We thought we would focus on some activities you can continue to do with your child through the summer months. They will still be learning/keeping up with therapy but this will be super fun and they won’t even realize they are “learning” at the same time!
We all know that Bike riding and swimming are great skills; we would like to give you some activities that are out of the norm of just jumping in the pool on those really hot days, or riding a bike. However, they will still continue to focus on the gross motor, fine motor, and other skills.
One very important thing we have to advise, no matter what activity you are doing, please remember to stay well hydrated with the summer heat and sun you can become dehydrated very quickly, and always protect your skin with a high SPF sunblock.
This is a super fun game, and works on Gross and Fine motor skills along with Handwriting.
· Cut up some sponges,( just some cheaper ones you can get at the dollar store a pack of 8 or so for $3) into quarters.
· Write a letter on each sponge with a permanent marker.
· Throw them in the pool.
· Give your child a laminated piece of paper, and crayon (the cheaper ones don’t work to well when wet), we use Crayola.
· Have them collect 7 sponges, bring back to the deck or wherever.
· See how many actual words they can make with the 7 letters they found. You can also just have them write a word that begins with each letter they found.
** You can mix this game up by writing words on the sponges and making up stories, or if you child is not a proficient swimmer; this can also be done in a shallow pool or a baby pool. ****
Sponge Relay Race
Give your child a sponge and a cup or small bucket. Set another bucket filled with water about 10-15 feet away. Have him dip the sponge in the water bucket and fill it, run to the other side and squeeze out in his empty bucket. Time him while he is doing this, if he is doing this alone. If you are doing this with a few kids there is no need for a timer, see who can fill up the bucket or cup the fastest.
This is so much fun and so easy to do too. This works on fine motor, handwriting and sensory motor skills.
· Fill a small ice cube tray with water.
· Add a few drops of food coloring to each tray
· Put a toothpick in each cube while freezing so they have something to hold onto
· Once frozen solid (a few hours)
· Get them out and give you child a piece of paper or poster board and allow them to paint.
The only thing I found was the toothpick didn’t hold up as long as the ice cube did, but it was still fun. Also use food coloring this way if your child has theurge to put into their mouth it is non-toxic. Also it can get messy so plan on a deck or outside activity.
Get out and Swim
Swimming and other water activities are good for the development of gross motor skills. It provides exercise of the large muscles with the additional resistance of water and builds strength and improves balance.
Take a bike ride
Riding a bicycle, tricycle, or similar riding toys is great for the development and exercise of those large muscles, as well as for balance and coordination.
Create an obstacle course
Setting up an area with varied challenges for the body’s large muscles can be a great motor skills aid. Include items like stepping stones, balance beams, stairs, crawl spaces, and climbing equipment to ensure a full work out.
Use Sidewalk Chalk
This will build on fine and gross motor skills. A few activities below on what you can do with your child to continue those skills. If you are feeling crafty enough you can try to make your own sidewalk chalk.
Make Chalk – Use 2 tablespoons of temper paint, ½ cup of water, and 3 tablespoons plaster of Paris. Directions: In a five-ounce paper cup, mix 2 tablespoons temper paint with one-half cup water. Add three tablespoons of plaster of Paris and stir until you have a creamy consistency. Once hardened (several hours), peel off the paper cup to produce a giant piece of sidewalk chalk.
Hopscotch – This activity addresses fine motor and visual motor skills to draw the squares and write numbers inside of the squares. It also addresses trunk control, balance, and motor planning to complete single-leg hops and two-footed hops into each of the squares. You could also challenge your child to complete animal walks inside the hopscotch board instead (e.g. crab walks, bunny hops, frog jumps).
Hangman– Take turns coming up with a “secret” word for the other player to guess, and create a hangman board. This activity addresses fine motor and visual motor skills needed for handwriting, as your child has to write out the letters which appear either in the “secret” word, or get placed into the word bank. It also addresses executive functioning skills as your child has to memorize which “secret” word he chose, and has to remember how to spell the word correctly, and which order the letters go in.
Four square –Draw a four square game board, which includes one large square divided into four equal squares (one for each player). This activity addresses fine motor and visual motor skills to draw the squares, and write the letters inside the boxes. It also includes ball skills, such as dribbling and bounce passing, in order to keep the ball out of your own square. Similarly, this game addresses sportsmanship and turn taking.
We will leave you with a few important safety tips to make this summer enjoyable and safe for all.
Always remember to use the proper safety precautions with any child around the pool, lake or river.
Please remember to always protect your skin with sunscreen, hat or lightweight clothing.
Hydrate, Hydrate Hydrate…. We cannot say that enough. Water is best!
Just have FUN!!