Let’s Play Outside!
Playing outside provides so many benefits to our little ones, it helps expand their sensory system, promote relaxation strategies, provides physical exercise, facilitates motor skill development, and it allows your child to be creative! Here are some outside OT play activities for this summer season.
Chalk is a fun way to be creative when outside but also allows you to work on your gross and fine motor skills as well! Your child can draw shapes or create sensory paths, or even draw a simple hopscotch design.
TIP: You can also smash the chalk and add water to make a thick paint and have your child paint the driveway using a brush!
2. Sensory Tables
Fill a bucket with water and sand, use shovels to scoop, build sand castles, or search for hidden underwater creatures or seashells in the sand! This sensory activity is perfect for developing hand strength, fine motor skills, tolerating various textures, and language development.
TIP: Sensory tables are so easy to change out, depending on your child’s age. Water with cut up fruit slices is an easy way to explore various textures and smells too!
3. Jump Rope
Jump rope is a great way for your child to work on gross motor and motor planning skills. You can play multiple ways: use a single rope to start or use two ropes to complete double dutch if you want a challenge.
TIP: You can use the jump rope to play a game of snake to facilitate jumping skills and visual motor skills too.
4. Water Balloons
Fill up water balloons and play catch, throw at a target, or use rackets or baseball bats to hit them with! There are so many ways to facilitate eye hand coordination skills, frustration tolerance, and bilateral coordination skills using this simple activity.
TIP: You can also dip your water balloons into paint and throw them or pop them on a canvas to paint.
Blowing bubbles is a great way to work on oral motor skills but also provides your child with a way to regulate themselves as well through deep breathing.
TIP: Have a popping contest and see who can utilize their index finger to pop all of the bubbles first or the fastest to facilitate visual motor skills or fine motor coordination skills.
Give these outside OT play activities a try this summer! If you would like to learn more about occupational therapy, visit our OT webpage here and if your child has difficulty engaging in any of the activities previously listed check out our milestones webpage or free screening.
Written By: Kiersten Robertson, MOT, OTR/L