One of my family's favorite activities is to find a farm where we can pick our own peaches/strawberries/blackberries/etc. We always love getting away from Northern Virginia and being able to enjoy time in the country. The last two years as I've watched my girls troupe through the fields and stick their hands into bushes and trees for the desired fruit, I've started to consider all of the skills my daughters are using and practicing. So many of these are skills we strive to help children gain inside our classrooms and Occupational or Physical therapy centers.
Sometimes it amazes me that the child who is not able to find her own pair of shoes in the morning is so capable at finding blackberries. Looking for the perfect blackberry can be like playing the I Spy or Where's Waldo books, but in 3-D. And yet, my daughters are far more likely to look for berries than they are to play the visual-spatial strengthening games I set up that would practice the same skills.
Visual/Spatial Motor planning also is needed when we read and write. Our eyes need to be able to work together with our body to coordinate what they see, process it, and control a pencil appropriately.
Fruit picking gives us a natural opportunity to practice these skills in an inclusive, typical setting, with delicious rewards at the end.