Scratching, Batting, and Banging

Some of the first steps a child takes in learning to use his/her hands are scratching, batting and banging. Children are born with a reflexive grasp which they begin to learn to control in a predictable progression that includes the ability to voluntarily open and close their hands, bring the hand to the mouth, scratch, grasp, reach and so forth. Parents may notice their child scratching at blankets or clothes. Later the child may pat or bang objects and people or bat at them. They may do this with their hands and they may also do some of these movements with their feet. Dr. Nielsen designed many different pieces of equipment (perceptualizing aids) to help a child practice these skills. These include Scratch and Position Boards, Little Rooms, Vests, Aprons and Gloves. Here are some examples of these. 

Scratch, Position and Grab Boards

Level 1 Scratch Board

Level 1 Scratch Board.
Level 1 Scratch Board with various texture attached such as rubber mat, corrugated paper, Velcro, and sponge.

Position Board – Level 2 Grab and Release

Level 2 - Grab and Release Board
Level 2 Grab and Release Board with various low profile objects attached with computer ties such as hair brushes, toothbrushes, and b bottle brushes.
 

Position Board – Level 3  Grasp and Manipulate

Level 3 Grasp and Manipulate Board with various items such as hair brush, measuring spoons, metal rings, and measuring cups attached with elastic.
Level 3 Position Board has objects on elastics so the child can manipulate them and bring them to the mouth.

Little Room

A Little Room is another perceptualizing aid that allows the child to practice skills such as scratching, batting, and banging. In this video we see Anna interacting with various items in this manner.

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Aprons, Cummerbunds, and Vests

Giving a child easy access to objects that can be explored with his hands is important. Using aprons, cummerbunds and vests work well because the objects are on the child’s body in an area that are already able to explore.
Activity vest can encourage children to manipulate objects with their hands using various movements such as scratching and banging.
Activity vest can encourage children to manipulate objects with their hands using various movements such as scratching and banging.
Objects attached to a cummerbund and placed around the child's torso provide easy access for things to bang.
Objects attached to a cummerbund and placed around the child’s torso provide easy access for things to bang.

Ideas for Home

There are so many things you can do to encourage these movements from your child.  For example, give your child various pots and pans while you are working in the kitchen to explore with their hands or feet.

Place the child on the floor or resonance board and offer a box of various kitchen utensils to explore. Place your child on a blanket outside on the grass and position him/her where one hand or one foot will touch the grass if he/she moves it. Do the same thing in a kiddie pool filled with sand or leaves. You can also make some simple devices that will encourage exploration with hands and feet. Below is an example of an activity using a Bucket and Beads.

Bucket Activity Using Hands

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Bucket Activity Using Feet:

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There are many other learning environments that you can create to encourage scratching, batting, and banging. Here are just a few.


Rubber Bands on Trays and Buckets

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Rubber Bands on Buckets with Water

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Scratching on Pots and Pans

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Kicking or Batting at Hanging Cans

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Banging Pots and Pans

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