Thursday, June 9, 2011

OT Tip - Summer Activity Ideas

With many children home from school for the summer, I thought it would be a good idea to give you all some ideas for the summer. Especially for children with special needs, you don't want to loose ground on all their gains from the past school year. Especially if they receive school, Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy services. Here are some tips and ideas to get you through the summer. These are great for typical kids too, so just because your child isn't special needs, doesn't mean you shouldn't try some of them.

The most important is to get your children outside as much as possible. There are many different activities outside that help to maintain and increase fine motor and visual motor skills.

  • Swinging on monkey bars or trapezes
  • wheelbarrow walking, crab walking, bear walking, push ups 
  • Sit ups, crunches, lef lifts
  • Tummy time through scooter boards, various swings, therapy balls (all with adult supervision)
  • Laying on tummy while watching tv, coloring, or reading 
  • Shooting baskets or volley ball
  • Jump Rope 
  • Playing with yo-yos 
For those days that are too hot to be outside or when it is raining, here are some indoor activities.

Grip Strength

  • Squeeze putty, flour sifter, plastic squeeze bottles
  • Squeeze juice from lemons, oranges etc. 
  • Squeeze a spray bottle (water plants, clean windows)
  • Stir batter in a bowl 
  • Staple papers together with a small stapler 
  • Use a hole punch to make dots or creative shapes 
Pinch Strength

  • Peel stickers off surfaces
  • Peel fruit (i.e. lemons, oranges etc.) 
  • Turn key in a lock 
  • Deal cards 
  • Use tongs to pick up small objects (cotton balls, small erasers etc.) 
  • Spin tops
  • Play with wind-up toys 
  • Tear paper (construction paper or tissue paper) for art projects
  • Build with small blocks 
  • Roll small amounts of putty, play dough, etc. into balls between fingers 
  • Lace cards 
  • Pick up small objects (i.e. beans, rice, cereal, corn kernels) with fingers and place into containers 
  • Place coins into a bank with small slit 
  • Place pegs in Lite Brite to create a picture 
  • "Pop" bubbles on bubble wrap
  • Use small rubber stamps to create a picture 
  • String beads to make a necklace
  • Pinch clothespins (laundry, games etc.) 

Next week we will look at activities for Finger Dexterity Bilateral Coordination, Visual-Perception, and Scissor Skills.

Disclaimer: I am a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. The advise in these tips is not a replacement for medical advise from a physician or your pediatrician. Please consult their advice if you suspect any medical or developmental issues with your child.  

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