SPOTS | Suggs Pediatric Outpatient Therapy Services

Suggs Pediatric Outpatient Therapy Services

Developing Sensory & Motor Skills Through Play

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Rainy Days and Weekends Always Lead to Fun

The rainy weather is heading our way, which means more inside the house play time for everyone. Hurray! Precious family time that is remembered for years to come in the making! These are the days of those “Remember when it rained all weekend and we ….” that you have from your childhood. I remember my kids favorite rain day activity was to turn the living room into Neverland. We had Wendy, Tiger Lily, Peter Pan, and Tinkerbell climbing, tunneling, creating, and imagining all kinds of adventures. Truly I miss those days, maybe not the mess we all pitched in to clean up, but definitely the wonder of childhood and family that we all got to explore. I even got some handwriting work in with the signs we made. All in great fun so no one realized they were actually doing some “work”. We created “treasure maps” every time and someone got to hide the treasure for everyone else to find. Oh yes! Those were the days. As those days are approaching now for the Spring of 2015, here are a couple of ideas for you and your family to consider as you head off on your own indoor adventure.
1. How about holding a “mini Olympics”. Each of you pick a country to represent and come up with an “olympic event” for everyone’s participation. Event ideas could be walk across the room balancing a book on your head, standing on one leg as long as possible, stuffed animal toss into a paper bag, or pile up pillows and blankets and judge each person’s twist/spins/jumps into the pillows. This type of activity will allow everyone to get the input (vestibular and proprioceptive) they would typically get from playing outside.
2. A “scavenger hunt” would be fantastic. Pick objects from around the house and have each person hide a couple of them. This way everyone gets to hide and everyone gets to hunt. See who can find the most objects. Don’t give the spots where you hide yours away! This type activity will keep kids active, moving, and focused on a task while helping facilitate reading skills (visual scanning, figure-ground, and discrimination).
3. Go “green”, make recyclable sculptures. Grab some “trash/disposable” supplies from around the house (i.e. cardboard, twist ties, tin foil, old schoolwork papers, plastic bottles, etc.) Grab anything that sparks yours or your child’s imagination. See what can be created! You can get ideas for your creations off the internet but try to keep your supplies to recyclable or repurposed stuff rather than buying already crafted kits. This activity facilitates creativity, self-generation, and fine motor skills.
4. Play “table” tennis or “balloon” volleyball. Sports are always fun! Table tennis supplies needed are popsicle sticks, paper plate, and a balloon. The popsicle stick and plate are glued together for a paddle. The balloon is the ball for the game. This can be adapted for balloon volleyball by stringing string or jump rope across the room for a net, or you can simply make a “net wall” with a few chairs. These “sports” games help develop motor planning, bilateral coordination and spatial awareness skills.
5. Who wouldn’t like to have “spy training?” String yarn back and forth in a hallway or up/down a stairway to form fake laser beams. Have the kids make their way through the space without touching the “laser beams” or they’ll be caught! This activity is great for motor planning and helping learn to control muscles and movement patterns.

Try some of these ideas and come up with some of your own! Either way, rainy/cold days don’t need to equate to television/video game days. Keeping kids active and engaged rain or shine is vital not only for healthy motor development, but also for kid’s moods and emotional well being.

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