Holiday fun with an OT Perspective!
Well done for making it through the last term of the year – it’s holiday time! The Aussie summer break is an awesome time to get outdoors with the kids and have some fun with the whole family. So why not make the most if it and keep building on those OT skills while they’re at it!
Here are some fun ways your kids can enjoy their play whilst continuing to build their OT development over the long break (they won’t even realise it’s therapy)!
Who says writing can’t be fun?! Writing in wet sand stimulates more regions of the brain due to its multi-sensory nature and so the letters that a child forms with their finger in the sand tend to be more memorable than the marks they make on paper.
- Have your child draw in the sand an alphabet or number hopscotch and hop or jump from start to finish. This not only helps with their motor planning and gross motor skills, but also letter/number recognition, formations and sequencing them in order. Make it a race to speed up their processing!
- Build your child’s fine motor strength, crossing midline, and problem solving skills by playing naughts and crosses in the sand, or;
- If you have a gaggle of kiddos, sit back, relax and let the kids take the lead – let them set themselves a goal of building a sandcastle together or an obstacle course to develop their social skills like imagination, problem solving, sharing, and communicating, while building their fine motor skills
Boogie boarding and surfing are awesome ways to build praxis (planning) skills, bilateral coordination, balance, and proprioception. If the waves are a bit too much for your little one, have them practise the paddling on a board on the sand with their arms and then incorporate the legs (another great core strengthener).
Sensory ‘I Spy’
This is a great one for any environment, be it home, the park or beach and should be multi-sensory involving eyes, ears, touch, and smell. Give your child a ‘scavenger hunt’ list or tell them verbally with items such as: something green and soft, something wet and cold, or something fast and noisy. Using sight, smell, and sound as well as fine motor makes for an awesome I Spy game!
Baking and ‘playing’ with food can be so much fun, and kids can benefit so much from time in the kitchen with you! Look out for recipes that involve:
- Rolling out and squishing dough — good for bilateral coordination
- Cutting out shapes with cutters — good for spatial awareness and planning skills
- Spiced cookies — good sensory experience
- Lots of ingredients to measure out — good for math skills, memory skills and following instructions
Fruit kebabs are an easy and healthy recipe idea:
With adult supervision, cutting fruit into chunks (with a safe knife) and then skewering them onto a kebab stick is good for eye-hand coordination (just make sure the kebab sticks are not too sharp!).
Fun in the Garden
Squirting each other on a typical Aussie summer’s day is a fun way to cool down while building hand strength! Have the kids spray the plants or even planting seeds in soil and setting up for something to grow is a nice way to make the summer holidays memorable!
Painting with different items such as leaves, sticks, or cotton balls is fun. Adding tweezers to any task builds fine motor coordination. Instead of picking up cotton balls with fingers, use tweezers! Making a holiday picture book with simple written captions is another great way to keep those memories and work on sequencing, fine motor and handwriting skills.
Check out some of our craft ideas here.
Wheelbarrow walking races
This activity is great for upper body, fine motor and core strength, and also proprioceptive input for sensory kiddos!
Simply have your child/children kneel down and place hands on the ground in front of the body. You or their friend can grasp the legs and lift while the child presses the hands on the ground (make sure back is relatively straight from head to toes). Then race! Make the distance longer each time for a challenge or do it at the beach on that soft sand!
The more physically active and multi-sensory you can make an experience the more it will be memorable, so getting the kids outdoors these holidays and using their whole body makes for the healthiest learning!
For more holiday activities, our Holiday Groups are a great opportunity for kids to have lots of fun and make new friends. They also help your child develop skills — such as Social Skills, Handwriting or School Readiness — under the guidance of our experienced OTs.