We're often asked about activities that you can do AT HOME with your child to go along with what we’re working on with them in their occupational therapy sessions. The possibilities are truly endless but we've put together a few suggestions for you.
Whether your child realizes it or not, they are working on fine motor, sensory processing and self/help building skills all the time!
Feel free to tweak these ideas based on what your child's challenges may be and the developmental level that YOUR child is at.
Fine motor skills:
1. Thread beads onto a pipe cleaner.
2. Hide beads or other small objects into a ball of play dough and have your child get them out.
3. Use tweezers or tongs to sort cereal or other small colored objects by color into muffin tins.
4. Make a pattern on a Styrofoam block and have them push golf tees along the lines of the pattern.
5. Use Q tips to paint.
6. Put rubber bands around the bottom of each muffin tin and have them take them off.
7. Draw lines or patterns on a piece of paper and have your child place buttons along the pattern.
Sensory processing activities:
Build a sensory bin with household items like cotton balls, uncooked rice or beans, popcorn, cut up paper, coins. This is a great way to introduce your child to a variety of tactile (touch) experiences! This activity can also promote visual perception skills, language skills, and fine-motor skills.
Target practice using a swing. Have your child lay on their stomach on a platform or similar type of swing. Then, place six to seven empty containers around the swing, giving enough distance so the child has to move to reach the containers. Give the child several small balls or bean bags and explain that their goal is to put one ball or bean bag in each container. This activity promotes body awareness, visual perception skills, coordination and core strength.
Play with play dough. See our previous blog on all the wonderful benefits of play dough!
Self-help/building independence skills:
Practice putting things through slots, starting with a piggy bank and other narrow slots to push pennies or buttons through
Practice zipping and unzipping zippers found on items like backpacks, purses and pants.
Practice blowing bubbles or blowing out candles.
Have your child blow through a straw to move cotton balls or ping pong balls across the table.
Play a dressing game. Throw all different types of clothing in a laundry basket (hats, gloves, shirts, jackets, shorts, pants, shoes, socks, jewelry, back pack, fanny pack, etc.). Each person takes a turn to find a piece of clothing, decide where it goes on the body and then tries to put it on.