A few weeks ago I decided it would be fun to start tweeting about the wacky things you do when you’re an OT. I searched Twitter for #youmightbeanOTif and discovered that no one had ever tweeted with that hashtag before. I was so surprised because, in case you didn’t know, we OTs are a unique bunch! So I started tweeting some funny things I’d been doing because of my unique OT-ness. The American Occupational Therapy Association got wind of it on Twitter and, a few days later, launched a national meme campaign with the theme of #youmightbeanOTif. See their meme photos here on OT Connections (the 2nd photo displays one of my tweets!), plus the ever-growing stream of #youmightbeanOTif tweets here. Too funny! (This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.)
One of the funny things I do as an OT is save all sorts of containers to use for fine motor activities at some point in the future. So when my mother-in-law (a former Special Education teacher) recently handed me an empty Cascade detergent bottle and said, “Do you want to take this home?” I of course jumped on the opportunity! Then later I tweeted #youmightbeanOTif you see containers like this & instantly think of at least 5 ways to use in therapy and included this photo:
Here is one of those ways: wash it out, hot glue on googly eyes, and make two dots for a nose to turn it into a crocodile! I also hot glued the back part so it would stay secured to the container.
My toddler (currently 20 months) has been having fun figuring out how to use mini tongs to feed the crocodile ping pong balls. Everything is better with googly eyes, right?
This is a fun and simple way for toddlers to practice fine motor skills such as hand strength, motor planning (problem solving new motor tasks), hand-eye coordination, bilateral (two-hand) coordination, and grading/adjusting force…oh, and, of course, they get to make silly chomping noises!
Watch this 30-second video of Mr. Crocodile in action:
I found these tongs at Bed Bath & Beyond for $2, but I’ve also seen them at Big Lots and Wal-Mart for basically the same price.
To make this activity easier: Get rid of the tongs and just use hands to drop balls and other items of various sizes into Mr. Crocodile’s mouth. Or stuff a scarf in his belly and let your little one use their emerging bilateral skills to pull the scarf out of his mouth (much like this scarf in a baby wipes container activity).
To make this activity harder: Use kiddie chopsticks, preschool tongs, or kid-sized tweezers to feed Mr. Crocodile smaller or more challenging items such as cotton balls, craft pom poms (which can often be found at the dollar store or a craft store), kids’ beads, mini animals, or even hand-rolled balls of play dough. Just be aware of choking hazards.
How else would you use Mr. Crocodile to work on fine motor skills? Please share your idea in the comments below!