Many caregivers are wondering how to help their children work on movement and therapeutic activities at home.
No ideas? Feeling overwhelmed?
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1 Try to keep a routine. Look at the calendar together and make a routine for your family. Include your child in choosing activities-even picking colors that you’ll use to write on the calendar. Post a list of daily schedules and chores with check-off boxes. Schedule new activities well ahead of time and be sure to prepare for them. Believe it or not, working on a schedule is important to build executive function skills that will be important later in school. Planning and learning how to adapt or to have an alternate plan builds critical skills for life!
2) The laundry offers many opportunities for building skills. Pairing socks is a task that young children can do. Finding matches works in visual-perceptual skills. Using both hands together to bundle the two socks together is a great skill. When you’re done, put heavier items such as blankets and a couple of books (not too heavy, you don’t want to damage small developing joints) into the laundry basket. Ask your child to push the basket to each room and put laundry in the proper place. Activities that work the muscles are great for active kids. Categorizing and sorting are skills commonly worked on by OT, SLP, and ABA therapists!
3) Use air cushions under your child’s bum when doing homework or seated tasks. Air cushions are perfect for kids that like to fidget and move around while doing school work. They are often found on Amazon or special needs websites such as the Therapy Shoppe or Fun and Function. Many schools permit kids to sit on exercise balls during desk work. You may want to replace your child’s chair with an air cushion or exercise ball. Make sure your child’s feet are flat on the floor while seated and let your child know the safety rules you feel are appropriate for having an exercise ball as a seat.
4) Walk a taped line imitating a tightrope, learn to juggle, and pretend to walk like different animals in the circus. You can also pretend to make a zoo, jungle, or go on safari. Walking on all fours to imitate a bear, lion, tiger, dog, or any other animal is great for proprioceptive (heavy work) input.
BONUS Tip: Tape a line on the floor and ask kids to jump in different ways over it. For example, hop with your right foot on the left side of the line. Jump three times on the right side of the line. Use the line as a pretend balance beam.
5) Make a parade with homemade instruments. Check out the pins and ideas on one of our favorite Pinterest boards for ideas on how to make your own instruments out of paper plates, oat containers, and paper towel rolls. Marching to different rhythms is a fun way to work on proprioceptive input and body coordination.
6) Play charades and act out different sports or occupations. This is a great activity to do as a family or during a playdate. For an added challenge, act out different feelings. Charades can be played virtually via Zoom, Skype, or other virtual social interactive platforms.
7) Draw letters and numbers using only your fingers on your child’s back. Ask him to guess what you are drawing. Let him practice on your back too.
Most of all, HAVE FUN together! You never know when you are making a memory that your child will have for the rest of his life!
What’s worked for YOU? Let us know in the comments below.