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The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri is a sweet, simple fall story about a squirrel who is so busy racing to get ready for winter that he can’t stop to play with any of his animal friends along the way. Kids love repeating the line: “He was so busy!” on each page as you read and they’ll love peeking into the little squirrel’s hideout at the end of the story.
If your kids love this book as much as ours did, why stop there? We LOVE it when a good book can inspire some creative movement and play! Read The Busy Little Squirrel and then try these gross motor, fine motor, and sensory activities to continue the fun! As part of our school-based therapy practice, we use sensory motor lesson plans just like the one below to target a whole range of developmental skills in a classroom setting – but you could just as easily try this set of activities at home!
SENSORY MOTOR LESSON PLAN:
THE BUSY LITTLE SQUIRREL
-Sidewalk chalk or sidewalk paint or painters tape if playing indoors
-Buckets or containers
-Spoons or measuring cups
-Dry beans (optional)
-Other fall items such as: fake fall leaves, pumpkins, or sunflowers
–Scoop scissors (optional)
–Sensory table or large tupperware bin
-Empty egg carton
GROSS MOTOR ACTIVITY: ACORN HOPSCOTCH
Draw two hopscotch boards on the driveway with your sidewalk chalk. Inside each of the squares, write the name of an exercise (e.g. jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, frog jumps, standing on one foot, hopping on one foot, plank, head shoulders knees and toes, twist jumps, and standing on tip toes).
Position one child at each hopscotch board and give each child 10 acorns. Have them roll, throw, or place an acorn onto the hopscotch board, complete the jumping pattern through the course and then back to pick up the acorn. Then, tell him to pick the object up and complete 10 repetitions of whatever exercise was written on the square where their acorn landed.
After he does the exercise, have him place the object in a small bucket and try it with another acorn. Continue until all acorns have been used!
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Gross motor skills, balance, coordination, cognitive skills, social skills, motor control
SENSORY AND FINE MOTOR ACTIVITY: ACORN SENSORY BIN
This next activity can make for a whole afternoon of fun, beginning with an acorn hunt! Round up your little ones and give everyone their own bucket or container. Head out to an area where you know there are a lot of oak trees and see how many acorns they can gather!
When you’re finished, dump them all into a big bin or sensory table and let them have at it, exploring and digging through the acorns with their hands and fingers! You can also add dry kidney or pinto beans and other fall objects for even more tactile fun! Have kids pick up acorns one at a time with their fingers or using scoop scissors and put them into the holes of an empty egg carton
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Sensory integration, fine motor skills, grasp