This summer, as my son continues to grow it becomes increasingly harder for him to sit still. I should be happy and loving this surge of energy, and I do for the most part. It is a healthy sign of a healthy growing mind and body. But if you are like me, sometimes all you want and need is a little quiet time (especially in church, in the car, or to supervise that plumber that’s working on your kitchen sink). That being said, it is sometimes nice to have a little down time. Thus comes the need for independent, entertaining and quiet activities.
When I was little my parents had a fuzzy felt set that I could take with me in the car or to church. I loved them! But I can’t find them anywhere now and decided to make my own portable felt board. Felts are great! They spur the imagination, work on fine motor and are great for busy hands and minds.
Without a sewing machine in hand, I searched the internet and talked with the helpful ladies at Joanne’s fabrics for ideas on how to make one of my very own. The picture above is is what I came up with. It was easy, no fuss and fairly quick to make.
I put together some felts in a quart sized ziploc bag and placed it in the center of the folded up travel board. When I tie the sides of the board together it keeps them in place and I don’t have to worry about them falling out along the way.
I am so thrilled with this project! My son gravitated towards it immediately and loves carrying his very own “brief case”/purse. He will sit a little longer now… still not through a sermon, but it is an improvement. He loves placing the felts and making up pictures. I don’t have to worry about loud noises when he drops them or things rolling down the isles so I have to go crawling and searching under the pews for missing pieces. Yes, as a mom, I am also an acrobat, & collector of all things missing so that no one else accidentally slips on them and OOPs! Safety police should probably be added to that title too.
There are many ways I can use a felt board but I’ll focus on a couple that I think bring other elements into the treatment aside from the obvious fine motor. Depending on where and how you place the board you can encourage upper body strengthening, ROM, crossing mid-line, postural control and endurance. For example; elevate the board on an easel, wall or desk so that the child must reach higher, further; have them lay on their tummies placing the board vertical against a wall to increase prone extension, endurance and postural control. Place the board flat on the floor and have the child, while standing, place a felt on the opposite side of the board of which ever arm they are using, or call out a side of the board for the object to be placed (crossing mid-line, ROM, postural control, visual motor, position in space etc.). There are numerous ways to use a felt board depending on your therapeutic goals.