and more advanced coordination of the two hands. As therapists seeing the gradual change from a beginner stringer project to a more complicated one allows us to grade the scale of stringing and help the student celebrate milestones.
3. Eye-Hand Coordination, And Pressure Modulation - Picking up cheerios with tweezers, tongs or chopsticks develops eye-hand coordination, and pressure modulation, the ability to apply just the right amount of force. Picking up Cheerios with a heavy hand will definitely result in crushed cereal.
4. Bilateral Coordination - Opening Jars and flipping lids. Placing cereal in jars with lids of varying complexity and strength required is a great way to motivate your child to use their hands together to get to the snack inside. Start with a small plastic flip-top lid and progress to screw off lids tightened more and more to develop hand strengthening and coordination.
5. Letter Recognition - Cheerios are the perfect size for little hands as they learn letter formation. A fun activity: draw out a letter and then have them place the cheerios along the outline of the letter so they learn the shapes of the alphabet.
6. Letter Formation - Teach your child letter formation and how to orient letters the fun way! All you need are Cheerios and a small blackboard. Have them start at the upper left of the board as they learn how to form the letters. Using the letter F as an example: have them place the cheerios down in a row and then back up to the top and out to the right to form the arms of the F.