Thursday, February 7, 2013

Skin Project

Having profound fine motor issues means we are big into occupational therapy (OT) at our house.  I don't know if my kids appreciate that everything I see becomes occupational therapy or not, but we enjoyed our latest Science project that doubled up as therapy beautifully.

We'd been studying about the largest organ, our skin, when the up and coming science project caught my attention. Not only is this project great for kinesthetic and visual learners, but it's great OT too!  We used clay; Ashi is 9 and can handle it now. She would not have been able to use it at age 6 or 7 though, it would've been too hard. Feel free to substitute play dough, it's therapy too!

Here's what you need:

1.) 3 colors of clay (or play dough). We used a lot of red for the bottom layer. A little bit of yellow for the top layer, and just a tiny bit of green for the oil glands.
2.) 2 large blue rubber bands, cut so they are long, not round. (blue sweat glands)
3.) black pipe cleaner (black hair)
4.) 2 Q-tips (white nerves)
5.) red raffia ribbon (red blood vessels)
6.) Piece of cardboard approximately 8 x 10

You can substitute other items above too ~ for instance, you could  use different colored pipe cleaners for vessels and glands. I just didn't have that many colored pipe cleaners, so I had to get creative.

Here's what to do:

1.) Once your clay is malleable, just spread it out on the cardboard into a wide rectangle for the Dermis.
2.) Spread out the other color (much thinner) over the top for the Epidermis.
3.) Add your nerves, blood vessels, pipe cleaners, rubber bands in the appropriate places.
1.) Only hair and sweat glands actually go beyond the Dermis and into the Epidermis. 
2.) The hair actually comes completely out of the epidermis while the glands only go to the surface (so sweat can get out!)
3.) The blood vessels, oil glands, and nerves stay in the Dermis.
4.) For fun, we made a 'key' for ours in the upper left hand corner.

Ashi fashioned a bird out of the remainder of the clay when we were done. 

Another idea for OT.  Here Ashi cut out little construction paper 'lap-tops' for her Littlest Pet Shop (LPS) characters.  She also drew the 'keyboard' and pictures on the 'screen.' She  made enough of these laptops that it definitely qualified as some good OT time!

Annie Eskeldson writes for parents of young autists. She has an 'eye' for finding and figuring out ways to provide OT and sensory integration for her two autists at home and loves sharing these ideas with you...and, orangutans, apparently! She has 3 published children's books about autism. You can find out more at Ashi's Gift Website.

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