Nikki Tekrit, occupational therapist at The Rehovot Branch, recommends several games in which the children can be taught about their bodies.
- Body awareness is our knowledge and awareness of our body that is taught mainly by movement and sensory experiences with the world around us.
- Through our sense of taste, smell, touch and hearing, we learn about our bodies and how we communicate with our world.
- Through our sense of touch, we develop consciousness to the limits of our bodies. We learn to differentiate between touches that give us pleasure, as opposed to feeling unpleasant or uncomfortable for us. Later, we learn to use touch to discern the properties of objects we encounter (e.g. heavy, light, rough, smooth, sticky, hot, cold… ). Through our sense of taste and smell, we learn about foods and smells that we love, and comfort us and make us happy. We also learn about those who are unpleasant to us and should not be eaten. From hearing and vision we develop awareness of what is around us. We are aware of who and what is around us and respond accordingly.
- Through body awareness we also learn how to use our body effectively and functionally – know how to move, grab, run, communicate (use jasuts, symbols), feed itself, dress ourselves, etc.
Learning through the senses
- Massage – Massage is a tool by which you can encourage body awareness, teach children different body parts, soothe/stimulate.
- Try to find a relaxing time of day (after a great bath time). Apply well cream (body lotion or hand cream) or natural oil (more recommended) and with the help of hands you will massage deeply and slowly from the elbow to the end of the fingers, each finger separately, after which it is possible to do deep presses on the sides of the hand. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oM_0mBoEOU – Link to massage video
- This can also be repeated with your feet.
- Collect objects with different textures from around the house (scotch, sponges, different fabrics, even garden surfaces – be creative) and rub these on your child's hands and feet, and talk to them about how it feels (soft, rough, cold, smooth, etc.)
- You could have ended up playing a game like "Grandma Cooked Porridge," a little spider, five fingers…
- Bath time – Children really like bath, take advantage of this time for different games which also contribute to the recognition of different body parts.
- Add soap to running water from the tap to form bubbles. It is also a great environment to burst bubbles and let the child try to catch them, let them follow the bubbles, and see what happens to the bubbles when they reach the water. Here we also encourage various vision abilities such as surveillance, hand eye coordination and depth.
- While bathing, talk to them about the different body parts (e.g. "Now we wash the abdomen"), you can also ask the child to point out different body parts in the form of a game ("Who can put a finger on the head/shoulder/knee, etc.?")
- Mirror games
- Sit with Yahlad in front of the mirror (make sure the mirror is set up in a protected manner and does not fall), let the child reveal himself in the mirror – play "Ponytail! Who is this? "Where's your head/nose, etc.?" "Who can get their hands on the ..?"
- Put a basket of costumes next to the mirror (hats, necklaces, gloves, scarves, handkerchiefs, masks) and show themselves in the mirror.
- Stickers – Put a sticker on the child's nose and let him take it off. Then put on your cheek and let it go down, repeat in more areas inside.
- Put a sticker on your face Look in the mirror with your child, show them the sticker is now on your face and ask them to take it off.
- Playing with a doll
- Find a doll (as human as possible) point to the child's nose, then on your nose and then on the doll's nose ("Wow my age has a nose, I have a nose too, and look at the doll has a nose too!"), Continue like this with other body organs.
- Symbolic game –Together with your child, dress the doll, explain and point to a body part you are wearing ("Let's put the hat on the doll's head, put our hand up our sleeves, take the sock off your leg"). The same idea can be applied when you dress your child.
- Hand movements
Sing familiar songs regularly with your child, along with hand gestures (I have two hands, hands up, a little spider, finger to finger to friend, etc.). Make hand gestures and encourage your child to wait with you. It's a great time to get all the brothers involved. By waiting, we also encourage various vision functions such as eye contact and surveillance.
- Sensory game
By touching, smelling, tasting, moving, hearing, and of course seeing, we learn about our bodies and our environment.
- It is important to encourage children to play and touch a wide variety of textures – sand, water, hand paint, dough, clay, (consider kitchen textures such as whipped cream, jelly, cooked pasta, etc.)
- Play a game of taste and smell – choose different food items such as clementine, honey, chocolate powder, banana, lemon, etc. (try choosing foods with strong smells/ flavors). Talk to your child about how it feels (rough, smooth, sticky, liquid, etc.), taste and smell (sweet, bitter, salty, cold, hot…) Like what he likes and doesn't like. Compare why you/your family love (Gaia loves honey, Dad doesn't like honey).
Plus, have a good time with your child. Every moment he spends with you, his loving parents, is a learning opportunity. Even the most routine tasks you perform automatically can be rectanged for the most amazing learning.
I send you love, strength, and patience during this challenging time.