Wikki Stix and Bendaroos

With school in full swing, here are a few ideas of activities to do with one of my favorite therapeutic tools:

  • Complete dot-to-dot activities
  • Trace simple shapes, pre-writing strokes, and letters using stix
  • Use your finger to trace created shapes to provide kinesthetic and tactile input during writing practice
  • Outline pictures to provide tactile boundaries when coloring
  • As an alternative to drawing pictures, use stix to illustrate stories/ideas
  • Place on lined paper to provide a raised  baseline and to improve letter orientation to baseline
  • Use as a fidget to provide a calming effect during instructional periods, which may help increase focus on classroom activities

Fortunately now, buying these are highly cost-effective and super easy. They’re called “Bendaroos” and can be found in the toy section of most toy stores (ie: Toys’R’Us, Walmart, etc.). I just bought a pack of 500 in a whole myriad of colors for only $10.

(As a short aside, my dad bought these for our neighbor kid for her birthday – talk about a proud daughter! I was SO happy that he was helping this child’s creativity and fine motor skills using a therapeutic tool that I use in OT quite often.)

More suggestions and printables available at Wikki Stix and Bendaroos.

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All Saints’ Day Recipes

So, All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) are coming up, and I wanted to include some easy ideas that can be made at home to help celebrate a beautiful feast day on our Catholic tradition. It took some browsing, but I eventually found the following:

Holy Ghosts cookies

  • Nutter Butter cookies
  • almond bark (or white chocolate chips)
  • mini chocolate chips
  1. Melt the almond bark (or white chocolate chips) in a large bowl.
  2. Take the Nutter Butter cookies and dip them in melted almond bark.
  3. Use mini chocolate chips for the eyes. Let set on waxed paper.

Heavenly haystacks (to celebrate St. Isidore the farmer)

  • 1 large can of Chow Mein Noodles
  • 1 pkg Butterscotch morsels (melted)
  • 1/2 c peanuts
  1. Combine the can of chow mein noodles with the package of melted butterscotch morsels and peanuts.
  2. Drop into small haystacks on wax paper and let set.

Rose cupcakes (to celebrate St. Therese, the little flower)

  • 12 mini cupcakes (or as many as you want – bake as directed)
  • white frosting
  • scissors
  • 6 rolls of Fruit by the Foot (cherry or strawberry)
  • 1 roll of Fruit by the Foot (green)
  1. Bake cupcakes as directed and allow to cool.
  2. Frost cupcakes with white frosting.
  3. To make a rose, unroll a piece of the cherry or strawberry fruit leather and divide it in half along the wavy perforated middle line. (Note: If their isn’t a wavy perforated middle line, cut your own with either a pizza cutter or scissors.) 
  4. Take one of the halves and roll up about 5 inches to form the flower’s center.
  5. Set the rolled strip wavy side up in the middle of a cupcake.
  6. Continue to loosely wrap the remaining fruit leather around the center at a slight angle until the flower is completed.
  7. Cut leaf shapes from the wavy edge of the green strip, then tuck the leaves under the roses.

Soul cakes

A little history on this recipe/custom, first. Did you know that “trick-or-treating” actually began with Catholic children going around on “All Hallow’s Eve” (now known as “Halloween”) and asking for “soul cakes”? In return for the food, the children promised to pray for the deceased members of the household. Here are a couple of rhymes that the children sang as they went along their way:

“A soul cake, a soul cake,
Have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake.”

“Soul, soul, an apple or two,
If you haven’t an apple, a pear will do,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for the Man Who made us all.”

“Soul! soul! for a soul-cake!
I pray, good misses a soul-cake–
An apple or pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him who made us all.”

  • 1 c butter
  • 3 3/4 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 6 tbs milk
  • powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top
  1. Using a pastry blender cut 1 c. of butter into 3 3/4 cups of flour.
  2. Blend in the sugar, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and allspice.
  3. In a separate bowl beat eggs, vinegar and milk together.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.
  5. Kneed thoroughly to form a stiff dough.
  6. Roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out 3 inch circles with a cookie cutter or glass.
  7. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm.

Also, don’t forget to thank God for and honor our Church Triumphant members by celebrating Mass this Tuesday!

Big thanks to Catholic Cuisine and Catholic Missionary Family for the recipes.

Bath Time Fun

If you’re looking for ways to jazz up bath time this winter, here are a couple of super fun ideas. (Besides, it’s a great time to spend more time in the bathtub, since there aren’t many opportunities to go swimming this time of year!)

Bath Paints

What you need:

  • muffin tin
  • shaving cream
  • food coloring
  • paint brush

What you do:

  1. Squirt the shaving cream into each muffin hole.
  2. Put a couple of drops of food coloring on to each mound of shaving cream. Stir well.
  3. Go to town painting the bathtub walls (and yourself)! (Check out Having Fun at Home‘s page for pictures of some sweet kiddos having a grand time!)

 

Glow-in-the-dark Bath time

Another really fun idea is to pick up some glow sticks next time you are in the dollar section in Target or at Michael’s. Break the glow sticks, toss into the water, and turn out the lights! It’ll be a whole new experience to get to bathe with the lights off. Check out Play at Home Moms for some other creative ideas/activities to do with your glow sticks. (PS: Don’t forget to toss them in the freezer after you’re finished playing – it helps them last just a little bit longer!)

 

Big thanks to both Having Fun at Home and Play at Home Moms for their creative ideas!

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