Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

March 4, 2016

Occupational Therapy: March Around-The-House with Melissa Petcu


Melissa Petcu MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at the Midtown office, emphasizes that pediatric occupational therapy is all about “the job of living”. Families can capitalize of events and activities already happening around the house to improve skills. In March, she shares:

“I don‚Äôt know about you, but I welcome the warm weather! The promise of spring‚Äôs impending arrival is felt with anticipation. While reflecting on this time of year, and the anticipation of spring, I can‚Äôt help but draw parallels to a child‚Äôs development of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). These self-care skills prepare a child for independence. As a child masters using utensils, a mother has more time to eat her own food.  Her child is proud and happy that he can eat ‚Äúall by himself‚Äù.  As a child can take off her clothes or get herself dressed in the morning, a whole new world of independence is gained. We have all been subject to the silly outfits our child wears to school, right!?! I encourage you to reflect on your child‚Äôs stage of independence and build on these skills. Once self-feeding is mastered, invite your child into the kitchen to help chop vegetables, stir pasta or sprinkle cookies. Practice emergency phone calls and shopping for groceries. These are all life skills that your child will need to be completely independent.” 

Have some holiday fun this month by trying out some of these activities:


  • Tactile Play and exploration with a shamrock art project. Use markers, crayons, colored pencils, paint, glitter and glue to create a decorative shamrock. Practice visual motor coordination for cutting small pieces of colored paper or fabric to glue on the shamrock.
  • Feeding Fun with green food dye. Try turning your scrambled eggs, pasta, or cookies green in the spirit of St. Patrick‚Äôs day. Talk about and describe the texture and taste of different green foods.


  • Maze Scavenger Hunt: Practice visual motor coordination skills by creating a scavenger hunt coloring page for your child. Using any utensil (crayon, marker, pencil, pen), the child finds the pathway to the hidden egg. Cutting out and decorating paper Easter eggs also works on this skill.
  • Feeding Fun with Easter Eggs. Is your little one up for an adventure? Put different crunchy or soft foods in a few eggs and blindfold your child. Have your child use his hands or mouth to explore the textures and taste of each food.  Can they guess correctly? Building a willingness to try new things is a super and helpful sensory experience. 

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